A little bit of home in Seoul, South Korea

Sep 19, 2008
Margaret Swallow, longtime advocate in the global coffee community and former executive director for the Coffee Quality Institute, will contribute occasional posts to the Romancing the Bean.


The week of August 22 I was in Seoul to do some marketing training for employees of Samsung Electronics. I love training and even though it is not hard work physically at the end of the day I was tired. When I returned to the hotel on Monday I decided to put on my casual clothes and go out for a walk around the hotel.

I was staying at the Ritz Carlton and the entrance is on a major street which was in the process of being torn up as they are building a new subway or train line in that part of the city. I walked along this street for a while before turning into a side street that reminded me of the alleyways that run behind houses in the older sections of some American cities. Here the streets were narrow and clogged with people shopping for everything from clothing to the last electronic gadget (as South Korea is the home of companies such as Samsung everyone seems to have the latest digital device).

I wondered around for a while taking in the sights and sounds and eventually saw a sign from home Dunkin Donuts. As someone who drinks coffee all day long (and also has a sweet tooth) this was like a vision! The shop was located on a corner and had a few tables set up on a patio outside.

I went inside and everything was clean and shiny so perhaps it was a new location. I went up to the counter to order my coffee and donut and right behind the gentleman that took my order was a Bunn-O-Matic brewing system. I let my fingers do the talking and was able to order a cup of coffee and a chocolate donut to go.

The funny part of this story is that I grew up on the East Coast of the US where Dunkin Donuts are common. For the last 29 years I have lived in the Midwest where Dunkin Donuts are far fewer and the ones that are in the metropolitan area where I live are not part of my normal driving circuit. But for that one great week in Seoul I was a just few minutes walk from a great cup of coffee, thanks to Bunn-O-Matic and Dunkin Donuts.

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