Here’s an interesting graphic from The Korea Herald about how much coffee an average Korean drinks in a year. The interesting, thing, however, is not the amount. Look at what a small chunk of that cup brewed coffee, i.e. coffee made by a barista in a café, takes up! It’s only about 1/7 of the total coffee. Imagine if Koreans replaced their coffee mixes with more trips to the neighborhood café… Cafés would have to multiply even more. My school went from having 0 cafés nearby last year to 4 as I write in May 2017 [May 9 update: make that 5! another one just opened a few days ago]… this could easily go up to 10. We’ll see what happens…
It has certainly been an amazing few years to be a coffee drinker, a café aficionado, a CaféSeaSeo, in Korea. Café culture has exploded, the number of cafés has risen exponentially, and the quality of coffee keeps increasing year by year.
So for today, here’s a series of articles noting the expansion of coffee drinking in Korea, a milestone for Starbucks, a list of exemplary cafés, and a few other random things that fall under the banner of coffee. ^^
And now, back to Seo(ul). Or at least Korea in general.
Earlier this year, the good folks at Talk To Me In Korean had a little conversation about Korea’s intense coffee and café culture. You can listen to their chat here:
Here at CaféSeaSeo I sometimes take time to focus on the Sea(ttle) instead of the Seo(ul).
So here was a nice little profile of the founder of, as I’ve previously mentioned, one of my favorite cafés in Seattle, Espresso Vivace, and the huge impact he had.
The Seattle Times – Vivace’s David Schomer — not Starbucks — ‘made coffee huge in Seattle’
Second, a little reflection on Seattle’s current place in the coffee universe. There’s a little more details in the comment than in the posting:
What Happened to Seattle Coffee? – http://www.eater.com/forums/seattle/2014/9/25/6845431/what-happened-to-seattle-coffee
Defining coffee… when cappuccinos aren’t cappuccinos, and caramel macchiatos aren’t macchiatos, and Gibraltars are also cortados. Well, at least here’s the story of the cappuccino…
I try to order a for-here cup whenever and wherever possible, even at Starbucks (yes, they have mugs, even some people in Seattle have looked surprised when they see me with one). But if you’re going to get something to go, there is now an option that’s even greener than a compostable cup…
A cup that biodegrades into seeds…
The world needs beauty amid all its troubles. Thankfully, there are millions of artists among us. And some of them dabble in coffee. Here’s a few examples I found to hopefully make you smile and brighten your day…
By artist Ghidaq al-Nizar:
By artist Stefan Kuhnigk:
The Korea Times – ‘Angel-in-us Coffee wants to make angels of customers’
I’m sure all my loyal CaféSeaSeo readers order their lattes with a smile, right? Well, the chain Angel-in-us will reward you with a discount! I guess it’s something I haven’t paid attention to… in English, in Seattle, I always order politely, and most people I’ve heard do too. But Koreans ordering in Korean? My ears haven’t picked up how polite or rude they generally are. Maybe they are not as polite as I would expect, especially considering all the different politeness levels in the Korean language. Hopefully this push by Angel-in-us fosters true, not artificial, politeness in customers and people.
If only coffee were about the taste…
But no, dear readers, it’s also a lifestyle, a profession, an art, a passion, and for many others, it’s a business. In ultra-competitive, hyper-capitalistic South Korea, it’s a huge business, as the coffee boom has gone on for over a decade. And there have been whispers of a plateau to this boom… a slowdown, a changing of tastes. Talk like this strikes fear in any profit-driven capitalistic coffee-chaebol wannabe. (South) Korea is a small country of 50 million people! (Actually, that’s quite a lot of people, especially for its small territory, but next to neighboring China’s 1.4 billion….. well). The big coffee chains, of which I’ve gently poked from time to time in my reviews, they have investors, or they are investors, so they are constantly looking for the next source of income, be it a from a new coffee product, new desserts to go with it, or the new development being constructed outside Seoul. But sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes these investors see bigger ₩ signs. And with a lot of zeroes, mind you, as you need 1000 South Korean Won to equal 1 US Dollar. So where to look to get a googol ₩? Well, it’s a big world we live in. It’s time to become an international coffee-chaebol conglomerate!