One of the things I enjoyed doing when I was living in South Korea was going to a coffee shop. Coffee shops in Korea and Los Angeles are a great place to get some work done, have a great conversation with friends, and also do some people-watching in a quiet afternoon.
Having lived in Apgujeong, a bustling area with high pedestrian traffic provided me access to a wide variety of coffee shop to choose from. Visiting Coffee Signal in Koreatown LA reminded me of those cozy coffee shops that I used to frequent in Korea.
On Western Ave, one of the busiest streets in Koreatown LA, there is a small, cafe with a welcoming ambiance. This coffee shop is called Coffee Signal.
Coffee Signal has a clean and modern space that is more spacious inside than it looks from outside. Wooden tables and seats with cushions line the perimeter of the shop providing a comfortable yet modern look. Notably there is a small section that features clothes from Korea on sale. A cute typographic wall design spells ‘Coffee Signal’ in azalea pink, which is the coffee shop’s theme color.
When I visited, there were a couple of people sitting in the cafe doing their work, while others were constantly coming in and lining up to get their drinks to-go.
Just as coffee shops these days come in a variety of forms and have their own specialties, Coffee Signal in Koreatown LA is getting recognized as a perfect hangout to settle in, with its relaxed environment and great snacks that are given as much careful attention as their amazing coffee.
Chloe, the owner of Coffee Signal, grew up in Koreatown LA since she was 6 years old. She is a witness of Koreatown’s huge change in culture over the past 15-20 years. She said the town looks more developed and refined now than it was in the past, in a positive way.
Chloe Jang was always interested in coffee, so she dreamed of opening her own cafe since she was young. After several years of focusing on her family and raising kids, she decided to pursue her dreams from her childhood.
Chloe was already an experienced barista who spent her early twenties as a diligent cafe associate. From an abundant amount of practical knowledge she accumulated over years, she was confident about starting a cafe business.
Recently, Chloe finally opened her own coffee shop and named it ‘Coffee Signal’. The name was based on her own “signal” in life to follow her vision. Following her heart and inner compass, Chloe Jang is achieving her American Dream through Coffee Signal in Koreatown LA.
To Chloe, Coffee Signal is a childhood dream, a room of her own, and an open place to share her love of hand-roasted coffee, refreshing drinks, and delectable bites with everyone.
Coffee Signal is not like any other big franchise coffee shops that use microwaved food or mass-produced ingredients for the drinks. Coffee Signal uses high quality ingredients sourced from other local businesses.
The owner, Chloe Jang, puts in a lot of effort into finding the best coffee beans, the best tea leaves, the best toasting bread, and the best pastries for her food items. She also makes a lot of things in-house, in so-called ‘Signal-style’; these include the syrup for the drinks, fruit preserves for fruit ade, waffles, taiyakis, etc.
Coffee Signal’s current best-sellers are Signal Latte and taiyaki. The Signal Latte is topped with a layer of thick cream and small mocha beans. It has a very silky and nutty flavor that is hard to describe, but is uniquely delicious. It has a rich and a pleasantly sweet flavor, but not too heavy which makes it a perfect drink to overcome the afternoon slump.
Also, the Signal Latte is nothing like those milk based drinks that leave a bad aftertaste, because of the in-house handmade ingredients that are used, instead of an overloaded amount of sugar and chemicals.
On the other hand, the taiyaki is the most popular snack item at Coffee Signal. It is reminiscent of the taiyaki stalls that open during winter times in Korea. Whereas most of these stalls are limited to selling ones with red bean paste and custard fillings, Coffee Signal’s taiyaki has four different filling flavors-red bean, sweet potato, custard and nutella. Also, these taiyakis are extra chewy and crispy because their dough is handmade.
Aside from these best selling items, Coffee Signal also has a wide range of drinks and dishes to choose from, including tea, fruit ade, tea latte, sandwiches and paninis.
Coffee Signal will never cease to amaze its customers with their creative drinks, filling food and desserts. According to Chloe, she is planning for a small seasonal event this upcoming holiday, like adding Christmas decorations to her dessert items.
Whether you need a spark of an idea with a cup of joe, need to get a daily coffee fix, or just want to sit down and chit chat with friends, we highly recommend you try Coffee Signal. Trust us, with the first sip of Signal Latte, you will never regret visiting!
Photo: Hanshin Pocha According to a 2018 WHO report, citizens of the Republic of Korea drink 16L (about 32 water bottles) of alcohol per capita
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