Café Culture Korea: Café Oro, Cheongju
This is the first part of what I hope will be a new feature on this blog – me visiting, photographing and reviewing some cafés, restaurants and other things. The first café that I would like to review is Café Oro, in my hometown of Cheongju. I had been wanting to try out this place since the summer. Last Saturday I finally had the chance to go there and I was not disappointed. Located on a small side road. near the downtown area of Shinae, it is hidden away from the main streets most people see in Cheongju. With only a small sign to locate it by, the café does not seem to be frequented by the foreign community all that much.
On the main window, they have information about the kind of coffee beans that they use. Now, for those that do not know, the café industry in Korea (much like anywhere else) is dominated by big brands who make acceptable coffee. Think Starbucks, but six different kinds of it. I can say that finding a café which takes pride in the coffee it serves is a rare treat for me.
When Marta and I entered the café, we were immediately greeted by the owner, who spoke surprisingly good English for an older Korean. We ordered our drinks with no problems and took the only remaining seat. The whole place was filled with Koreans, young and old, enjoying coffee or food. I went for a drip-coffee Ameriano and Marta ordered a latte. They were promptly brought over to our table and came with a small plate of complimentary biscuits.
Now, as you can see from the above photo, the café also offers some delicious sounding food. Marta and I read through the menu and the most tempting items were the brunch burritos on offer. Unfortunately we did not have time to try these but another customer was eating when we arrived and the food looked amazing. The coffee itself was some of the best I have had since arriving in Korea and I absolutely loved it. It was also surprisingly affordable. I think the two coffees that we had came to under 10,000 won (or about $10). The interior was designed in a way that I can only describe as ‘kitsch’. It added wonderfully to the atmosphere of the café. So, next time you are in the area of Shinae (or just in Cheongju), pay Café Oro a visit*. I can promise you, you won’t regret it.
Thanks for visiting, dear readers
*I will update this post in the next week or so with an address.