So, if you’re somewhat into coffee (you’re here, so I’m guessing you are?) then you may have heard of the International Cafe Show. This event is a humungous coffee convention that takes place in Seoul (and a few other countires) every year. With 160, 000 visitors from 80 countries, this is the go-to event of the year for coffee/tea/dessert lovers. It has everything from highly discounted coffee equipment, a plethora of desserts and baked goods, extensive opportunities to purchase coffee/tea-related products/merchandise, and enough coffee and tea vendors to give you the ultimate caffeine-high. Honestly if you drank a sample of every variety of coffee from every stall then you’d probably endure some form of cardiac arrest. There was a lot.
Being a cafe event, the convention was tailored to all kinds of audiences; those that love coffee, those that love tea, those that love juice, those that wish to purchase simple or professional equiptment, those looking for coffee stockists for their business, and even those wishing to start-up some kind of cafe business. The attendees of this event were from all backgrounds and all with different areas of interest. Honestly, even if you hate coffee you could go to this event and get something worthwhile out of it and probably quite enjoy yourself.
If it’s quality coffee you’re into- this is 1000% the right place. Here you can sample and purchase coffee beans from practically every corner of the world. I was really impressed with the sheer amount of diversity that was shown at this event. It’s estimated that there were over 600 exhibits at the convention, run by over 2013 participants, from 80 different countries. If you want to sample coffee from across the globe then the Cafe Show is a great opportunity. There were also a few competitions including the World Latte Art Battle, and various Korea Coffee League contests- the Korea Barista Championship, Korea Team Barista Championship, Master of Cupping, & Master of Brewing. Super interesting stuff to watch.
Honestly my favourite part of attending this event was the moment I entered the hall and got hit in the face by the most incredibly magnificient intoxicating scent of freshly ground coffee. There is no denying how beautiful that fragrance is…how it just engulfs your nostrils and streams into your soul ❤
It would be a complete understatement to say that I sampled a lot of different coffees. They were all incredible (the only one that I truly disliked me was a certain variety of a columbian bean that was so bitter it nearly made me cry. If I had to choose a favourite though (after much deliberation) it would be the washed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe “Chelba G1” from an America-based vendor called the Green Coffee Bean Company. The coffee had a really nice rich and sharp sweetness and was slightly floral; the flavour profiles consisting of green apple, jasmine, coffee blossom, bouquet and honey. It was aromatic and zingy, yet ever-so-slightly sweet and delicious. Truly one to remember ❤
Honestly, it was so interesting to be in such a fantastic atmosphere like the one found here. I’ve began taking a more active interest in coffee for a year or so now, and it was intruiging to be surrounded by people with a similar passion. It was a really wonderful experience.
Overall, the event was busy and somewhat chaotic but I found it so interesting! I have attended a few smaller coffee conventions during my time in Korea, but this one was without-a-doubt the best.
Definitely make an effort to go if you’re in Seoul this time next year! Tickets overall are quite pricey with a standard ticket costing around 18,000 won. BUT with the amount of free samples and food tasters you get, it is 100% worth the price I think. Also if you pre-register early for the show (a few months before) then it’s freeeeeeeeeee. If you don’t speak Korean then I would recommend asking your closest Korean bff to help you find where to preregister.
General advice? Make sure you get there at a reasonable time- it gets super busy so getting there earlier makes your life much easier.
Interested? Check out this link for English info on the next event.
Until next time, happy sipping~