7 Things You Can Do In A Coffee Shop in Korea
Korea is renowned for being the kingdom of cafes, particularly the streets of Seoul that are lined literally back to back with cafes in some areas. Cafe’s have become one of the most versatile ways to pass time in Korea with many catering to different needs and offering different concepts. In every cafe you’ll find different decor, different drinks and different people, be it groups of friends passing the time chatting, company colleagues on a lunch break, couples on dates or students busy studying. However, cafes in Korea are not just limited to sitting down with a coffee. Let’s look at how you can pass your free time in a cafe in Korea.
1) Take a nap.
A huge number of cafes in Korea are open 24/7, especially at the weekend. If you suddenly crash and want to go home on a night out but don’t want to fork out for the taxi, a coffee shop is a great place to crash. The same goes for occasions waiting for the first subway train; a few hours can be passed easily and comfortably in one of these coffee shops. This isn’t uncommon behaviour. You’ll see many other people doing the same thing and waiting for daylight.
2) Play with cute animals.
Dog and cat cafes are old news, (they even exist outside of Asia now in parts of Europe) but this doesn’t mean they aren’t fun to visit anymore! There’s even the popular raccoon cafe in Hongdae now, too. As long as the animals appear to be treated lovingly and with care and attention, these cafes can be a fun trip out and it’s a well known fact that petting a cute creature is a great stress release too.
3) Get cosy.
Some cafes offer a more romantic setting, with dimmed lights and relaxing jazzy tunes… Spending a few hours cuddling up to your other half in one of these spots makes for a lovely date. Other cafes have sections with cushions, blankets and low tables so that you can enjoy your drink in a somewhat slumber party-setting. Take off your shoes and get comfortable on the floor.
4) Lose yourself in some fiction.
Not only do some cafes have expensive arty books on sale, some books are even available to buy and may come with a discount or a free coffee if you’re lucky! Many cafes have books on display just for decoration, but book cafes are common and tend to at least let you browse the books, if not buy them. Manhwa cafes are also still thriving today; you can spend hours nestled up flicking through Korean language comics, but you might be able to find Japanese or English language comics in some cafes.
5) Hit the books.
In almost every cafe in Korea you will see more than one student studying. If its finals period, it is not uncommon to find the whole cafe rammed with students slogging away diligently at their studies. There are some cafes, however, that are geared specifically towards providing convenient study spots for students. Some of these will partition tables to provide a more private space to study, or have a section walled off with glass to create a study-only zone, usually for quiet study. There are a number of cafes specifically for group study, offering large tables, private rooms, and even whiteboards for students to use together. This kind of cafe is the perfect setting to meet for a group project. If the library is crammed or you prefer a little background noise when you’re studying, head to a cafe and get those grades.
6) Get creative.
From pottery making to cupcake decorating, and traditional crafts to getting your face on a latte, art-themed cafes will surely not disappoint those with (or without!) a creative streak. You get to keep what you make and take it home with you, unless of course you’re getting a photo printed on your coffee, in which case you had better drink it before it gets cold! Many of these cafes pop up in areas like Hongdae, known for being a place that nutures art and culture, or Samcheongdong, home to too many art galleries to count.
7) Enjoy a beverage!
Isn’t that the reason we head into cafes in the first place? Sure, but it does feel like cafes in Korea really push the boat out with their menu options. Flavours, whips, toppings, you name it. With extensive menus that make the coffee options look boring, everyone will find something to quench their thirst. You may be able to find seasonal drinks, particularly in winter, and each cafe’s menu will be slightly different. In the winter get yourself a steaming hot toffee latte, and in summer cool down with a refreshing iced option. Strawberries are currently in season so you’ll see an increase in the number of strawberry flavoured drinks in cafes all over the country! Get them while you can!
Maybe you’ve found your favourite cafe here already, or heard about one you’d like to visit. I’m yet to be disappointed by a single cafe in Korea, so get exploring!