Oh hey there!
Several weekends ago, Nick and I found ourselves in the Hongdae neighborhood of Seoul, about an hour early to bible study. Oops. We decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and meander through the back alleyways to know this area of the city in more detail.
As we chatted along the way, we twisted and turned down who knows where. Getting lost is one of the best way to discover new favorite places or so I’m told? Weeellll, they’re definitely right. As it was nearing time to head back, we surprisingly came across this gem, hidden about a 10 minute walk from Hongdae Station: You Are Here Cafe. I completely admit that I squealed when I saw those blue Fair Trade letters next to the front door. I’d like to say I was embarrassed by my amount of excitement, but I found another Fair Trade cafe!? No shame. Commence happy dance! We quickly grabbed a cup of coffee, power walked back to our starting point, and made plans to visit this space again very soon.
Let’s be real: finding Fair Trade products in South Korea is not a regular occurrence. Many times, I feel discouraged that most of my ethical purchases are ordered from abroad. This isn’t bad, but it’s also not ideal. Luckily, this lack strongly ignites my desire to discover more Fair Trade + ethically made products, stores, and cafes in my city. Oh, and to share them with you, of course!
Why buy Fair Trade certified products? It’s one of the easiest ways to shop more ethically. There is no guessing game involved. You can be assured that the individuals who planted, harvested, or crafted your products are paid a living wage, work in clean + chemical-free + safe conditions, and complete a normal amount of work hours each day (no forced labor or coercion). Learn more about Fairtrade International Certification (and the difference between Fair Trade and Fairtrade) here.
This two story cafe is brilliantly spacious, with an enormous selection of Fairtrade products near the coffee bar. The shelves are meticulously curated with everything from giant bags of whole bean coffee to chocolate advent calendars. Hello, options! When I went back for my third visit, I spent most of my time perched on the second floor patio, sipping on a mug of coffee, reading in the gorgeous afternoon sunlight.
If you are in the Hongdae neighborhood and would like to visit this cafe, guess what!? There is a YouTube video with directions just for you! I was shocked and excited to find this hilarious + helpful video created by the cafe a few years back.
Living a bit more ethically doesn’t have to be difficult. Taking small steps, such as purchasing Fairtrade coffee in your neighborhood, is an amazing start. It may seem small, but all these little choices amount to something significantly bigger in the long run.
Don’t be too hard on yourself: start somewhere!
Hours: 9:00AM-1:00AM daily | Phone: 02-336-9632
Website: You Are Here Cafe Facebook Page.