Starting work at 1 or 2pm at an English academy means you have the morning time to kick back, catch up with friends, get a spot of Korean study under your belt or have a good gossip; all over a coffee.
My favourite coffee spot in Korea had to be Angel-in-us Coffee, purely for the nonsensical name and branding common to much of Korea and adherent to baffling Konglish tendencies. I especially loved Samgye's Angel-in-us, because of the big windows where you could watch the Korean world go by. Also, it had a view of my academy; providing a quick skip across the road to work!
Korean coffee shops have it all right, comfortable seating, open spaces, quirky decor and big mugs! It was not unusual to be given 'service' chocolate bars, plus coupons for free coffee and cheap as chips merchandise were also a big draw for me. One of these delightful mugs made it as my Secret Santa gift and within the 10,000won budget.
Barista courses are very popular among young Korean women who dream of having their own coffee shop selling western inspired cakes and confectionery. Many Coffee shops in Masan came and went, and it was clear that although most of the proprietors had great passion for design, taste and all things pretty, there was little room for making money if you gave free brownies to every customer! This sweetness in employee character and atmosphere made Korean coffee shops one of my favourite resting places. You were filled with the charm of Korea and humbled to be treated with such respect and concern for your comfort.
You could sit and devour two or three coffees over a couple of hours and sit alone, with a friend or a host of Korean study and note books in a large window seat, without ever being asked to move on or buy more. As regular customers, you were greeted with adorably enthusiastic English greetings and an offer of assistance with your studies!
Koreans have a love of all foods western; bagels, sandwiches, cheesecake, paninis, ice cream, cookies and doughnuts. Despite this, there is still a vehement passion and a firm refusal to give up their own traditional sweet treats as should be the case. The two streams are found together in most bakers and coffee shops. There is a distinct love of sweetness in this place. I can just taste that blackberry cheese cake. . .