Coffee | korea

People here love to get coffee before or after a meal, but did you know that according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control, Koreans consume coffee more than they eat kimchi or rice? Crazy right?? Some people even purposely spend less on food so that they have more to buy coffee.

You’ll be able to find coffee wherever you are in Korea because there is always some kind of cafe on every block, whether it’s a chain or a local business. I thought it was extreme when I noticed that on vacation here three years ago, but there are even more now. I am an avid lover of coffee (especially drip), but the number of shops everywhere still surprises me despite the fact I’ve been here for two months now.

If you want coffee in Korea, be prepared for the prices because coffee is expensive here.

Left: Americano Right: Capuccino

Americano x Cappuccino

The go-to drink for most coffee drinkers in Korea is the americano, which is made up of espresso and hot water. A basic americano usually costs 4,800won, which is about $4.50 (I say ‘basic’ because I’ve seen places offer French americanos but idk what that means). And believe it or not, some places even charge up to ~$10!

It is possible to find cafes that sell this simple cup of joe for just a dollar or two, but it’s not easy and it’ll most likely be of low quality. Other drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos, cost more and it’s a dollar more if you want your drink to be iced.

It shocked me when I realized that soju is about 3,000w and a pack of cigarettes is 4,500w – both less than a cup of coffee!! Personally, I disapprove of this because I feel like the low costs of soju and cigs encourage the country to indulge in such behaviors more. Beer is more expensive than an americano, so shouldn’t at least soju or cigarettes be too? Buuut on the other hand, there are many people here who work hard but earn barely enough money to get by, so being able to relieve stress through drinking or smoking without damaging their wallet too much could also be somewhat of a good thing because everyone needs a break every now and then(?)

What do you think about this? Leave a comment below!

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