Thursday, January 19, 2012

The First Penguin - The Perfect Study Spot

That's my life these days. Except for the mandatory soju flooded nights out with the classmates, it's been coffee and studying, coffee and studying. You get it. But luckily I found the perfect spot right next to my house to get my coffee and study fix. The 1st Penguin. I think they're in love with their name or logo because they stick their logo on everything. Every cookie, snack, wall, lamp, book, pencil sharpener, etc has one.

This place reminds me a lot of Rabbit, just on a smaller scale. The drinks are great, a little flashy actually, and reasonably priced. My standard Latte is only 4,000, cheap for a Korean cafe, with the option for a 1,500 priced Americano refill. Not bad, not bad at all.

Though my latte this time has a snazzy design, the latte from my last visit sported a spiral of chocolate with a coffee bean in the center. The girlfriend's capuchino had a mountain of silky foam and a good amount of cinnamon. Having worked in cafes for 3 years I know my coffee drinks. Milk foam is the most important part of a good drink. It should be smooth and silky without any noticeable bubbles. Bubbles are the sign of either an inexperienced, ignorant, or more often and worst of all, a lazy barista. A good capuchino should be about 3/4 silky foam, 1/4 milk, and a latte backwards, 1/4 foam, 3/4 foam. The 1st Penguin hits the mark on the drinks. Well done.

One of the good things about walking around documenting a place with a big camera is that people tend to treat you nicer as they expect you're not just taking pictures for a personal archive. Indeed they asked me if I was a blogger and gave me the above pictured rice treat for free. They did give it to the two other guests so maybe I'm looking too far into it. But I'm guessing it's because I was blogging. Yesterday also I was photographing a bakery and got 2 extra raisin bread sticks. Chance? Perhaps!

Unfortunately I don't have a picture but the last time I ate the BLT sandwich which included a sandwich and pickles for 5,500. Not a great sandwich, but for a place without a kitchen, and for the price, it's not too bad. I imagine they don't want people coming in just for their sandwiches anyway, but it's good enough to hold you over if you don't want to leave to get something to eat.

Finally, and most importantly for a study cafe, the environment is very conducive to studying. There are probably 200 electric outlets, 30 lamps, and dozens of pencils and pencil sharpeners. Also included - free water, good internet, two computers, books, book holders, blankets, good lighting, big tables, some couches, and even a freaking chalkboard. Yeah, these owners knew their target audience, the super nerds at Korea University, and nailed it.

더퍼스트펭귄 고대점
93-5 Anamdong 5(o)-ga, Seongbuk-gu, 성북구, Seoul
South Korea

Open Hours:
M-F 8:00-11:00
Sat 10:00-11:00
Sun Closed

The Rundown
My favorite study cafe near Anam Station (Korea University).
More pictures can be found here.
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