“Life is a cup of cake”
Are you in Korea and a big fan of cupcakes? What about handmade organic cupcakes made warm to-order if you ask? I would love to introduce you to an adorable and extremely kind cafe ” Co-끼리 | Co-Kiri ” nestled in between Edae and Shinchon!
Co-끼리 is one of those shops that I would pass by almost every day on my way to school and notice the adorable pink elephant mascot. I could never read the font on the sign from across the road so I had no idea what it was for ages, just that it looked cute and I wanted to stop by~ that is reason enough for me! Finally one day I dragged Nara with me to see just what the heck it was, and we discovered it was a cupcake shop~ an adorable cute little cupcake shop!!
After climbing the small stairway you are greeted with a pastel, all wooden cafe~ it is cozy and extremely peaceful, something Korean cafes always seem to get just right!
This location has an interesting vintage feeling to it with all of the wood because it used to be a children’s center that closed down. The founders of Co-끼리 decided to take the space and make it into a cupcake cafe that still holds the spirit of the youth center, selling delicious affordable cakes and hold events for students.
Founders of Co-끼리: 루나(Luna), 여울(Yeowool), 우짜짜(Oo-JJA-JJA), 슈(Shoo)
We sat down and had a really nice talk with the founders and employees at the cafe, it is very much a group effort at this shop! We learned that this location being an old children’s center is quite special for them because all 4 of the founders are actually leading members of a Seoul youth center called 하자(haja – Let’s do it). The team all feel very strongly about helping others and creating spaces for students that need warmth and kindness~ the cafe is a location that strives to achieve that and even though they are busy running the cafe (as well as a side business making lunchbox meals for the elderly) they still find time to involve the young community in some way.
Co-끼리’s head Icing decorator ‘SHOO’ and the head Baker ‘YEOWOOL”
The cafe itself has been opened since last Dec, and it is notable to mention that before starting they were mentored by 이샘 (E-Saem) cupcakes who is the very first person to bring a cupcake business in Korea. Cupcakes are still a very new thing here in Korea, but the younger generation is very fond of them and Co-끼리’s location is ideal because they are in the neighborhood of about 16 different schools!
When you stop by you will almost always see a small group of students working on something while they sip some tea and have a cake, it is a really great space to work or just relax after class.
Currently they offer around 12 flavors with some seasonal ones in rotation like pumpkin for Halloween and such!
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So what about the name though? It is actually quite cute Korean plus English combo~ “Co” is taken from ” Cupcake | 컵케잌은” and “코끼리 | Cokiri” means Elephant! Co-끼리! Get it?
These beautiful colors are 100% thanks to Mother Nature!
As I said in the opening, aside from the kind nature of the owners~ what makes the cupcakes unique at this location is they are all made with the best organic ingredients here at co-끼리! No artificial flavors or coloring whatsoever, which is always a good thing and not something you usually see at cupcake shops, especially here! Red coloring is made by boiling red rice, green tea for green, etc it is all very interesting and the taste is delicious.
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Co-끼리’s motto is affordable, healthy and natural. The cupcakes may not look flashy, but they make up for it with the rich, flavorful, high quality ingredients.
Cupcakes are sold in two sizes, a normal standard cupcake size as well as a mini! I love this because I am one of those people that wants to try all the flavors in one sitting when I find someplace new, the minis are a perfect size~ not itty bitty, and not huge! Again, Co-끼리 came up with the mini cupcakes for middle/high school students who can’t afford to buy 5$ cupcakes. It turns out, the mini’s are equally popular among grown ups as they are to students ~ ^^ <3
Behind the Co-끼리 window you can see them baking and icing the cute cupcakes !
Check out the adorable wooden menu! Prices are fairly standard for this sort of place in Korea, actually I found the cupcake prices extremely reasonable compared to some other shops! The 2 mini cupcakes for 5,000 won is a really good deal I think ♥
Flavors offered ready-made or baked fresh at your request are
Green Tea, Mochachino, Earl Grey, Berry Truffle, Blueberry, Very Berry, Tiramisu,
Red Velvet, Vanilla, Oreo, Oriental, & All About Chocolate-
They also have a few very nice combo deals!
If you would like to order a flavor they do not have made or more than what they have out, just ask! Often the cafe only has a few cakes ready-made so that they are fresh~ so do not worry if you want 3 oreo cupcakes and they only have one on the counter ^^ Fresh cupcakes from Co-끼리 taste super yummy and it only takes a few minutes so we always sip some tea and enjoy the cafe while we wait!
I love the pastel wooden tables and chairs in this cafe~ the owners said the kids down at the youth center helped make them from scratch.
“Very Berry” and “Green Tea”
“Earl Grey” with White Chocolate on top !
The first time we went to photograh we ordered a mini Red Velvet, Oreo, Very Berry, and Mochachino with a nice homemade passion fruit juice drink to wash them down!
♥ ♥ ♥Flavor reviews ♥ ♥ ♥
Green tea – need to try still, apparently this is made using matcha so the flavor is deep
Mochachino – Have to try still!
Earl Grey– Really interesting! Icing has a pleasant tea flavor paired with a vanilla cake + white chocolate
Berry Truffle – Sweet berry icing on top of a nice dark chocolate cake.
Blueberry– yogurt blueberry icing with a muffin-style blueberry cake.
