Dan Leif at Fresh Cup magazine recently wrote a great piece on the specialty coffee industry in Korea. I’m quoted a couple times and was happy to provide background for the story. Definitely recommend reading if you’re at all interested in the state of the industry in Korea.

While growth in South Korea has been led and shaped by chains, independents have a firm footing as well. The country’s population skews young, and Korean culture dictates living at home until marriage. That means hordes of folks under 30 are looking for third-place locations to relax with friends.

A range of unique cafes has cropped up with a focus on feeding that need, and many aim to differentiate themselves through the environment they create. “The differences in design allow people to pick places that suit their personality,” says Aaron Frey, whose cafe blog FrshGrnd has reviewed dozens of Seoul’s independent shops. ‘There’s lots of innovation around providing different types of environments. … You’re really paying for the space and getting refreshment as a side.”

You can read the entire article online here.

And if you haven’t dug through my reviews of Koran cafes, you might like to check out my Korean Cafe Interior Design mega post with images showcasing the quirky design choices that make Korean coffee culture so interesting, or browse my reviews of the best cafes in Korea.