Remember the early days of lockdown, when you were stuck in the kitchen for days on end, vigorously mixing instant coffee and sugar until you could pull off the frothy texture of the Dalgona? I don’t know about you, but since my first failed attempt in making that hip Korean drink, I’ve dived deeper into Korean culture: food, dramas, music, what have you.
Now, I’m at the point where I’m dreaming of being in South Korea. But obviously, travelling to the country isn’t possible — nor practical — at the moment. So instead, I’m into the next best thing: hopping into pretty Korean-inspired cafes in Metro Manila! Any one of you as eager as I am? Then let these aesthetic cafes in Metro Manila transport you to the Land of the Morning Calm, with heart palpitations on the side. (Kidding.)
Your guide to the prettiest Korean-inspired cafes in Metro Manila
1. Hisbeans Coffee
If we’re talking Korean cafes in Metro Manila, then we can’t miss out on Hisbeans Coffee. Now with a branch in Quezon City, this coffee shop hails from South Korea and is well-loved for its practice of training and employing persons with disabilities. Beyond its advocacy, Hisbeans Coffee also boasts of its delicious coffee (made with speciality-grade Arabica beans) and relaxing interiors (Insta-worthy decor and plants galore!).
Address: 116 Timog Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
Another Korea-based coffee shop that has found its way to Metro Manila, Coffeesmith Philippines proudly represents K-culture through food and beverages. It has a wide variety of high-quality coffee, tea, juice, and snacks (yes, including profuse flavours of bingsu).
With its friendly atmosphere and minimalist-industrial vibes, this cafe’s trademarks are easily recognisable for K-drama fans. Why? Different Coffeesmith branches in South Korea have actually appeared in multiple shows, including the 2014 rom-com It’s Okay, That’s Love, the hit sci-fi flick I’m Not a Robot, and the award-winning drama, Punch!
Address: 1101 Lower Ground Floor, Festival Mall Expansion (near Parkway Rotonda), Filinvest City Alabang 1770 Muntinlupa City
Tagged as the “number one on-the-go speciality coffee from Korea,” WouldULike arrived in Manila in 2020 to bring its famous coffee drink to Filipinos. Using only high-quality Korean coffee beans, this cafe has long been a crowd favourite in the Land of the Morning Calm, even making an appearance in a few K-dramas including Doctor John, Revolutionary Love, Criminal Minds, and Mad Dog.
WouldULike offers several kinds of coffee drinks, including the iconic Dalgona Caffe Latte, in its classic canned packaging. So, if you opt to order their coffee on GrabFood or FoodPanda, you’re guaranteed to receive your drink in its perfect freshness and temperature.
Address: 26 A. Lake Street, Manila
4. Tom N Toms Coffee
Apparently, Korean-grown cafes are abundant in Metro Manila. Tom N Toms Coffee, another coffeehouse chain based in South Korea, originally launched in different areas in the Philippines: Bacolod, Dumaguete, Boracay, and Clark, to be exact. In 2018, they opened a two-storey branch in Pasig — a two-storey building that is not only spacious, but also homey and relaxing.
When you find your way to Tom N Toms Coffee, regardless of branch, do yourself a favour and order its famous pretzels along with your drink of choice. On that note, pick a drink wisely — you’ll have several to choose from.
Address: Ground Floor, Unit 8, Ortigas Technopoint One, Julia Vargas Avenue, Pasig
5. Blue Wonder Coffee & Bean Roastery
If you’re looking for an exceptional coffee experience, then head to Blue Wonder Coffee and Bean Roastery. More than a cafe in Metro Manila, this space is actually a space for learning. With coffee equipment displayed side by side and staff ready to explain brew methods, Blue Wonder Coffee and Bean Roastery more than welcomes its customers for an in-depth coffee experience. It even provides barista classes through Cooko Academy, the first Philippine-Korean culinary and barista academy in the country.
