Korean cafes go upscale

Coffee chains in Korea are scaling up to meet increasingly demanding consumers.

Setting the trend is Starbucks which recently launched a gourmet brand called Starbucks Reserve, selling coffees at 3000 won ($2.80), higher than at a regular Starbucks.

The coffee giant has opened five Starbucks Reserves in the country, joining the 800 other outlets worldwide.

Also embracing the trend is local cafe Tom n Toms which launched an upscale cafe called The Calypso in southern Seoul.

Starbucks Reserve global brand manager Chris Gimbl is confident the premium brand will build a strong customer base in Korea like other nations such as the US and Japan, where high-end consumers want their coffees to be brewed slowly and with great care.


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