Monday, August 30, 2010

Attack of the Korean Coffices

Does a Starbucks or a Caffe Bene seem to spring up every time you leave your home? Get used to it: coffee chains will continue to multiply, according to industry sources.

According to the JoongAng Daily, at least. As if to fit the action to the word, a coffeehouse opened to replace the Pujimi restaurant that closed in my building called Damjang Coffee & Honey Bread.

I don't know about you, but the first thing I want in the middle of sweltering heat and hundred-plus percent humidity of Seoul in August is some honey bread (whatever that might be) to go with my coffee. Or vice versa. Still, it is the only coffeehouse in the building, so maybe they're onto something.

Indeed, according to the JoongAng Daily story, coffeehouses are spreading through Seoul like bubonic plague through 1300s London, and even beginning to infect the countryside. More:
Coffeehouses operated by 12 branded chains now exceed 2,000 locations recently [sic], with 500 added since the end of last year. Starbucks opened 27 new locations from January to August to reach a total of 318 locations. Angel-in-Us Coffee follows closely with 311 branches, of which 103 opened in 2009 and 80 more this year. Most chains have goals to add 30 to 50 more locations by the end of 2010, and ambitious newcomer Caffe Bene - which has opened 270 locations since its launch in April 2008 - plans to open 100 more by the end of the year.

Korea coins a word: According to the article, a new word is coming into being to describe the way some customers see their local/favorite coffee shop, "a place to be rather than just a cup of coffee":
Coffee + Office = Coffice

This is something you will never hear me say, except derisively. Not because I have anything against neologisms, Konglish or otherwise, but because I already have this:
Beer + Drinking place = Beer drinking place + More beer = Beer drunking place + More beer = Find new drunking place when they kick us out + More beer = Eating something strange in a pojangmacha + more beer = I don't remember what's next

Who needs a "coffice" when you have one of those?


Max said...

Marginally related: honey bread is actually pretty good. Go there and buy some!

Also, the captcha word for this comment was "arsemorm"

Tuttle said...

How sweet! You always were my arsemorm, you know...

Sam Title said...

Hey Tuttle;

I for one am quite pleased about the emergence (or should I say
"resurgence") of the coffice in Seoul and surrounding areas. In other parts of the world, the coffice phenomenon is really a
resurgence...just with neater technologies thrown into the mix
(laptops, smartphones, wifi, etc.).

It just proves that North Americans
and Europeans don't hold a monopoly on the phenom -- and that's what
it is; a fantastic phenomenon in which, because of these new toys and
tech, almost ANYONE can get up off the couch, get out of the house
and attempt to become anything they want!

If I were there in Seoul right now I'd be trying some of that honey bread with my coffee. In lieu of that, I'm raising my sleeve-insulated paper coffee cup in celebration of Seoul's recognition and welcoming of the coffice and its devoted cofficers.

(Not to ice cold beer would taste great too - especially in a heatwave...but "barffice" just doesn't have the same ring to it.)

Sam Title
Chief Executive Cofficer

Tuttle said...

Welcome, Sam. We don't get too many CEOs in this Patch of Seoul. Yep, Barffice sonds pretty near to unappetizing, I don't think that'un'll catch on.

I like coffee, don't get me wrong, I just question the wisdom of opening a coffeehouse in the middle of the worst heat wave in ten years.

A company called Caffe Bene is rolling out pretty big--there are three brand new stores within fifteen minutes walking distance of my house.

Charles Montgomery said...

In my neighborhood (Gyeongnidan)it is the emergence of the bar...

5 new ones in three months..

I like it!

BTW... I will be at the footie game on Saturday.. yesterday I came over here to find your email address, but I missed it..

Lo and behold, you commented on KTLIT...

I'll probably be heading over with some 10 mag people.. where will you be/what are your pre-game plans?