Wake up and smell the coffee, Korea!

To me, coffee is more than a tasty beverage, it’s a ritual.  When I lived in Madrid, I went without a good cup of a coffee for months.  I could get an espresso, cafe con leche, or even an americano (espresso with water), but no drip coffee.  I traveled all around the continent and results were the same.

So when I heard Korea was coffee-obsessed, I had high hopes.  It definitely lives up to the reputation – there are coffee shops on nearly every corner, and the Starbucks logo might as well be Louis Vuitton the way it’s displayed by men and women alike.  What’s the problem, then?

Koreans claim they love coffee, but they don’t.  They love instant coffee.  If you go into a coffee shop, you can get all sorts of fancy drinks: lattes, mochas, cappucinos, you name it.  When I saw drip coffee (드립 커피) on the menu at Angel-in-us, I was shocked.  Andy tried to order it one morning and they said, “Sorry, it takes too long.” Considering my kiwi smoothie (delicious, by the way) took ~35 minutes I don’t even want to know how long a cup of coffee would have taken.

Our school has an espresso machine, which I am definitely using, but sometimes I don’t want the bold flavor of espresso.  I just want to be able to make coffee at home.

Let me explain our coffee saga so far:
– No coffee maker, so we bought some instant coffee.  To be honest, it wasn’t bad, but it’s definitely weak and not full-bodied.
– Beth and Jess gave us a coffee maker! When we went shopping together, Beth recommended a brand of coffee (Tesco).  We loved it, but it was small and we quickly ran out.
– We went shopping again… coffee is really expensive, so we decided to try HomePlus brand.  After about 20 minutes trying to figure out what coffee was regular and what was instant, we feel confident in our decision.  And it was 1/4 the price!
– The next morning, we make some coffee.  It smells… burnt.  It tastes… horrendous.  I check the filter basket and the coffee grounds appeared to have turned into some shiny, tarry sludge.
– I google extensively and even ask around in a snobby coffee forum.  We try some solutions.  The coffee is worse.
– Two days later we cave and buy another Korean brand, Tasters Choice.  We spend a long time looking at packages, since they’re all in Korean.  We pick one.  Feeling good.
– Next morning… smells good! Tastes… okay.  I check the filter basket.  Sludge!! We decide we actually bought instant.
– Fast forward to this morning… we just make the coffee as instant, and it tastes marginally better.  I decide we will just buy the expensive normal coffee at 4x the price from now on.

When we go to Costco in the near future, I am hoping they’ll have a massive bag of normal coffee… I don’t even care how much it costs.  This is getting ridiculous.  C’mon Korea!

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