Korea is a culture that seems to be obsessed with coffee. Coffee shops here are not simple buildings; they often have two or three levels, all of which are packed full of customers. This holds true despite the overwhelming number of coffee establishments that exist in the city. Often, several multi-story shops will be on the same block as each other. Sitting around in a coffee shop is just something people do...a lot.
All around the world, people go to coffee shops for the same basic reasons: the coffee tastes better than when you make it at home and hey, we're all a little lazy sometimes. However, in Korea, going to a coffee shop is pretty much the only option, as I have found getting quality coffee in your home to be quite the difficult task. I made the mistake of buying my own coffee pot when I arrived, because it was cheap and I like drinking coffee. There's nothing wrong with the pot, it's finding something to brew in it that's the problem.
Most coffee for sale in stores here is instant coffee. It's contained in tiny sticks that are at least 50% sugar, and it is hugely popular. They're sold everywhere, usually in packs of 100 or 500. I myself have drank some of these at work in dire situations, but it's more like drinking hot chocolate than anything else. Finding actual ground coffee beans to brew at home is very challenging. They can be purchased from coffee shops like Starbucks, but run around $20 for a bag, which in my opinion is a bit steep (even for Starbucks). Therefore, I too have been forced to turn to coffee shops when I want my caffeine fix. Although the coffee I can buy is delicious, I do miss waking up to the smell of coffee in the morning.