besides consistently letting me invite myself over for delicious dinner, my friends james and amy have begun to provide a valuable service to my coffee education endeavors now that i’ve moved to brooklyn: they let me come over to their house to watch the first shop of coffee prince, in current rotation as part of amy’s korean soap opera habit.
while it’s true that the final episode of this 17-episode series ran in august, there’s no reason all coffee fanatics shouldn’t set aside some laptop time and rent a video projector to watch this baffling show about an underachieving young man and the cross-dressing female-to-male barista that works for him. as they progress in opening up the coffee prince cafe, a love quadrangle — involving a glamorous artist, a bad musician, and a dog named sweeper, as well as the cafe staff — emerges and is ripe to explode. all this and latte art too? you bet!
in between the themes of love and duty it’s kind of amazing to watch the korean pop-soap take on specialty coffee. in one episode, for instance, there is a terrible mishap when someone orders 20kg of green coffee beans instead of 2kg. oh no! also, the roaster, hong, is a grouchy sonofabich — usually seen in a colonel sanders bow tie. and when the sexy waffle-making champion comes on the scene, look out!
of course, just like in real life, the coffee world here is infused with sexual suggestion: heroine go eun chan instructs her renegade boss, gong yoo, on how to saturate the grounds in the pourover properly.
“you’re doing it wrong using your wrist” she reprimands suggestively. “it’s all in the shoulder”
they finally get the cafe open to great success in this same episode, but the next day when the coffee is no longer free, nobody comes, so they all have to go play basketball.
the next episode i saw featured a flirtatious scene involving gong yoo trying to get eun chan to identify a particular coffee bean by having her smell it within his fist. later she tells another man, “i think that the world of coffee is infinite.” then he suggests they go to his apartment for a cup of that infinite promise. amazing.
also, the characters also eat a LOT of popsicles.