Quick Korean Phrases for the Cafe

If you’ve been to a cafe in Korea, then you probably hear the same phrase over and over. Since the baristas and cafe employees are often being polite, they will be using more formal wording.

For those who are learning Korean and are used to talking in the casual form, it may be more difficult to understand what they’re saying. And if you don’t understand what they’re saying, it’s makes it difficult to respond! This can make for some awkward dialogue using lots of hand gestures and sentence fragments.

We’re going to fix that! We’ll identify some common phrases at the cafe that you’ll hear, and then give you some response options to make you sound like a native. Not only will you be learning Korean to make your interactions smoother, but you’ll also get some great practice studying every time you visit a café!

The phrases below are all written in Hangeul (Korean alphabet). If you want to learn the Korean alphabet fast, here is a free guide that teaches you how to read in about one hour.

For the rest of you who are ready to master your craft and become the kings of the café, follow the Korean cafe phrases in the dialogue below.

We know that for some of you it may be challenging to try to speak in a foreign language.

To help get past that hurdle, it might be helpful to think of it more as a scene in a movie and you’re an actor performing a role. That way, you’re simply practicing lines and rehearsing them with the other actors. Much less pressure, and more opportunities for fame!


Scene 1

For your first leading role, you’re going to study the Korean cafe phrases in Scene 1. In this case, the barista is asking if you are ready to order.


Scene 2

Now that you’ve got ordering down, let’s move onto Scene 2. After your order, the barista will ask if you’re going to be eating or drinking at the café. Notice there are two different answers based on what you ordered. If it’s drink only, then use A2. For all other cases, use A3.


Scene 3

You may also hear the barista asking you if you’ll be taking the order out. Scene 3 is similar to Scene 2, except the question is regarding a drink-only order. If you ordered food, the barista would not ask you this. You will only hear this if the order is for a drink.

Scene 4

In Scene 4, the barista will ask you the same question as in Scene 3. However, this is for an order that is NOT drink-only. So if you order food, or food and drink, the barista may ask you the question from Scene 4 below.

Scene 5

Now that you’ve proved your performance skills, it’s time to wrap things up with the final scene. Let’s talk about receipts.

Since you’ve made it this far, now is a good time to put these Korean cafe phrases into action! If it seems like there are a lot of ways to ask and answer questions about ordering at a cafe, many Koreans would agree with you!

However, if you keep learning Korean and practicing them, they will become second nature. Head out to your local cafe and get one step closer to sounding like a native!

What phrases do you hear most often at a café? Do you have a place you visit often where you’d like to interact in Korean? We’d love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment below!

 Photo Credit: Ged Carroll  

Learn to read Korean and be having simple conversations, taking taxis and ordering in Korean within a week with our FREE Hangeul Hacks series: http://www.90DayKorean.com/learn

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