Friday, July 12, 2013

Korea #8 Korea, Koffee Kountry?

Korea should be a tea country, right?  And, to be sure, there are tea houses and a huge variety of tea in cans and bottles here. But this place seems more like Seattle East, so splendidly plentiful is its coffee culture.  And it’s not mom and pop, Flying M; it’s big, franchised business.

Seoul has 19,000 franchised coffee houses, plus another 2,000 that are independently owned.  Step through the Old Gate from Chonbuck University into Jeonju city and coffee houses seem to be wall-to-wall. 
                                One-eighth of the cold beverage cooler..

At the cold beverage store of a tiny convenience store on campus the beverages are much smaller than in the U. S. but with five or ten times the variety.  I count 10 companies selling coffee cold, each with a span from dark roast to latte light.  One is Maxwell but the rest are new to me, including Angel-in-You coffee.  They come in 100 to 300 ml and sell for 70 cents up to $1.20.  That makes about 50 choices. Another set of cases offer similar coffees hot, from heated cases.   

The hot coffee cases in a small store...
Then there are several varieties of ginsing, barley and or other flavors of cider; milk combined with peach, strawberry, leech, pear, pineapple; whole soybean drinks; drinks made from aloe, lime and corn; drinks for fiber; a dozen energy drinks; a wide variety of small, potent medicine-like Korean drinks; Schweps fizzy fruits; and a wide variety of fruit drinks from Dole, Minute Maid and others. 

That’s not profound information, I know, but I find it interesting that the consumer culture is more varied and competitive in this small country than our large one.  

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