76. Mint Bloom Flower Cafe (Random Weekly Review)
In the highly, highly saturated Korea coffee shop game, it’s important to have a good product and an interesting concept–unfortunately, brand recognition doesn’t hurt, either–if you want to have any chance of lasting more than six months. There’s just so much.
Fortunately Mint Bloom Flower Cafe (Samgye-dong, Gimhae, 055-339-4919) has at least two of those essentials.
Located in Samgye-dong, Gimhae, the first thing I noticed when walking into this spacious cafe was the scent.
The combination of flowers, plants and that peat moss scent that gives flower shops an unmistakable perfume is absolutely pleasant in a cafe setting. Kim Seoung Ja appears to have taken her skills as a florist (you can view some of her work on Instagram) and, combined with the tested (many would say over-tested) cafe concept, merged the two into what seems like such an obvious (but grossly underrepresented) combination: a flower shop and coffee shop in one.
Prices are about what you expect in Korea. Instead of an Americano (3,500 won for hot, 4,000 won for iced), I ordered a Cappuccino (4,000 won) and cranberry and chocolate cookie (2,000 won) that, despite looking very homemade, had a packet of silica gel inside to keep it fresh. Then again, this being a florist, freshness measures such as silica packets may be par for the course.
While 4,000 won is rising precipitously into “too expensive” territory, I am more than willing to pay a bit extra if I’m getting a good product. And finally, after how many cups of watery Americanos, burnt Cappuccinos and boring Lattes I cannot count, I can unreservedly say this was a very good cup of coffee (the cookie was just OK). Given how much attention the place spends on the floral side of things, it would have been forgiven if the coffee side was average. But, I left very happy.
While I have been writing this, a few customers have come and gone. Not all of them came for coffee. Which, is important to note. Mint Bloom Flower Cafe has a diversified product on offer. Granted, the cost for all these plants has to be expensive. The space is large and in an up-and-coming (read: probably expensive) section of the city, easily accessible by lightrail. And the Cappuccino I was sold tasted good enough, and took enough time, to indicate that they are not interested in shoving cheap diarrhea down our throats as quickly as possible. But, judging from the steady flow of traffic, it all seems to be paying off.
I guess there’s still a little blood left in this coffee-colored stone, after all. And it smells like flowers.
JPDdoesROK is a former news editor/writer in New Jersey, USA, who served a one-year tour of duty in Dadaepo/Jangnim, Saha-gu, Busan from February 2013 to February 2014. He is now a teacher in Gimhae.