Roasting coffee beans from start to finish in Ochang, South Korea.

I know I’ve mentioned the new coffee shop in town. But, have I mentioned anything about my obsession with it? It’s the perfect place to wait for a bus to Seoul. Since I missed my bus this afternoon, I had an extra hour to enjoy its inviting, antique décor.

Kim Sang Yoon is the bubbly, charismatic owner. My friends and I love his “wild tufts of hair”.

A Korean man roasting coffee beans in a cafe in Ochang, South Korea.
Sang Yoon roasting coffee beans at his cafe in Ochang.
I caught a glimpse of the roasting process as he made one of his specialty lattes. This time he created a foamy “girlfriend” for me. Not a fluffy teddy bear like last time.

As I sipped on my girlfriend, we chatted about life. I learned he designed three similar cafés in Seoul. And go figure he studied coffee in Milan, Italy. What better place? No wonder he’s so good at making foam designs!

Sang Yoon and his wife met at one of his coffee shops in Seoul last year. I can tell he adores her, just by how giddy he got when sharing about the first time she came in for some java.

A girl made out of foam on top of a latte in South Korea.
The "girlfriend" Sang Yoon created for me. March, 2012.
We also talked about photography. I saw some of his pictures. He gave me free cake, and then drew me a detailed map of areas to photograph around Seoul.

I lost track of time, but thankfully checked my phone with just minutes to spare before the next bus departed. I quickly gathered my belongings, and headed for the door.

It felt awkward, but I assumed it was because I had to leave in such a hurry. He didn’t say anything until I was practically out the door.

"5,000 (KRW), please."

I hadn’t paid for my latte. How embarrassing!

I fumbled for the money, feeling my face blush. After how wonderfully he treated me, it must have seemed like I was trying to get away without tossing him a few bucks.

I’m sure he knows I didn’t mean to (almost) leave without paying. I’ll be sure to make up for it next time. I can hardly wait to see what he designs for me next.


JOIN CHASE: Latte Art in South Korea
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