Gangneung's love affair with coffee began when its beaches became popular as the “coffee-date” place for couples around the area.
As the story goes, in the 1980s, the bus to the beach ran only three times a day, so couples would have to spend the whole day there, strolling by the seaside while drinking coffee from vending machines.
It is said that at its peak, 50 coffee vending machines were erected along the beach. In the early 2000s, cafes started to take their place as the coffee-romances continued to bloom.
Gangneung has since flourished into a coffee paradise for Koreans, especially the street along Anmok beach which is dubbed the “Coffee Street”.
Serious coffee lovers can also check out Korea’s coffee history and antique coffee machines from around the world at the Coffee Cupper Museum.
Interestingly, not much coffee is grown in the Gangwon province, but cafe entrepreneurs and baristas there have made it their life’s mission to seek the best coffee beans from around the world to get the ultimate brew.
This led to the launch of the seaside’s first coffee festival in 2009.
Today, the annual Gangneung Coffee Festival is one of the seaside town’s top tourist attractions and draws some 500,000 people a year.
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