Here is a fact: most coffee shops are going to have about the same kind of coffee. If you’re ordering an Americano, it’s going to taste pretty much the same in most middle-tier coffee shops. If you go to one of those 1,500 won cheapo take-out only joints, you’re not going for quality. You’re going for cheap. And, Starbucks tastes like Starbucks, and another one opens literally within shouting distance of the next one, and both are full.
So. If you are trying to rise a bit above that aforementioned “middle-tier,” and your not Starbucks (which seems immune to overexposure), your first instinct will be to step up your coffee game. Better beans. Better coffee making practices. And, these are both very good and very important things. In our previous review, for Mellow Coffee in Gimhae, I praised the atmosphere of the place, sure. But, if the coffee wasn’t any good, all the mellow moods might not be enough to get us back there. After all, “All the Coffee in Korea” is a helluva lot of coffee. That also means that, unfortunately, sometimes a great product isn’t always enough.
Establishing atmosphere, a theme is often employed to get people in the door. You’ve got cat cafes, dog cafes (even a sheep cafe in Seoul that was so sad and just a couple months before I’d started this blog so I didn’t take any pictures), coffee shops that double as eyeglass centers and furniture shops. And, quite a few that double as flower shops have come and gone. But, if your coffee shop doubles as a florist and is down a narrow alley, in one of Busan’s most bustling downtowns, even an average cup could make for a memorable experience.
Blossom would be impossible to spot if this sign, on an unassuming chair, ever got pilfered by some obnoxious teen. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened yet. So, after months of curiosity, Mr. Coffee and his better half went down the rabbit hole that is down a darkened alleyway.
Blossom’s rustic charm becomes apparent almost immediately. It’s a small space, clean but weathered, likely someone’s home or a small repair shop in another lifetime. A humble display of the proprietor’s work greets newcomers at the entrance, along with several tables to settle down.
The coffees are priced in that upper middle-tier range. The above Cafe Latte was 4,500 won, a little steeper than I would have liked to pay. Besides the cute clouds at the top of the foam, it was pretty much an average cup of coffee. A little bitter, it could have been better, but it was definitely not the worst and I didn’t feel ripped off at the time.
So, the coffee was just fine. Does that mean the better half and/or I won’t be going back? Not necessarily. “But, Mr. Coffee, you rambling hypocrite,” you might ask, “that’s not what you said above.” Well, whenever someone asks me a question, I always tell them the same thing: How dare you speak to me.
Then, I will tell you that there are exceptions to the rules. For me, this coffee shop is in a convenient location to my home. It’s quiet, because it’s down a narrow alley (two, actually, as the above alley is from a different direction), and this also gives it a little extra sense of cool. And the coffee was fine. It wasn’t up to the level of Mellow Coffee. But, it’s certainly as good as the coffee I got from Mint Bloom, the flower cafe I frequented in Gimhae last year. That also was in a convenient location. And, the flowers smelled nice.
But, will it be convenient for you? Or will its unique location be enough to check it out? I think these should both propel you here at least once, maybe twice. At dusk on a misty, dreary day not far removed from Halloween, there’s definitely something special about a hot cup of java in a cheery, flowery cafe down a dark, gloomy alley.
DIRECTIONS: Seomyeon subway, exit 6. U-turn and turn right down the next road. Follow this down to the traffic light with NC Department Store across the street. Turn right. Follow this road a couple blocks until you see the above sign next to the above alleyway.