Thursday, December 17, 2009
The History of Coffee in Korea
I have nothing against tea, but sometimes only a cup of coffee will do.
Korea is a coffee society, but how did that happen? Prior to the turn of the 20th century, Korea was basically a tea-based culture.
And after dinner, the Emperor and his father, Emperor Gojong would drink coffee. They were passionate for the drink and other members of nobility would join them as well. And since the king represented the idea of nobility and style, the common people started to drink coffee as well.
The Japanese found about the king’s affection for this drink and there was even a plot to kill the king by poisoning his coffee. Luckily, the plot was uncovered and the King wasn't killed.
One of my favorite places to get a cup is at Coffee 1 cup in Bucheon-dong. This shop is a tribute to coffee shops of old, which were called dabangs. Dabangs were known as places where new couples could meet and talk in secret. This dabang’s interior is a tribute to old: raw concrete walls scrawled with notes and covered in posters; there is also a chandelier made out of rainbow colored plastic straws hanging from the ceiling.
The best that I’ve had in the city. They roast their own beans and, here, you’ll find Brazilian, Guatemalan, Columbian and Tanzanian coffee on the menu. They make a hand drip coffee that is as black as obsidian and warms you like a cashmere sweater. It’s alarmingly good.
One note. Here, it takes about 8 minutes to make your coffee because the barista fresh grinds your beans and then slowly drips in order to coax all of the flavor out of each bean.
I definitely recommend you go to Coffee 1 Cup (커피한잔).
Directions: Go out Anguk Station Exit 3(Subway Line 3) and make the left at corner across from the large Hyundai building. Go down about 3 blocks and you’ll see it on your left.