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Korea's Love for Iced Americano, Eoljukah

The Chilled Coffee Craze: Understanding Korea’s Love for Iced Americano, ‘Eoljukah’

Introduction

In recent weeks, a popular Korean variety show depicted Italian broadcaster Alberto Monti guiding celebrities around his homeland, particularly a quaint cafĂ© in the heart of Italy. The intriguing twist? When the group requested the ubiquitous ‘Iced Americano,’ Alberto hesitated and amusingly remarked, “Let me check if that exists. We usually don’t drink it.” Instead, he served them a ‘shakerato.’ This isn’t the first time Alberto has poked fun at Koreans for their love of Iced Americano, previously dubbing it ‘Koreano’ on another show. The phenomenon has not only caught the attention of local media but also international outlets like AFP, which coined the term ‘Eoljukah’ to describe Koreans drinking Iced Americano even in freezing temperatures.

Korea's Love for Iced Americano, Eoljukah

The Iced Trend Persists

As sub-zero temperatures grip Korea, scenes of professionals enjoying iced beverages at a downtown Seoul Starbucks at noon are common. 20s young adults confessed, “I need that caffeine kick right away, and hot coffee takes too long to consume. Even in the cold, I prefer ordering iced drinks.” Another customer shared, “I try new menu items occasionally, but I ultimately order Iced Americano the most. It’s refreshing and clean, not heavy on the palate.”

The Statistical Chill

According to Starbucks Korea data from the 26th of last month, over the past four months, 61% of all orders were for iced drinks. Even during January’s peak cold, the proportion of iced beverages remained over 57%. Other coffee brands like Paul Bassett reported a 62% share of iced drinks in their orders from December to February, and Hollys Coffee noted a 55% preference for Iced Americano among beverages sold in January, especially among the 20-30 age group.

Decoding the ‘Eoljukah’ Phenomenon

Why do Koreans overwhelmingly prefer ‘Iced Americano’? “Eoljukah,” often translated as “Frozen to Death but Iced Americano,” is a Korean cultural phenomenon where people continue to enjoy iced beverages, particularly Iced Americano, even in extremely cold weather. AFP suggests it’s a unique coffee consumption culture, citing the fast-paced ‘ppalli-ppalli’ work culture in Korea, where quickly consumable ‘Eoljukah’ aligns seamlessly. However, experts argue it’s not just about the need for speed but a reflection of Korea’s societal tendency to keenly follow trends and the consumption habits of others.

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One of professor of Inha University’s Consumer Science Department notes, “Korea distinctly observes the influence of robust consumption trends on individual choices, creating a ‘conformity consumption psychology’ that has influenced the ‘Eoljukah’ culture.” She adds, “Koreans find enjoyment and meaning in adhering to trends, reinforcing the popularity of the ‘Eoljukah’ phenomenon.”

Korea's Love for Iced Americano, Eoljukah

Coffee as a Social Ritual

A sociology professor at Korea University, suggests that unlike in other countries, where coffee is a social beverage, in Korea, it’s viewed more as a functional drink for administering the drug—caffeine. He explains, “For a professional on the move, cold coffee is optimized for caffeine intake.” So, is consuming cold drinks in rapidly dropping temperatures detrimental to health?

Health Considerations

Some assures, “While prolonged exposure to low temperatures can pose cardiovascular risks, enjoying an occasional iced drink is generally safe.” He cautions against excessive coffee consumption irrespective of temperature, emphasizing moderation.

In conclusion, Korea’s love for ‘Eoljukah’ extends beyond a mere preference for a quick caffeine fix. It reflects a cultural inclination to embrace trends, creating a unique coffee culture that has captured local and global attention.

Korea's Love for Iced Americano, Eoljukah

FAQs

  1. What is ‘Eoljukah’?
    • “Eoljukah,” often translated as “Frozen to Death but Iced Americano,” is a Korean cultural phenomenon where people continue to enjoy iced beverages, particularly Iced Americano, even in extremely cold weather.
  2. Why do Koreans follow trends so avidly?
    • Trend-following is a cultural aspect in Korea, where it adds a sense of enjoyment and meaning.
  3. What makes ‘Eoljukah’ different from regular Iced Americano?
    • ‘Eoljukah’ is the Korean term for Iced Americano, highlighting the country’s unique coffee culture.
  1. Is Korea’s ‘conformity consumption psychology’ limited to coffee trends?
    • No, it extends to various aspects of Korean society, where adhering to trends is a common cultural phenomenon.