SEOUL, South Korea – Blue Bottle Coffee will officially launch in Seoul later this week, a South Korean affiliate of the California-based high-end U.S. coffee chain operator stated on April 30. The first branch will open in Seoul’s eastern Seongsu neighbourhood on May 3, Blue Bottle Coffee Korea said in a press release.
Seongsu-dong is a popular spot among trendy young Koreans. The area used to be full of industrial warehouses and factories, but has since been transformed into a cultural space after young artists and designers moved in and remodeled the old buildings.
Blue Bottle plans to open its second branch in Korea in Samcheong-dong, central Seoul, in the second quarter.
The move marks Blue Bottle’s second international launch since it opened its shop in Tokyo in 2015.
According to government data, the size of South Korea’s coffee market surpassed the 11 trillion-won mark ($10.3 billion) in 2018.
The industry is estimated to have seen 12.83 percent of annual growth over the past five years from 2013 through 2018.
Blue Bottle Coffee was founded by self-proclaimed coffee lunatic James Freeman in Oakland, California, in 2002. Nestle acquired a 68 percent stake in the company for US$425 million in 2017. The company now has 56 cafes in the United States and 10 in Japan.