RISIO COFFEE (2.0) (Bucheon)

Risio, Resurrected!

or

Risio Coffee has Returned, new and possibly improved, version 2.0, August 2013

Well, Risio, hello again!

Risio Coffee, resurrected!; in the final phases of construction, July 2013
Risio Coffee, resurrected!; in the final phases of construction, July 2013

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So, a few months ago I was saddened at the closing of Risio Coffee, just after I had moved here and discovered it. But after being dormant and vacant for a few months, life started stirring inside again. Soon, there was construction, and by early July, it looked like a café again! And, surprise! The name was (almost) the same! Risio Coffee, version 2.0, has reopened!

RISIO COFFEE, finally open again, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE, finally open again, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE, AKA CAFE RISIO, finally open (the owner says the name is the former), August 2013
RISIO COFFEE, AKA CAFE RISIO, finally open (the owner says the name is the former), August 2013

(First, a little note about the name. In the picture above, one sign says RISIO COFFEE while other other says CAFE RISIO. I asked one of the baristas, who happened to be the owner, what the name of Risio 2.0 actually is, and she answered “RISIO COFFEE”.)

From the outside, Risio now looks like it graduated from college and got a very high-paying job. It now has an upscale feel, from the materials to the lighting to the decorations. It’s not a luxury café, but it’s definitely not the quirky place it used to be.

RISIO COFFEE 2.0 counter, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE 2.0 counter and menu, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE 2.0 - Comfortable seating and nice wooden wall strips, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE 2.0 – Comfortable seating and nice wooden wall strips, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE 2.0 - Upstairs now has tables and chairs, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE 2.0 – Upstairs now has tables and chairs, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE 2.0 - Upstairs now has tables and chairs, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE 2.0 – Upstairs now has tables and chairs, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE 2.0 - Congratulations plants, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE 2.0 – Congratulations plants, August 2013

And therein lies a small problem. Korea, since the Korean War, has been on a steady and extremely rapid trajectory from extreme poverty to affluence. Koreans over the decades have been accumulating more money and wealth, and spending it. When I first visited in 2003, I was shocked at how ultra-modern it was compared to Seattle and the US, with such things as digital door locks, HDTVs in the subway tunnels, TV on cell phones, and so many new cars. Nowadays, in 2013, smartphones get replaced faster than almost anywhere in the world, parks and bakeries are constantly refreshed and improved, and one of the newest subway lines, the Sinbundang Line, is amazing. Koreans have justifiably wanted to improve their living condition from the terrible situation that it was a few decades ago. But now that they are affluent, they haven’t seemed to slow down! So, for example, cute and quirky Risio 1.0 was good enough, and comfortable, and appealing, but it wasn’t upscale. And now, Risio 2.0 is. But that cute and quirky place was lost in the process. There were plenty of other upscale cafés around the area and the country… did we really need another one? Oh well… I really do like to improve things, but I also like to preserve charming and good quality older things. It’s all about balance for me.

So, Risio 2.0 looks quite nice on the inside. But, while it’s comfortable and pretty enough, it isn’t as cozy as before. It’s still new, just having opened, so it probably will improve with time. I hope.

On my first visit, tonight, as I write, I’ve been having a mocha. And yes, it is as good as before. And they even still use the mugs from Risio 1.0! ^^

RISIO COFFEE 2.0 - Café mocha, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE 2.0 – Café mocha, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE 2.0 - Café mocha in a mug from Risio Coffee 1.0, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE 2.0 – Café mocha in a mug from Risio Coffee 1.0, August 2013

Overall, Risio 2.0 is still a nice place with great coffee and still very fast wi-fi. There were a lot of people visiting tonight too. But, it loses a star compared to Risio 1.0 for losing a little bit of soul in its new look.

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A few days later, here’s a small update.

The weather has been very hot and humid this first half of August, so I’ve just wanted to stay close to home, and Risio is one of three local cafés that I’ve been frequenting very often {the other two being Café Dongnae and coffeeNeulbo}. It seems that people have discovered or re-discovered Risio 2.0, as I’ve seen a number of people visiting. The clientele seems a little older than it used to be. Today, a Monday, has been mostly empty, though. Anyway, two extra things to note.

First, the owner was gracious enough to accept my point card from Risio 1.0, which only had 2 stickers left to receive a free drink. 아싸! (assah!)

Risio 1.0 point card, still accepted at Risio 2.0
Risio 1.0 point card, still accepted at Risio 2.0
Risio 1.0 point card, still accepted at Risio 2.0
Risio 1.0 point card, still accepted at Risio 2.0

Second… I wrote about this just a few weeks ago regarding my visit to I’m Home 2. With the extreme heat and humidity, and the temporary closure of a few nuclear power plants, Korea is undergoing an energy crisis and has been asked to conserve energy. So, with an upscale remodel, you might think Risio 2.0 would have upscale and modern lighting too? Nope, like I’m Home 2, they went the archaic incandescent route:

RISIO COFFEE 2.0 - Despite a remodel, archaic incandescent light bulbs were installed, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE 2.0 – Despite a remodel, archaic incandescent light bulbs were installed, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE 2.0 - Despite a remodel, at least 9 archaic incandescent light bulbs were installed, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE 2.0 – Despite a remodel, at least 9 archaic incandescent light bulbs were installed, August 2013

Well, at least it’s only 9 bulbs that I can see. So, 40W x 9 = 360W. But still, with LED bulbs, this could have been 9W x 9 = 81W, with clean light and no extra heat generated. Well, by the time they’re ready to be replaced, incandescent bulbs won’t be available in Korea.

Here’s another drink, a Frappuccino equivalent. May I present to you, the Mocha Riccino:

RISIO COFFEE 2.0 - Mocha Riccino, August 2013
RISIO COFFEE 2.0 – Mocha Riccino, August 2013

Stay cool everyone!

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Here’s a link to a Google map to find Risio Coffee.

And here is a link to a Naver Map and a Naver Map page about Risio, which still refers to Risio 1.0 as of this posting.

Final verdict:  ****

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