On Thursday about 11:00 a.m. in Cheongdam-dong, Seoul, a group of caffeine addicts sipped on their coffee from little white cups. The location had another significant distinction from the numerous coffee shops that can be found on Seoul’s streets, aside from the smaller serving sizes. About half of the tables were standing tables without seats, thus many of the patrons indulged in their coffee while standing.
Over 70 espresso bars have opened in Seoul alone in the last three years, despite the fact that a few had been there for a while.
Espresso bars are becoming popular hangouts for coffee enthusiasts not just in the capital region but also in Jeju and Busan.
“This expresso coffee’s smooth and robust flavour is what gets me going in the morning. Being surrounded by the potent aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans is pleasant, according to Yang So-ri, a 31-year-old office worker in Apgujeong-dong.
Espresso, which means “quick” or “express” in English, is a highly concentrated, bittersweet coffee that is produced when hot water is blasted through finely crushed coffee beans. It is thought to have originated in Milan, Italy, somewhere between the late 1800s and the early 1900s.
Italians have it fast, as the term implies. People in this country have a distinctive coffee culture where they enter a pub that offers alcoholic beverages in the evening, swallow a cup of espresso at the counter, and leave. This might only take a few minutes.
Since Koreans are accustomed to the flavour of an Americano, which is a shot of espresso with hot water poured on top, the popularity of Neapolitan-style espresso cafes in Korea is shifting as a result.
Along with the espresso’s potent aroma and flavour, many coffee drinkers seeking an Instagram-worthy experience are drawn to the inside of nearby espresso cafes that have wooden window frames and chairs, lush lawns, and outside tables.
Most establishments provide a variety of toppings for their expresso drinks, including cocoa powder, cinnamon, and whipped cream, for espresso beginners.
The hashtag #espressocupstacking in Korean can be used to quickly find a variety of images and brief videos on Instagram that show a stack of tiny espresso cups.
According to Jeong Hyun-joo, a senior official of local coffee industry consultancy First coffee Lab, “Espresso bars not only give a fresh taste experience but also make up for enduring outside travel restrictions.”
Another major draw is the espresso coffee’s reasonably low pricing, which ranges from 2,000 to 3,000 won ($1.59 to $2.40) each cup, especially when you consider how much a 12-ounce Americano at chain coffee shops like A Twosome Place and Starbucks costs, which is more than 4,000 won.
Some have claimed that the hurried culture of Italian-style coffee and Korea’s “Ppalli Ppalli” (hurry, hurry) culture are a natural match.
Customers typically spend less than an hour at espresso bars, which typically don’t have many tables to sit at, because espresso drinks are generally provided rapidly. As a result, even if the bar is busy at lunch, customers rarely have to wait long to place orders or receive their beverages, which is crucial for Koreans who are prone to irritability, according to Song, who owns an espresso bar in Mangwon-dong.
Large food and retail conglomerates are benefiting from the espresso boom.
With the addition of tiny disposable paper cups for espresso extracts, GS25 installed espresso equipment at more than 13,000 of its convenience stores nationwide in late March.
In the meantime, in September of last year, Yangjae-dong, Seoul’s Cafe Pascucci, the street cafe brand operated by renowned food giant SPC Group, opened an espresso bar.