A Randy’s Donuts in Seoul adds Los Angeles flavor to South Korea’s growing coffee culture
A couple of years ago, an employee at this Seoul, South Korea, coffee shop offered me a donut. I took it home and, to my surprise, found a note stuck between the paper on the donut wrapper. “I hope you like it,” the note said. I did.
I returned to the same shop a couple of weeks later, only to learn that this same employee had gotten a box of Krispy Kreme donuts for free. On this visit, he offered me a choice: two donuts or a latte with a slice of chocolate ice cream. I picked the donuts.
I went back a third time, and then a fourth, and in a week I went back four times. The owner of the shop, Randy Kim, was the first to offer me a free Krispy Kreme donut. On my third trip, he had to add, “But the first time, you took it home anyway,” because I kept coming back.
I’m a coffee-lovers’ dream (and a few donut-lovers’ nightmare), an obsessive coffee-obsessed coffee geek and the founder of the Coffee Enthusiast, a network of coffee shop owners and coffee-loving people. But I’m also a realist. I can’t deny the thrill that the Krispy Kreme donut gave me. And I can’t deny that my obsession with coffee and coffee shop culture has been, and continues to be, a good thing, helping keep coffee in the forefront of global culture.
How did coffee become the world’s beverage of choice? Why did coffee become so important to the South Korean people? And what is Krispy Kreme doing here?
As I told the story, I was still thinking about it.
“I think the whole Krispy Kreme thing is more of a coincidence,” Kim said. He offered that his employees are not particularly coffee-friendly. But Kim said he