In South Korea, stop into almost any business or office, and, along with the friendly employees, a selection of instant coffee packets will be there to greet you. No coffee pot or brewing time necessary — just a hot water dispenser. Outside of the workplace, instant coffee is offered at restaurants and homes across the nation, and sold in small paper cups from vending machines at many convenience stores, gas stations, transit hubs, and even street-sides.
The flavors run the gamut, ranging from americano and latte to cappuccino and mocha, with most packets containing a mix of coffee, sugar, and powdered creamer. They’re quick and they’re cheap, costing as little as KRW 125 ($0.11) apiece — so inexpensive that workplaces can provide their employees with an endless supply of pick-me-ups for free.