For a truly unique coffee experience in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea, you should try a tiny café called C. THROUGH. It is here that barista and co-owner Lee Gang-bin turns regular coffee into works of art. This is not just another copycat latte art trend. Lee’s technique is beautiful and intricate, and his coffee tastes good too.
Lee calls his technique “cream art” because the designs are made from colored icings on cold coffee. He does not make the art on hot beverages as the heat would change the flavor over time. For him, the taste of the brew is just as important as topping it with a beautiful painting.
From Van Gogh to Degas and from Disney characters to personal portraits, there are no limits when it comes to ordering a cup of coffee with cream art at C. THROUGH Café. Each creation takes from fifteen minutes to one hour, so the orders are by reservation only. The current price for a custom drink is around $6.30 or 7,500 won.
Lee has been making coffee for more than 10 years and latte art for more than seven. Though he never studied drawing, he always enjoyed art. After training to become a coffee barista, he realized there was a way to combine his two passions.
Much of C. THROUGH Café’s popularity can be credited to his large social media presence. His Instagram account has more than 2,000 posts featuring his beautiful cups, which has helped him attract more than 250,000 followers. The account includes videos of artwork being prepared and photos of finished creations. One customer even requested a special cup to propose marriage to his loved one.
When it comes to latte art, Seoul may not be considered a top destination. However, thanks to Lee’s artwork, the world is seeing a new side of South Korean culture.
C. THROUGH Café
Address: 403-3 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea
Hours: Monday – Tuesday: 2:00 pm – 12:00 am
Wednesday – Sunday: 12:00 pm – 12:00 am