The Café Revolution in Korea
July 28, 2011
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When first I came to Korea to study for a year back in 1995, you could walk a mile to find a cup of coffee in Seoul. In the morning, there simply were no places to go out and get coffee and no habit of meeting with individuals for coffee to talk, or simply to read a book.
If one drank coffee, even five years ago, the standard was to rip off the end of a round packet about seven centimeters in length and one centimeter in width. Inside was a delightful coffee mix, famous for its use of transgenetic fats. Then there were the dabang 다방, but those old coffee shops were the domain of men from a previous generation and not particularly welcoming to us.
But now coffee shops are springing up everywhere and just about every coffee shop offers café latte and cappuccino—although the quality may vary. In some cases, there seems to be no economic logic to the number of cafes springing up. The pastries also have improved by leaps and bounds, now rivaling what is found in other major metropolitan centers around the world. What we can say is that the coffee shops often do not open until 8:30 or 9:00, so do not go too early. This particular coffee shop took my fancy. Here we see the long-predicted “death of ideology” when the very concept of ideology becomes a consumer good, proper for a fashionable place to consume espressos .