When in Blue Wonder Coffee & Bean Roastery, try out their Iced Blue Wonder Cream Mocha. This is a personal recommendation by its owner, Soo Hee Chang, who is, by the way, an award-winning barista both in the Philippines and in South Korea!
Address: 2nd Floor, #4 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., Brgy. Bagong Ilog, C5 1600 Pasig
6. Kiss the Tiramisu PH
A famous dessert cafe in South Korea, Kiss the Tiramisu graced Metro Manila when it opened a Makati branch in 2017. It has since been many Pinoys’ go-to place for soft-serve ice cream served in luxurious goblets.
Not sure what to order? The classic tiramisu ice cream offers a melt-in-your-mouth experience, so don’t shy away from ordering just that. If you’re looking for a traditional Korean flavour, though, then definitely go for the Injeolmi ice cream. But if coffee is your primary agenda, then you have to try the Tiramisu Cheese Cream Latte or Tiramisu Ice Cream Latte.
Address: G/F Three Central, Valero St, Salcedo Village Makati, Philippines
7. Yo Korean Bubble Tea & Chicken + Coffee
If you’re as much a foodie as a coffee lover, then Yo Korean Bubble Tea & Chicken + Coffee should be on your radar. This South Korean fast-food franchise is best known for its customisable mukbang boxes for as low as ₱250. You can add samgyupsal, chicken wings, and canned bubble tea of different flavours.
Just this October, Yo Korean Bubble Tea & Chicken opened a branch in Parañaque. And, not only does it offer its trademark menu of jjajangmyeon, bubble tea, slushies, baked rice, and chicken wings; this specific branch has sugary iced coffee, too!
Address: 321 BF Homes, Parañaque
Marchello is a new cafe in Metro Manila oozing minimalist Korean-inspired aesthetics. It offers quite an extensive and affordable menu, including choco banana with peanut butter frappe, matcha-flavoured whip, kopi caramel-flavoured whip, and Nutella iced coffee.
Aside from its fun drinks, Marchello also offers food. Its waffles start at ₱90 and come with various toppings and flavours. But if you’re not a sweet tooth, then you can have a serving of cheesy lasagna and Korean cream cheese garlic bread instead.
Addresses: Unit 101, R. Place Building #12 Faustino St., Holy Spirit, Isidora Hills, Quezon City; 129 Gen. Luna St. Malabon, Manila; 78 Bet. 8th & 9th St., 11th Ave., Grace Park, Caloocan City
9. Beanbox Commonwealth
In one word, Beanbox Commonwealth is cosy. With private nooks, ambient music, and warm lighting, this Korean-inspired cafe in Metro Manila was, pre-pandemic, a hangout for both barkadas who wanted to chitchat for hours and solo individuals who needed a spot to study. It has numerous outlets and free WiFi, pillows and tables, and lights that you can turn on and off as you wish.
Beanbox offers a long list of coffee beverages, although I’d recommend their menu for those who prefer sweet drinks. They also have several Korean food options, including soy honey chicken, bulgogi, jeyukbokkeum, bingsu, odeng, ramyun, kimbap and tteokbokki.
Address: L04 Berkeley Square, Commonwealth Avenue, Matandang Balara, Quezon City
10. Cups and Nails
How about coffee and a pampering experience all at once? A new speciality coffee shop in Marikina, Cups and Nails serves coffee, milk tea, pastries — and manicures! You didn’t expect that combination, did you? But now that we’re living in a pandemic-driven world, we’ll take as many one-stop-shops as we can get.
Cups and Nails has a budget-friendly menu, with speciality coffee starting at ₱60. You can also order affordable food items, including quesadillas, noodles, and pasta. Plus, their Korean garlic buns are a must-try!
Address: Riverbanks Avenue 1803 Marikina City
While travel is limited, we’re grateful for these Korean cafes in Metro Manila that give us a taste of SK. Want to travel around the Philippines for more coffee shop options? Explore our cafe recommendations in Antipolo, Baguio, Cebu, Tagaytay, Cagayan de Oro, Pampanga, Quezon City, and Ortigas!