Very Berry– Nice sweet berry icing with a light berry cake
Tiramisu– Have to try still!
Red Velvet– Cream cheese icing on top of a nice flavorful red cake
Vanilla– typical flavor, tastes like they use vanilla bean!
Oreo– Oreo icing with a nice chocolate oreo cake!
Oriental– Have to try still!
All About Chocolate– Have to try still!
Water is self-service in the back of the cafe usually~
A 코끼리 at Co-끼리
For those of you who LOVE Red Velvet like Nara, this is the one place in Korea where he approved of the Red Velvet cake!!! Although there are numerous places that attempt to make Red Velvet cake in Korea, we’ve noticed Korea hasn’t fully understood what Red Velvet should taste like.
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Since it is his favorite flavor, Nara orders Red Velvet in every cupcake place that offers just to try, and every time he has been disappointed. Co-끼리 so far is the ONE PLACE with a legit Red Velvet flavor that we have found so far. It is just as it should be, with the cream-cheesy icing and it also happens to be Co-끼리’s #1 selling cupcake ! If you live in Korea and you miss Red Velvet cake from back home, then Co-끼리 is here to make your day ! ^^
As for me, I was just happy to try all the other fun flavors they offered! Can’t go wrong with Oreo!
Generally the icing used for some of the Co-끼리 cupcake flavors is a bit unique for those of you that are regular cake eaters. Some flavors (namely the berry and oreo from my exp) have a bit of a grit to the icing, which makes me believe they use a powdered sugar icing recipe that is still a bit soft and fluffy. We asked them about it and they said the texture mainly comes from a type of French chocolates they grind when making the icing, so I’m not sure now ^^ It was a bit different for me at first, but now I like it!
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Because the cupcakes are made from scratch, some days we have found the icing and cake to be a better texture vs others~ they still taste yummy regardless though! I think a lot has to do with the time of day we get them too, end of the day the cake gets a little crumbly here so I like the cupcakes warm out of the oven!
To drink we ordered a freshly made passion fruit-ade ! So yummy and fresh!
Want to buy a few for gifts and feel like making them a bit fancier? If you tell them that you want to decorate yourself, Co-끼리 will provide you with a small DIY kit of sprinkles and icing for you to go wild with!
When we went back for a 2nd visit and interview Nara wore his Enakei badge~ looking fancy!
Naturally I left a happy plate ^^
Had to take one last cupcake home for a midnight snack, just because! Even the to-go box is adorable!
Thank you so much to the kind staff for taking the time to talk with us! Everyone was so sweet!!
‘Candle Light’ night
On the last Tuesdays of every month (sometimes every other month) from 8pm to 10pm, Co-끼리 cupcake lights candles and shuts off all their lights and holds a special event called ‘Candle Light‘.
“Candle Light Night” in a nutshell is a performance night at the cafe where student bands play live music for everyone. We were told that originally ‘Candle Light’ events came from a movement in the US with some businesses to conserve electricity, but it really caught on with cafes in Japan before finally coming to Korea. Now Co-끼리 is currently one of the 12 cafe’s that hold this lights out event monthly in Korea.
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The Co-끼리 founders originally started the event with socially challenged students from their youth center who loved to play music showcase their talent in hopes to have more social interactions. Apparently it was a success, and now a lot of them looked forward to this event very much!
We visited the Co-끼리 Candle Light event this month with Nara’s friend Taejin as well as his girlfriend Jihyun who goes to Ehwa university right around the corner ^^
This event is typically held from 8-10pm, but the small cafe quickly fills up by 7:30pm~ so come early! Luckily we managed to find two seats so ladies got to sit, muhaha yes.
On Candle Night, after around 7:30pm they will not allow you to order additional drinks or cupcakes until the performances are over~ so make sure you get all your goodies before it gets too late!
This visit we ordered a blueberry, oreo, and red velvet cupcake with some tea!
Nara is always happy to get his red velvet fix here! hehe he is addicted!
Eventually all the ceiling lights are turned off and traded in for nice romantic candlelight around the stage. It feels very cozy and intimate ~
This evening everyone that played was a college student~
There were Bongos, Triangles, Acoustic guitars, Violins, Xylophones, Ukuleles and even a Blow-organ. All the instruments were non electronic and sounded so soothing along with beautiful singing. Some of the bands played their original composed music, others played covers of songs (some English!) so it was a nice mixture.
all in all it was a wonderful and relaxing evening at the cafe~ I am so glad we could attend!
Directions to Cupcake Co-끼리
서울 서대문구 창천동 20-99
Hours: 11am- 9pm
Co-끼리 is a little bit of a walk from Shinchon (you can also walk from Edae station the opposite direction, but the distance is farther) but at least it is one nice straight walk after using exit #4! If you are used to the buses here in Seoul you can find several that will stop right around the shop~ I can’t list any of the stop numbers sadly, but one we use is called “Shinchon Rotary“. The cafe should be easy to spot while you are walking since it is painted pink, just keep an eye out for the signs or banner outside and enter using the small stairway! If you pass the giant Shinchon movie theater, you have walked too far.
If you are in Seoul and would love to try some yummy organic cupcakes~ or really just awesome cupcakes in general please do stop by Co-끼리 and pay them a visit!!
Have you been to this cupcake shop before? Did you visit after reading? Share in the comments below and please, if you do stop by tell them that Cute in Korea sent you! ♥