I stumbled upon Sand Coffee NONTANTO in Apgujeong, while en route to a different place. on my way to the current #SeoulHotPlace, Milestone Coffee Roasters, which was completely full when I arrived, I turned around and headed to the trendy-looking cafe I had seen on my way, craving that caffeine hit. Little did I know, Turkish coffee at NONTANTO would end up being the better choice!
Although I am scarily dependent on coffee in the mornings, I do not consider myself a coffee purist or aficionado. Why? Well, I can’t even drink americanos! It is too bitter… Coffee connoisseurs consider it a sin to put anything other than water in your coffee. Therefore, I had no idea that I’d end up drinking — and enjoying — Turkish coffee, one of the strongest coffees in the world. Furthermore, Turkish coffee is touted by some coffee purists as the best coffee there is.
Sand Coffee NONTANTO
The name ‘Sand Coffee’ sounds like nothing more than just a quirky name, right? During my visit, I learned that the name refers to the traditional way of making coffee in hot sand. I was quite shocked to see a giant pan of sand on the counter. In fact, NONTANTO is quite similar to European cafes, in its atmosphere and technique.
This tiny coffee shop was the perfect escape from Seoul. It surely attracts plenty of coffee purists, but… minus the pretentiousness. This unique hole-in-the-wall had an undeniable warmth to it, accentuated further by the gentle sound of conversations around me.
The signature menu item appeared to be Cezve Brewing selection, which I guess is the closest to authentic Turkish-brewed coffee. However, true to my own tastes, I ordered from the ‘Coffee Variation’ section, vouching for the sweet-sounding Golden Cream Latte.
The unique characteristic of Turkish coffee is that the coffee grounds are not filtered out during the brew process, producing a much stronger coffee. I can confirm that this is true! Lattes in other cafes typically mute the coffee taste, but at NONTANTO, the sharp bite of the espresso persists. I had really never tasted anything like it before, a harmonious balance between bitter coffee and a sweet creamy flavor.
As I previously mentioned, Sand Coffee NONTANTO has a distinctly warm feeling. However, I would describe it as a coffee-themed experience, rather than a cafe you can relax in for a long time. That being said, I’d love to visit again and try another beverage. I’ve visited a lot of cafes in Seoul but NONTANTO seems to stay in my memory, on the very tip of my tongue.
Location & Directions
Sand Coffee NONTANTO Sinsa Branch Address: 35 Dosandae-ro 17-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Operating Hours: 11:00am - 10:00pm everyday Directions: Sinsa Station (Subway Line 3) Exit 8. Walk straight and turn left after KB Bank. Walk straight again for 5 min until you reach Sand Coffee NONTANTO on your left.
Sand Coffee NONTANTO Yeonnam-dong Branch Address: 212-16 Donggyo-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul Operating Hours: 11:30am - 10:00pm Sun - Thurs; - 11:00pm Fri, Sat Directions: Hongik University Station (Subway Line 2, Gyeongui Jungang, Airport Railroad) Exit 3. Walk straight and take the second left. You will find Sand Coffee NONTANTO on your left.