Coffee Prince (2007)
Country: South Korea
I watched it on Netflix
Rating: ★★★★.₅ – loved it
Choi Han-kyul is the grandson of chairwoman Bang of Dongin Foods, a company that has a thriving coffee business. He has never had a job and does not care for responsibility. Han-kyul is hung up on his first love, Han Yoo-joo, who only sees him as a friend. Go Eun-chan is a 24-year-old tomboy who is often mistaken for a guy. Her father died when she was 16 years old and since then she has taken over as the breadwinner in her family. When Han-kyul and Eun-chan meet, he, not knowing that she is a girl, decides to hire her to pretend to be his gay lover so that he can escape the blind dates arranged by his grandmother.
After getting an ultimatum from his grandmother, Han-kyul takes over a rundown old coffee shop, later renamed “Coffee Prince”, to prove that he’s capable, both to his grandmother and to Yoo-joo. In order to attract female customers, he only hires good-looking male employees. Eun-chan, desperate for money, continues to hide her gender to get a job at Coffee Prince.
I was kind of afraid to watch this incredibly famous Korean drama. Why, you ask? Mostly because it’s 12 years old at this point in time. The last time I watched an ‘older’ show, I ended up thinking it was okay, but I didn’t love it. However, I couldn’t just skip watching Coffee Prince either… When it appeared on Netflix a while ago, I decided to just give it a try. I’m so glad I did, because I ended up loving this show.
Let’s talk about all the reasons you should watch Coffee Prince if you haven’t yet!
⭐️ girl disguises as boy trope. I promise I’ll get into the details of this trope in the second point, but the fact that this show revolves around a girl having to pretend to be a boy to keep her job was more than enough to make me want to watch it. I’ve loved this trope for years, and I’m not ashamed of it.
⭐️ more than just a trope. Often, with the girl-disguises-as-boy trope, she ends up falling in love with a straight guy who never sees her as anything more than a friend, because he thinks she’s a guy. Did that make sense? It made sense in my head… Anyway, Coffee Prince is the first show I’ve watched that actually addresses gender and sexuality in this trope. Han-kyul thinks Eun-chan is a guy, and he has always thought of himself as heterosexual. Yet he knows he likes her in a way that isn’t very platonic. He spends days questioning his sexuality, and ends up deciding that Eun-chan’s gender doesn’t really matter to him. THANK YOU FOR THIS! Even though she actually isn’t a guy, I loved that the show made the main male character question his sexuality and think about what gender really means.
⭐️ found family. Yes, both leads to have actual family members in the show as well. Eun-chan lives with her mom and sister, and loves them very much. Even if her sister doesn’t really deserve it the majority of the time, let’s be honest. But the group of people who start working at Coffee Prince become a kind of family too. I loved getting to know the side characters, and seeing how they slowly started to care about one another.
⭐️ each side character has their own story. Like I mentioned earlier, I started to become attached to every character in this story, which was partly because they all have their own story as well. Someone who has been looking for a specific person for years, someone who can’t seem to go past date 1, someone who has been pining after a girl for ages but is being treated badly, etc. I was equally invested in all of them.
⭐️ a show that stay entertaining and relevant. Some shows that are more than a decade old don’t really hold up to today’s standard. Yes, I’m aware that 12 years isn’t that long, but the technology keeps improving so quickly and the viewers’ expectations keep growing higher and higher. There’s so much content to be consumed every day that it has become difficult to keep our attention. If I don’t like a show after 1 or 2 episodes, I won’t keep watching. There are way too many others on my to-watch list for that. Even though this show is one of the ‘older’ ones I’ve watched lately, I was immediately intrigued by it. The fashion, while a tad odd at times, didn’t bother me or make me laugh. (Yes, that definitely happens in other shows!)
I don’t really have anything negative to say about Coffee Prince at all! I love the girl-disguises-as-boy trope, but I adored the fact that this show didn’t implement it at the surface level. We actually get a main character who has to reconsider their sexuality, and has to determine whether gender matters to them or not. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that. If you’ve watched this show, please DM me on Twitter so we can talk about it! I don’t want to leave any spoilers here, but I’d like to gush about it, to be honest…
I assume that a lot of you have already watched Coffee Prince but if you haven’t, please give it a chance! It’s definitely worth your time. If you have seen the show, what did you think of it?