Thursday, October 10, 2013

Coffee cafe Korean culture

It is an amazing fact that there are possible 1 million coffee shops, cafe, stands, kiosk, club in Korea. My attempt to count them today justifies that number. Just north of Exit 9 across to road OFF the Hongdae area towards Worldcup-ro/Jandari area, I thought of just taking a walk when it wasn't too hot.

Within minutes of walking, there is a CU convenience store. Then up appears a Kona Beans Coffee Shop. http://www.konabeans.co.kr This is swanky upscale looking coffee shop. Beautiful interior and bright lighting, thoughtful arrangements of the wooden chairs and seats.

Walking into the street behind the main facing one, there appears small "sole proprietorship" owned cafes. But they are as immaculate and beautifully decorated as these big chained shops. Nice wooden settings, well arranged seating, illuminated lighting, complimentary wifi. Prices are similar from 2000 Won to 5000 Won. There's no policy of "time's up" or "you shouldn't linger here too long". They love you to be seating there all there even with just one cup of coffee.

Looking at the smaller establishments, it seems some are subtly more quiet, without patrons. My mind thought of finance. Is it possible to survive and make decent profit, what with (likely) high rental cost? Comparing similar setting in Malaysia, or Thailand, a little coffee space would have cost thousands. What with the designer boutique look of even the smallest joint?

Here are some photos (using Xperia L since I didn't bring my camera out today) of the coffee culture in Korea. It is everywhere. Every street corner there is one.

And a rhetorical quiz: how many coffee cups should a cafe sell to break-even per day?

PlayCafe Sketchbook - creative name, art people will love to hangout here

Inside and making use of the triangular space.
No space is wasted. Lighting, chairs, minimalist flooring, and always clear glass.

Small kiosk built on the side of a building.

This cafe has ample of car-park space.
Big glass, bright lights, cosy seating.
Books.

Indoor and outdoor, still bright lights, glass.
There was only 1 customer inside.

The customer was seating at a corner.
Likely engrossed in the free wifi.
Clean furniture. And clean cafe counter. So many things, yet so tidy.

Another outdoor seating coffee cafe. There is surely 1 million coffee cafes in Korea.

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