Would You Like a Cup of Coffee?
커피 한잔 할까요?
KakaoTV (2021) 12 Episodes
Slice Of Life Web Drama, Grade: A+
Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA

Sometimes after a long day of work or school the LAST thing you want to watch at night to unwind is another long depressing television melodrama, with characters abusing or cheating on one another; rather you want to enjoy something simple, inspiring, poetic, with characters you fall deeply in love with as you watch them find happiness in their lives, happiness that is achieved without them hurting a single soul. In this whimsical, addictive web drama, Would You Like a Cup of Coffee? (2021), based on a web comic by the prolific Hu Young Man, you will experience the latter type of special, unforgettable story: the characters are good, sweet, realistic people, the kind you could meet in your own daily life and want to become closer to. How refreshing! All twelve episodes are only about 25 to 30 minutes each in duration, so you could conceivably finish this drama in one day -- like I did! :)

In some ways this drama caused me to experience the same type of warm feelings I enjoyed when I watched 2015's Late Night Restaurant, a proverbial top favorite of mine, except the restaurant in that story featured a full range of foods, whereas this cafe focused primarily on coffees created from beans imported from around the world. If you love coffee you will probably enjoy the education you will receive here about all the different types of beans available on the worldwide market, what they taste like, and how to best prepare them. I learned a lot!

The main cast is headed up by two charming thespians, young handsome Ong Seong Wu, who recently won an acting award for the 2022 film Life Is Beautiful (no relation to the earlier Italian movie), and middle aged Park Ho San, whom most K-drama lovers will remember from My Mister and Mother Korean dramas. Park Ho San's romantic lady friend in the drama is played delightfully well by Seo Young Hee, whom I had admired so much in Mermaid Story and my top favorite Korean film The Classic. Her adorable facial expressions often put the cutest exclamation points at the end of scenes, and I found myself smiling every time she emoted in her own unique style.

Then it was nice to see several familiar veteran actors and actresses pop up in cameo roles, my two favorites in the series Kim Mi Kyung (Master's Sun and lots of other roles over several decades), and Jung Suk Yong (unforgettable as the cellist in Beethoven Virus). They always add powerful sparks to any drama they are in! 

The Story:

Gentlemanly Park Seok (Park Ho San) is the owner and barista of a small, out of the way city coffee shop named 2nd Generation Coffee House (2Dae), with a devoted returning clientele. His shop isn't particularly large or fancy, but the coffee is outstanding because he puts his whole heart and soul into his work. Often he doesn't lock up his shop until the late evening hours. Those long hours are starting to take a toll on him but he refuses to acknowledge it, even to his romantic lady friend Kim Joo Hee (Seo Young Hee), a magazine writer and divorcee / single mother of a teenage girl named Mina (Kim Ye Eun).

Video Clip: Go Bi Experiences The "God Shot"

One auspicious day a recent college graduate named Kang Go Bi (Ong Seong Wu) visits the cafe to order a cup of coffee. He is rather upset because he isn't doing very well in preparation for taking the civil service exam so he can obtain a decent office job. "Maybe a nice coffee might cheer me up?" he wonders. Park Seok serves Go Bi one of his best coffees and Go Bi is awed by its flavor. He used to work part time in a coffee shop to help pay for his college tuition, so he knows an outstanding cup of coffee when he tastes it. He decides in that moment that he will give up studying for the civil service exam and beg Park Seok to hire him as a barista in training.

At first Park Seok smiles and says no, but after some impressive maneuverings by Go Bi to bring more customers to the shop, and some gentle convincing from his lady friend Joo Hee, he changes his mind. Maybe it would be nice, after all, to have someone help him in the shop so he can get some rest once in awhile. Go Bi is hired and, after some failed attempts at making robust flavored coffees, he finally pleases Park Seok with his efforts. Having a young handsome barista in your establishment brings in more young lady customers too, so Park Seok's financial bottom line improves, as well as his personal stamina.

Park Seok sincerely begins to enjoy being Go Bi's mentor; they soon seem like a bonded father and son duo, rather than just regular boss and employee. Since we never see Go Bi's parents obviously his close bond with Park Seok is fulfilling a special parental need in his life.

Go Bi does have some learning to do about developing a total servant's attitude toward work, especially in regards to getting along with certain difficult customers who have issues: the self-absorbed entrepreneur (Lee Kyu Hyung) who usurps and monopolizes the same table day in and day out and only buys two cups of coffee in all that time; the depressed rock musician (Cho Jung Chi) who claims he dislikes their coffee but who keeps coming back for more; a mean-looking restaurant critic (Song Jae Ryong) who never smiles and who threatens to give their cafe a bad review; the plain, self-effacing construction guy (Jong Suk Yong) and his two homely buddies who never seem to stick up for themselves around the other more polished customers; the ex-husband (Han Jee Ho) of Park Seok's lady love Joo Hee, who showed up to try and force her to sell her house so he could start a new business with his half of the money (I admit I clapped when Go Bi drenched him in water! LOL!); and some of the teen girls who rather obsess over him but who rarely buy coffee. To Go Bi's credit some of the older customers are always treated respectfully by him right from the beginning, like a visiting mother (Kim Mi Kyung) who is finding it hard to tell her grown daughter (Kim Ju Ah) that she has breast cancer; a granny who owns a neighboring restaurant named Ms. Hwang (Lee Joo Sil); or an old lady (Byun Jung Hee) who ends up coming through for the cafe and Park Seok when her adult son wants to cancel their lease.

In time Go Bi does so well for himself that another coffee house business owner (Kim Yool Ho) with a more sophisticated set-up offers him a job as a barista with better pay. Will Go Bi desert Park Seok to better himself financially? If he decides to be loyal will Park Seok rather nobly fire him so he can learn extra skills at the more impressive coffee business? What will happen to Park Seok's business when COVID rears its ugly head? Will he be forced to close after all?  

I know I will definitely be returning to Would You Like a Cup of Coffee? in future because it was just so wonderful and upbeat! I laughed at one web reviewer who wrote that the series was like an "anti-depressant" to her. Though that was funny, I agreed! The perky, hip-hop, slightly jazzy instrumental OST was a definite draw to enjoy the series more than once. All the wonderful music perfectly captured the lives of these adorable characters; a great OST always adds a lot to my overall estimation of a K-drama's worth, hence the A+ grade for this lovely web drama. Definitely put it on your Korean Drama Queue. Enjoy!


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Someone Else I Love Loves Coffee! :)