Wednesday, October 2, 2013

KDrama Review: Coffee Prince

The Gist: 24 year old Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye) is often mistaken for a boy with her short hair, baggy clothes, and unpolished personality. This doesn’t bother her, so when a wealthy man, Choi Han Kyul (Gong Yoo), offers her a job as his “boyfriend” to break up his blind dates, she accepts. The breadwinner in her family, Eun Chan begs Han Kyul to give her a job at his new café, Coffee Prince, which his grandmother has left him in charge of. Wanting to hire only young guys to bring in female customers, Han Kyul agrees. She forms a quick bond with the other workers: dopey Hwang Min Yeop (Lee Un), energetic Jin Ha Rim (Kim Dong Wook), and quiet No Sun Ki (Kim Hae Wook). As they slowly figure out Eun Chan’s secret, Han Kyul is left in the dark, making him utterly confused at his inherent attachment to her. 


1.The Chemisty!

Oh snap! The intensity between Eun Chan and Han Kyul is the glue that holds this whole show together. It’s impossible to watch this show and not be moved by the desperation with which these characters want to be together. The strain between them is almost too much to bear and the episode where Han Kyul figures out that Eun Chan is lying to him is nothing short of heartbreaking. Even in the small scenes, a look here, a gesture there, everything about their relationship jumps off the screen. Anyone within a fifty mile radius could tell those two are in love and it really is just a delight to watch. 

2. The Boys

I must admit at first, I was skeptical about the coworkers. Min Yeop’s determined obsession with Eun Chan’s sister, Go Eun Sae (Han Yeh In) had me turned off immediately and he seemed like such an idiot that I was disappointed at his central cast status. That changed quickly though, when you figure out what a kind heart he is and it’s impossible not to like him. Sun Ki had a heart wrenching backstory as he searches for a lost love and even as that becomes difficult, I love the ray of hope they leave for him at the end. Ha Rim goes from lovely to annoying to lovely again as he takes Eun Chan’s betrayal the hardest, but you really root for him as he tries to shed his player ways towards the end. All three end up like big brothers to Eun Chan and it makes every scene in the shop fun. 

3. The Pacing

I could have watched this entire show in one sitting. I forced myself to stop and savor the experience – I mean, you only watch a show the first time once. Nothing about it felt stilted or dragged on, but rather flowed nice enough for hours of marathoning. The writing is tight and the acting is superb, which is the best kind of show. 


1.The Pilot

For a show with such strong, clear direction, the pilot wanders a lot and I wasn’t sure where it was going. Ultimately you learn to love the characters, but oh boy are there a lot of them dumped on you all at once. I think if you’re patient and not trying too hard to sort everything into neat boxes, you’re ok, but I like tight story lines. Honestly, if I was grading this show just on the pilot, I’d give it maybe a C, but once we get the café established, things pick up a lot faster. 



For a show that’s clearly targeted towards girls, this show sure has a lot of moments that made me go ew! Basically anything revolving around the shop’s old owner Hong Gae Sik (Kim Chang Wan) made me flinch. When they went into his house, I thought I was going to pass out! Also, people talking to each other on the toilet or what have you was just excessive to me. I didn’t need it and it detracted from all the good things about this show.

2. Small Things

The devil’s in the details, so they say. Now when there’s just one quirk, I let it go, but CP actually had a lot of little things that made me ponder. First, I marveled at how much free time Han Sung and Yoo Joo had, but as soon as they’re getting serious, suddenly they have no time to spend with each other. It was bizarrely inconsistent. Also, why are all the Coffee Prince employees working all the time? Shouldn’t some people have days off or work separate shifts? And how does Han Kyul manage to always get a front parking spot when his café doesn’t have any extra parking? Where do the customers park? Also, why are all Eun Chan’s shirts so large? It’s not like large shirts are any cheaper and her sister’s clothes fit. Anyway, all of that isn’t really that big a deal, but I found myself questioning things at every turn throughout this show, but just the little things. 


So… Why didn’t I watch this sooner?!! This show’s premise always sounded dumb to me, but it’s really excellent. The romance is sparkling, the acting is superb, the writing is clean, and it leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy. This show does gender bending right. I might have to shuffle my top 5.

Final Grade: A+


  1. Great post! A perfect Korean drama that I've ever watched. My all time favorite. It would have been funnier if some girl had fallen for the boyish part of Eun Chan, my chan. Some more episodes can be extended. sad it ended so soon.
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  2. Your Coffee Prince review makes me want to give it another try! I actually stopped watching after about the third episode. I love Gong Yoo and I love the idea of the story but I just couldn't get past some of the gross stuff. Like you said, for a drama that seems to be aimed at girls there are a lot of gross things. In just the first few episodes there were things like people picking their noses, or threatening to pick their noses, and talking to each other in the bathroom or about the bathroom, and a bunch of other stuff like that. And what was up with the big ant on that one guy's face (in episode 3, I think)?! And that eating contest in the beginning, and the lead girl showing the lead guy the food in her mouth at the restaurant, and noticing the smell of that guys feet, Yuck!! Those kinds of things really turned me off and distracted me a lot from the story. But because of your review, and the adorable Gong Yoo, I want to like it, so I'm wondering does it get better, or does the gross stuff continue?

    1. The gross stuff definitely doesn't go totally away but I feel it gets better over time. I'd say wait until you get our leading pair to start developing a relationship and if that doesn't override it for you, it's probably too much. I, however, think their chemistry more than makes up for its issues, not to mention the friendship between the cafe workers gets really sweet. Thanks for reading!

    2. Thanks so much, I'll hang in there for a bit longer and see how it goes! :)

    3. I've come to the conclusion that the interior of the stomachs of KDrama characters, especially petite female ones, have the same spatial characteristics as that of the Tardis. :)

    4. Have to agree there, Charles. Not sure what's up with Korean female leads, but they can all seemingly pack in food like squirrels hoarding for the winter.

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