Photos and text by Joanna Tambakis
Looking for a good spot to have a coffee, hang out, and meet friendly locals? Interested in learning more about coffee, from the roasting process to how to make an espresso, latte, or cappuccino? Want a place to do art, write your next novel, jam your musical instrument of choice, or quietly read a book? Or perhaps you are looking for a space to hold your next meet-up? Eun-soon Gu’s Coffee Shop, Roastery, and Barista Training Centre (구은순 커피공방) is just the place for you.
After recent remodelling, Gu’s Coffee is back open for business. Well, sort of, because the shop and roastery isn’t a business in the traditional sense. The owner, Mrs. Eun-soon Gu, generously leaves her place open for anyone to use, as long as you let the staff know that you will be dropping by. Mrs. Gu doesn’t speak much English, but her husband and some of the staff there can communicate a bit. And regardless of any language barrier, their hospitality is amazing.
If you are lucky, you will find Mrs. Gu or a barista free to simply chat, or maybe they will make you a drink and show you some tricks to make a mean latte. If no one is around, Mrs. Gu welcomes you to make a coffee for yourself (if you know how to work an espresso machine). The second floor is generally left unlocked; just call ahead (010-322-7641) to give them a heads-up. Please, let’s show that we foreigners can be trusted and use her space in a considerate and respectful manner.
Gu’s Coffee is always filled with interesting people, and she is particularly fond of artists and musicians. This sentiment is made clear as soon as you step in: you will find yourself facing a beautiful wall of hundreds of blue, green, and white coffee cups, handmade by a Korean ceramicist named Kim Dong Jin. He also specially designed cups with Mrs. Gu’s name, which is also the Korean word for the number nine (구). All throughout the space, Kim’s beautiful handmade coffee cups line the shelves.
The eclectic, minimalist decor gives a feeling of spaciousness, but it manages to remain cosy at the same time. There are several separated rooms you can choose from to relax and kick back.
The lower floor is the barista training centre and roasting facility. Mrs. Gu is a coffee bean connoisseur who travelled to South America to gain firsthand experience with the coffee beans she sources. Her husband, Mr. Kim, is an engineer who built their charcoal roasting machine himself. Charcoal-roasted coffee is becoming all the rage in South Korea, a country that undoubtedly loves their coffee. The unique method of roasting beans over charcoal results in a subtler, more aromatic flavour. You can even purchase the coffee roasted here to make at home.
Location & Directions
Street address (New system/새주소):
창원시 의창구 용지로 281번길 4 (Changwon, Uichang-gu, Yongji-ro 281-4)
Neighborhood address (Old system):
창원시 의창구 사림동 4-10 (Changwon, Uichang-gu, Sarim-dong 4-10)
Just down the road from the Gyeongnam Art Museum (경남도립미술관). Take buses 100, 101, 110, 122, 214, or 752 to the museum or walk from Yongji Lake or Changwon University. On the opposite side of Yongji-ro, away from City Hall and the sculpture park, there are several side roads. Turn onto 용지로 281 (Yongji-ro 281), and Gu’s Coffee will be on your right.
Phone number: 010-32207641. Please call ahead if possible.