Be Your Own Barista: Popular Korean Cafe Chains and Drinks to DIY!

By Tran Trieu

South Korea has many cafe chains, and many have even expanded overseas as a result of their massive success. What makes them so popular isn't only their interior styles, but also their unique drinks. They look so delicious and mouthwatering, but you don't have to break the bank to visit South Korea just to try these — many you can easily make at home! Whether beverages are hot or freezing cold, sweet or bitter, these cafés offer everything that your heart could desire!

  • A Twosome Place

To many, this name might sound a little odd, but it has a cute meaning: "A cup of coffee, two of us, some dessert, place." A Twosome Place was founded in 2002, inspired by European cafés and their pastries and beverages. Aside from even branching out to China, they have introduced a new store called Roastery Cafe. There, you can experience the usual café experience, and also see how coffee beans are roasted and how cold brew is prepared. You are even able to choose which beans you want to be used for your coffee, enabling the company to cater to their customers' personal tastes. Their goal is to not only offer delicious desserts and coffee, but also to encourage the customer to take their time to enjoy their coffee.

One of the most popular drinks in winter is the White Cream Tiramisu Latte. If you're a sucker for tiramisu, then this is the perfect drink for you! As fancy as it sounds, it's actually not as difficult to make as you'd think. The main ingredients are mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, milk, coffee or espresso and rum (but this is optional). It tastes the best when you combine it with biscuits such as ladyfingers.

Craving something sweet and creamy but also different? The Sweet Potato Latte has your back! Sweet Potato Latte is very popular in South Korea, a definite staple for the cold seasons. With sweet potatoes, there is a vast variety — just pick whichever one tastes the best in your opinion! Milk, roasted sweet potato, and a little bit of sugar are added and warmed up, then topped with some milk froth (or whipped cream, if that's what you love!).

  • Angel-In-Us Coffee

Angel-In-Us Coffee was established in 2006 and has gained so much popularity that the brand has even expanded to China, Indonesia, and Vietnam. But why is it called Angel-In-Us? The name implies that coffee is God's gift, delivered by angels. This coffeehouse chain is especially popular amongst students as the stores are usually very spacious and represent a perfect place to hang out and study.

Need a refreshing summer drink? Mojito Ade is here to save the day! It's a great non-alcoholic and sparkling alternative to the actual cocktail and perfect for a summer party. Main ingredients include peppermint tea, lemons and limes, and sparkling water. This recipe calls for lime zest to be added, though we'd be careful with the white part of the lemon as it makes the drink bitter (unless that is your preference).

Want a warm winter drink? We've got you covered! Angel-In-Us' Eggnog Latte is the perfect beverage to warm you up. There are only a few ingredients that you should keep at hand: coffee, brown sugar, eggnog, and whipped cream. The drink is simply made by combining coffee of your choice (espresso works as well) and warm eggnog. Then, it is topped with whipped cream (however much you want, but don't go overboard!).

  • Tom N Toms Coffee

Tom N Toms Coffee originally started out with solely selling pretzels and baked goods back in 2001. Soon after, they changed towards a café concept and can now be found all around the globe. Their stores are across multiple countries in Asia. Some have even been opened in the U.S. While their specialty still remains as pretzels, they also offer a variety of comforting and delicious drinks.

Yeah, I know, I know. The everlasting "should chocolate and mint even be combined?" debate. But honestly — and I'm outing myself here — I love mint chocolate! And I'm sure many others do as well. So for you guys, here's this great invention: Mint Mocha. Mint Mocha is made with milk, coffee, cocoa powder, and mint extract or peppermint syrup; though you could substitute cocoa powder for dark chocolate for extra creaminess!

Cinnamon Choco will be your go-to for when you're in need of comfort in the form of a chocolatey drink. Main ingredients for this drink are only milk, cinnamon, some vanilla, and cocoa powder. However, if you love a really creamy and rich hot chocolate, we suggest using actual chocolate. Depending on your personal preferences, you could use white chocolate, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate for this one.

  • Paris Baguette

As the name suggests, this bakery café chain sells French-inspired pastries and cakes as well as yummy drinks to accompany them. This chain has been around for a very long time (since 1988!) and has now over 3,000 stores in South Korea and multiple other countries such as China, Singapore, France, and the U.S. Though they're famous for their foods, let's not forget their excellent drinks!

Almond Velvet Iced Tea is a summer favorite, and although you might think that iced tea is nothing new or unique, this one is! What makes it so special is the cream on top of the iced tea: it has a sweet almond flavor to it (and between us, it reminds me of the butterbeer from Harry Potter).

The recipe is ridiculously easy with just a handful of ingredients: iced tea, heavy whipped cream, and almond extract. However, one thing you should keep in mind is that you shouldn't mix the whipped cream and iced tea together; just pile the cream on top of your iced tea and sip!

Strawberry Matcha Latte combines two of the best things: strawberries and matcha! This one is also super easy to make; the main ingredients are strawberries, milk, and matcha (who would have thought). For those who are lactose intolerant, vegan or vegetarian; milk can also be substituted with coconut milk! If you prefer this one to be a hot drink, we suggest swapping the fresh strawberries for strawberry syrup instead.

  • Caffe Bene

Caffe Bene is a coffeehouse chain that focuses on coffee and draws interior inspiration from European open-air cafes. This is a result of CEO Kim Sun Kwon's excitement over coffee shops that he had visited while traveling Canada. Seeing them inspired him to create a brand of his own, one that could compete with these cafes.

Aside from the cafes, Caffe Bene also operates "the largest coffee bean roasting plant in Korea." What is unique to this brand is that they follow their own farm-to-table system. They acquire their coffee beans directly from a farmer, roast them at their own facilities, and the finished products are then distributed to their stores.

Misugaru Latte (미수가루) is a Korean multi-grain drink that consists of Misugaru, milk, and honey. Misugaru is a roasted multi-grain powder that is made from many grains such as glutinous rice, barley or corn. You can usually get this powder at Asian supermarkets. What makes this drink so great is that it gives you a much-needed energy boost throughout the day and can be enjoyed warm or cold!

What do you think of these drinks? Will you be trying them at home? Let us know!

Written by Tran Trieu

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