Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cafe Crawl: Teatalk

Are you a trendy, attractive Korean college student? Then you will probably feel right at home at Teatalk. The ones already there certainly do. Some even lie down on the large upholstered chairs to nap in between sips of fruity beverages and bouts of gossip.

Located in downtown Pyeongtaek within a five minute walk of the train station and hours of shopping, Teatalk features an expansive beverage menu; a large, comfortable, modern interior; a great view of the mirrored Seoul Urology and Dermatology building across the street; and a loud stream of Korean pop musicians who wished they were Maroon Five or LMFAO.

Because of the cafe's name, it is a little disappointing to discover that the menu, though enormous, is not focused on tea. In fact, coffee, juice and desert drinks tend to dominate. There are over 20 coffee beverages to choose from as well as dozens of espresso, fruit and milk based drinks. This is not to say, however, there is no tea. The menu, which is only in Korean, features over 16 varieties of tea, most of them herbal. For those who prefer more traditional teas, though, darjeeling and green tea were present.

Tea may not appear to be central to Teatalk, at least by American standards, but that does not matter. Their drinks are terrific.

Tomatoes and pineapple do not automatically sound like a winning combination to western ears; however, Teatalk's "tomato and pine juice" is surprisingly good. Seemingly vine ripened tomatoes are blended with fresh pineapple into a refreshing concoction that would make even a foreigner exclaim "shiwonhada!" without knowing it is a Korean expression of refreshment.

If you must have tea, though, the iced apple tea is full of surprises. It does not taste like juice but has a light cider-esque flavor with mild sweetness. Plus, for a mere 5,000 won it is double the size of the tomato and pine juice. It could easily serve two people, and it is 500 won cheaper than the tomato-pineapple juice.  

Teatalk may offer more coffee and juice than tea, but, at least in regards to tomato-pine juice and iced apple tea, what it does serve it does well.

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