I apologize for the weird posting times for these blogs, as right now there is a 14 hour time difference between Saratoga and Seoul. How are you all? I'm sure if you've been in and out of the shop you've heard me chatting endlessly about my upcoming semester in Seoul, South Korea. Well, after many hours of traveling, I am here at Ami Guesthouse in Shinchon! I won't go into detail about how grueling of a trip it was getting here, but I do already have two coffee experiences to share with you guys!
The first one might seem like a bit of a cop-out, but it was the first place I saw in the Incheon Terminal, and I was ravenously hungry. I went to Dunkin Donuts. Let me just say that in this one instance, the donuts that I bought were far and above American DD as far as texture and tastiness. Fluffy, a little flaky, sugary..yum yum yum. They also had a Winnie the Pooh theme going on and were selling donut types inspired by characters such as Tigger, Piglet, and Pooh himself.As far as the coffee went, I just ordered a plain latte. It only came in one size and it was tasty and satisfied my caffeine needs. All in all, two donuts and a latte were about 6,600KRW (about 6.50) which may be expensive but I am still at the point where I just got here and don't know what's considered expensive or not.
After finding my guest house and taking a long nap, I decided to go out and walk around Shinchon and find something to eat. Eating alone is considered somewhat sad and pathetic here, so let's just say I found a lot of prospective places to go with friends. This area looks lively and is full of shops, restaurants, bars, and noraebang (karaoke rooms)
There are a couple of chain cafés here that we don't have in the States. Since I was walking around and internally panicking about what to eat, I stopped at a café called TomNToms. I ordered a small Hazelnut latte. I think Korean coffees and desserts have a tendency to be extremely sweet. This latte was sweeter than any latte I've had at Starbucks, and while it was very tasty, I had trouble finding any actual coffee taste. Definitely good if you want something sweet to sip on! They had a variety of other drinks I have yet to sample, but this Tom&Toms struck me as quite expensive. A small Hazelnut latte was about 4,400KRW (about 4.25-30) I was in quite a busy shopping district (a district that has many stores I'm DYING TO GO TO once I'm settled in at the dorm.) Another thing that was interesting was that the buzzer they give you for your drink has a TV Screen in it! I wish I had taken a picture, but it plays all sorts of ads while you're waiting. The décor was extremely simple and clean, with most of the signs written in English. I noticed a lot of couples there as well.
So far everyone here has been so kind to me! They are patient with my Korean and don't insist upon speaking English with me because they don't think I will understand. It's going to take awhile to adjust here I think, but I'm really excited to share everything with you all!
It's your humble barista/coffee shop blogger here to update you on some fun things that have happened at the coffee shop!
You may have noticed that our walls were looking a little barren and art-less during the month of January, but this month we have some new art by two people who are very special to me (so of course I'm going to do a lot of bragging about them!) Rebecca Zeh, my cousin and best friend since babyhood, has filled our front room with paintings and photographs featuring familiar Saratoga locales, Paris street scenes, and other places from her own memories and experience! Rebecca has a great appreciation for simplistic scenes and a thorough understanding of how to evoke feeling through color.
Do I sound like an art aficionado or what?
Brent Pickerd (who, in fact, designed the awesome logo we now have featured on our travel mugs, ceramic mugs and tee-shirts) is a graphic artist who, in this blog author's humble opinion, has a style that contrasts Rebecca's greatly. His pieces are full of dynamic explosions of color that seem to place the viewer in a cosmic environment. While Rebecca's art evokes in me a sense of pleasant, quiet contemplation and appreciation, I feel from Brent's art a sense of excitement and movement. I am so happy to feature two different styles of artwork in the same month!
I am, of course, describing the art from my own subjective point of view. Here are just some of the pieces we have hanging up. Come in to the store and see the rest for yourself!
Another fun occurrence–we were on the news! Did you catch us on TWC last Monday?
If not, you can watch the video here! Matt Hunter and his news team ventured out (bravely) into the snow to see exactly what people do to survive awful winter weather around here. We are so grateful that they chose to come in and film our store, and will probably brag about it and our barista Brenna's adorable interview for some time.
Anyway, I just wanted to give you guys a quick update! As for myself, my time stateside is rapidly winding down. If you remember from my first blog post, I shared that I would be leaving to study abroad in South Korea. I probably have time for one more blog post before I leave and begin blogging about my coffee experiences there. What would you guys like to read about? Share your thoughts with me!