Coffee Shop Culture

I know, I know.  It’s been forever.  I owe you guys big time.  So let’s talk about Korean cafes.  There’s definitely a Korean cafe culture here.  image It seems like people come less for the coffee and more for the socializing.  This makes a lot of sense when you think about Korean housing situations.   Unless you’re married or live outside of your hometown, you most likely live witb your parents.  It’s not viewed negatively here (although I’ve met individuals who don’t enjoy it), but it can fet in the way of socializing.  Imagine trying to talk with your adult friends with your parents going about their business.  Also, some places are very cramped.  I live in a 250 square foot apartment, and I’ve seen families of four coming out of one apartment.  Cafes are a convenient solution. You can study or just hang out for hours, and not worry about your family getting in the way.  I suppose in North America cafes serve a similar purpose, but there’s a different vibe to it.  In North America, it’s more of a work or lunchtime chat sort of place.   In Korea, it’s a break from everything else.  I’m not sure how to define it.  Since coffeee often comes in second to atmosphere, its sometimes not brewed properly.  I know, I sound like such a coffee snob, but drip coffee really isn’t a thing here.  It’s an Americano or some type of Latte.  No 2,000₩ cup of joe.  image Here’s a menu from one of my favorite cafes in my neighborhood.


And here is my crude translation for those interested.

They actually make a smooth cup of coffee and have Dutch coffee on the menu.  That’s drip coffee for Americans.  But you will also notice it’s pretty pricey.  It’s 3,000 for the basic Americano, and prices just go up from there.  Thus is not unusual.  In fact, this is pretty reasonable. Other coffee shops will charge 4,000 or 5,000₩ as a base rate.  Needless to say, I still spend a lot of time in Korean coffee shops.  The atmosphere is very cozy.  Most cafes have a very sophisticated or super cute style, and it’s just a nice place to talk. I hope that answers any questions you may have had.  If there’s any more, I’ll be happy to answer comments!


2 thoughts on “Coffee Shop Culture

  1. Hey Meg. I’m really enjoying your stories. My husband was stationed in Seoul in 1965. Of course he lived on a military compound sooooo I don’t know all the things you write about. We were stained in Germany, but it seems everything was a lot easier. I hope you are having a good time. It sounds like you are. Merry Christmas Meg. Best wishes to you.


    • Thank you, Mary! From what I understand, it is very different on an American base. A Canadian coworker of mine was able to spend some time on a base in Seoul. He said it was like a replica of a North American town. There is no need to speak Korean, and the groceries are the same as at home. It makes sense when you are traveling from one country to another. It’s nice to have the comforts of home. I see some of the people from the base around town. There is an international clinic at one of the hospitals that caters to the families on base. Around the base is also where you can get the best diner food from what I understand! A Merry Christmas to you too(I was just teaching my students this).


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