A very pleasant discovery this March is that there is what you might call a third wave coffeeshop in Pyongyang. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term, ‘third wave’ essentially means thinking about coffee similarly to wine: concern for terroir, freshness and individual, hand-made drinks. It's pretty bougy.) This un-named café is attached to the Pyongyang Hotel View Restaurant. It is the first one in the DPRK with single origin beans, pour-overs and even a small roasting machine, as far as we know.
This amounts to a quantum leap in coffee quality in the capital city. Espresso is available at certain restaurants and there is an Austrian coffeeshop tantalizingly close to Kim Il Sung Square but sadly, without a view.
The pour-over we had was unfortunately a bit off. The grind was too coarse and the beans slightly out of date by the standards of third wave cafes elsewhere. The espresso, however, was excellent, bursting with caramely and nutty flavors. The cappucino was good, also.
Though we haven't seen it packed yet, the chances of it surviving seem quite high. It is only about three months old and the café has the backing of a successful restaurant. As we’ve noted before, there is a growing market of Pyongyang citizens who are willing to spend $3.50 for a coffee.
Combined with the river view, this should soon enough become the city’s hotspot for tourists and expats who can’t stand another cup of instant coffee.