Are you a coffee lover planning to visit South Korea anytime soon? Or you’re already living in Korea and want to know how to order your daily dose of caffeine like a local. Fear not, because we’ll show you how to order coffee in Korean like a pro!
As you may already know, the coffee culture in Korea is a big deal. From the trendy coffee shops in Seoul to the cozy cafes in the smaller cities, Koreans take their coffee seriously. So, to truly immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee, you must know the basics of ordering coffee in Korean.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything from the key vocabulary and phrases you need to know to the step-by-step process of ordering your favorite coffee drink.
Korean Coffee History
Let’s take a trip back in time to 19th-century Korea, where coffee was the elite drink. Yep, you read that right: coffee was the status symbol of the wealthy and powerful upper classes. But back then, the bitter taste made it more like a shot of alcohol downed in small glasses.
In the 1970s, instant coffee became more affordable and widespread, making it a household staple. But it didn’t stop there. Soon, brewed coffee became all the rage, and themed cafes started popping up everywhere. And guess what? It’s still going strong.
Fast forward to today, and coffee has overtaken South Korea like a storm. Even though tea has been a part of their culture for over a thousand years, coffee is now the most popular drink.
The cherry on top? The first Starbucks in South Korea opened in 1999, and now, with almost 300 branches, there are more Starbucks in Seoul than in any other city in the world! That’s how much Koreans love their coffee.
Understanding Korean Coffee Culture
Korean coffee culture has rapidly grown in popularity over the past few years, with an increasing number of coffee shops popping up in cities across the country. Coffee has become a significant part of Korean daily life and has led to a diverse and dynamic coffee culture.
One of the most striking features of Korean coffee culture is the emphasis on presentation and aesthetics. Coffee shops in Korea are often beautifully decorated with intricate details that make the environment cozy and inviting. Additionally, baristas in Korea take pride in their craft, meticulously preparing each cup of coffee to ensure it’s perfect in taste and appearance.
Moreover, Korean coffee culture is more than just a place to grab a cup of joe. It’s a social activity, a place to meet friends, study, or even date. In fact, the Korean coffee shop culture is so prevalent that it has become a common setting for popular movies and TV shows.
How To Say “Coffee” In Korean
If you’re looking to order one coffee in Korea, you’ll need to know the word for it. Luckily, it’s easy to remember – 커피 (keopi). This English loan word has made its way into the Korean language. It is widely used, especially when ordering hot beverages like a cafe latte.
Just make sure to get the pronunciation right by replacing the double “ff” with “p.” And be careful not to stress the vowel ㅓ(eo) too much. You may accidentally order 코피 (kopi), which means “nose bleed” – not a pleasant surprise!
If you still have trouble pronouncing the vowelsㅓ(eo) and ㅗ (o), head to Ling and learn how to differentiate them today.
Key Vocabulary And More Phrases For Ordering Coffee In Korean
Now that you’ve mastered the word for coffee (커피 keopi), it’s time to expand your vocabulary and take your coffee game to the next level. No more relying on Google Translate or awkwardly pointing at the menu. With these new words and expressions, you can confidently order your favorite coffee in Korean.
Here are some more useful Korean phrases to help you order your favorite caffeinated beverages just as you like them.
Now, let’s proceed to order coffee in Korean!
Step-by-Step Guide To Ordering Coffee In Korean
Ordering coffee in Korea can be intimidating if you’re not fluent in the language. However, with some practice and the right vocabulary, you can easily order coffee in Korean like a local.
Greeting The Barista
In Korea, it’s customary to greet someone before starting a conversation. So, when you approach the counter of a Korean cafe, make sure to greet the barista with a friendly “안녕하세요” (annyeonghaseyo), which means “hello” in Korean. This small gesture goes a long way in making a good impression.
Your barista would likely reply:
- Hello, would you like to order?
- 안녕하세요, 주문하시겠어요?
- Annyeonghaseyo, jumunhasigess-eoyo?
- Welcome. Are you ready to order?
- 어서오세요. 주문하시겠어요?
- Eoseooseyo. Jumunhasigess-eoyo?
Deciding On Your Order
Now that you’ve greeted the barista and had a chance to peruse the menu, it’s time to decide on your order. If you’re unsure what to order or want to try something new, don’t hesitate to ask the barista for recommendations. They may suggest seasonal drinks or special blends that you won’t find on the menu.
Once you decide, you can simply tell the barista what you want. You can say ‘____주세요 (juseyo)’ which means ‘I would like a _____, please.’
- One Americano, please. 아메리카노 주세요 (Amerikano juseyo)
- I would like an espresso, please. 에스프레소 주세요(Eseupeuleso juseyo)
Pro Tip: If you’re worried about ordering in Korean, simply point at what you want and say 이거 주세요 (igeo juseyo). It means ‘this please.’
Customizing Your Order
Now onto the fun part – customizing your order! In Korea, it’s common to customize your coffee by adding flavors or changing the amount of sugar and milk.
But before you start customizing your coffee, you must choose the size. Here are some phrases to help you order the perfect size for your caffeine needs:
|Small||작은 사이즈||Jag-eun Saijeu|
|Medium||중간 사이즈||Jung-gan Saijeu|
|Large||큰 사이즈||Keun Saijeu|
|Extra large||매우 큰 사이즈||Maeu Keun Saijeu|
|To-go cup||테이크아웃 컵||Teikeuawoteu Keop|
Now that you’ve got the perfect size, it’s time to customize your coffee!
Customize with milk: In Korea, you can also choose various milk options to add to your coffee. Here are some phrases to help you customize your milk order:
|Whole milk||풀 크림 우유||Pul keurim uyu|
|Skim milk||스키머 우유||Seukimeo uyu|
|Almond milk||아몬드 우유||Amond uyu|
Add some flavor: Want to add some extra flavor to your coffee? Korean cafes have plenty of options for you to choose from. Here are some phrases to help you order your favorite flavor:
Sweeten it up: If you have a sweet tooth, you can customize your coffee to add sweetness. Here are some phrases to help you order your sweetener of choice:
Make it unique: Want to take your coffee customization to the next level? Here are some phrases to help you create a unique coffee order:
|Add whipped cream||휘핑크림 추가||Hwiping keurim chuga|
|Add a shot of espresso||에스프레소 샷 추가||Eseupeureso syat chuga|
|Add cinnamon||계피 추가||Gyepi chuga|
|Make it extra hot||엑스트라 핫||Ekseuteura hat|
Paying For Your Order
First, let’s talk about the all-important phrase, “얼마예요?” (eolmayeyo), which means “How much is it?” This little phrase will be your new best friend when you order coffee in Korean. Don’t be afraid to use it, even if you’re not sure how to pronounce it perfectly. The barista will appreciate the effort, and you’ll get the information you need to pay for your order.
A typical conversation would go like this:
Barista: The total amount is 5000 won. 총 금액은 5000원 입니다 (Chong geum-ag-eun ocheon-won imnida)
You: I’ll pay with cash. 현금으로 할게요 (Hyeongeum-euro halgeyo)
One Iced Americano, Please!
Congratulations, you’ve mastered ordering coffee in Korean! Now you’re equipped with the language skills to confidently walk into any coffee shop in Korea and order your favorite beverage without any hesitation.
But it’s more than knowing how to order coffee in Korean. Learning the language and cultural customs indicates respecting and appreciating the country and its people. Speaking Korean is a great way to connect with locals and break down cultural barriers while enjoying a delicious cup of joe at the same time.
And let’s be real, what’s better than a delicious cup of coffee and a fun conversation? So order coffee in Korean like a pro, and enjoy the rich flavors of Korean coffee culture!
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