Monday, June 18, 2012

Survival Tip #4: Korean Coffee

This post is mostly because I have an obscene amount of energy due to the aforementioned concoction.

The very first thing you need to understand is that Koreans do NOT drink the standard drip-coffee. Many times if you go into a coffee shop (even Starbucks) and ask for drip coffee they will have to specially brew a pot just for you. Koreans largely prefer Americanos over drip-coffee and, really, who could blame them. The Korean lifestyle is very go-go-go and they don't have time to mess about with a drink that takes longer to brew.
Doubles as a laxative

Secondly, if you are a teacher, your school will NOT always have a pot of coffee on hand. This is probably one of the more shocking things I discovered when I started teaching here. My school in the states ran solely on coffee and leaving an empty pot was probably the greatest sin one could commit. Teachers in America have been known to have absolutely vile coffee breath at all times of the day and to be sucking down the stuff like water. I had a teacher in elementary school who would consume two Big Gulp-sized thermoses of coffee in one day.
For you non-Americans who don't understand just how little self-respect and dignity we have
Rather than a pot of coffee most schools will have these little monsters:
This is Korean instant coffee. It is sugar-ridden, comes with non-dairy creamer already mixed into the tube, and WILL turn your tongue a really unattractive shade of beige. I can tell you that you will have to be totally desperate to have more than one cup of this coffee a day. The taste isn't bad for the first cup, but come the second you start to feel like someone's playing a mean practical joke on you by adding camel spit to your coffee. I always use two sticks per regular mug-sized cup of coffee. These will give you some energy, but it's mostly due to the sugar content, so BEWARE THE CRASH!

Thirdly, coffee is EVERYWHERE! Just like cell-phone stores coffee shops will be next to each other in rows of up to 4 and often one chain will have multiple stores within the same two city blocks. The most popular chains are Cafe Bene, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Angel-in-Us, and Tom n' Toms. Starbucks is here but is nowhere near as omnipresent as these other chains. However, for us snobs, small, independent cafes are also hugely popular here. Most Korean dates, as I've been led to believe, take place at cafes so that's why these places are RIDICULOUSLY ADORABLE and fashionable.
I mean COME ON
And there will be about 15 places like this on one street.
The trick to finding these cafes is to keep your eyes on the sky. Most boutique places will be on the second floor of a building rather than the ground floor and really, isn't that better? Better people watching, less noise, and it feel pretty cool to take a sketchy stairway only to be rewarded with this:
... seriously?!
So if you're looking for an awesome way to end your date, this is probably the best way to go about it. But, one last tip: for the most part STAY AWAY FROM THE DESSERT! Once I have a little less shame I'm going to do a massive dessert-themed post, but I'm still on a bit of a diet which seems like it's never going to end. Seriously, though, Korean desserts LOOK amazing, but the taste is... ugh, I'll get into this later.

Preview: Upcoming Post

So I am currently in the middle of the massive ass-ache that is apartment hunting. I say that "I" am in the middle of it, but really Seung Hyun is being the wonderful, patient Korean speaker that he is and is doing all the leg work for me. Second only to job hunting, apartment hunting is the most evil and rage-inducing task one can undertake. I'm looking for a three bedroom place since I am moving in with my friends C and the Kimchi Queen (Kimchi Queen has an amazing blog on Homosexual life in Seoul that I highly recommend you check out). I'll have a very long post about this once we, like Dante, finish our voyage through the seven rings of Hell and come out the other side of the Earth.

No comments:

Post a Comment