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A Double Caffeine Dose at Hollys Coffee

When I was a child, it seemed like in Korea most of the coffee was instant mixed packages, contained dried coffee, a powdered creamer (Frima here in Korea), and sugar. They were everywhere, and people would get a tiny cup from little vending machines, some of which are still around today.

What was hard to find is honest-to-goodness coffee shops, in the vein of Starbucks or other chains, as well as independent coffee shops where you can find some truly unique and tasty coffee.

Fast forward to today, and it seems like there is a coffee shop on every corner. There are a large number of chain coffee shops now in Korea, one of which is Hollys Coffee.

Now, I’m normally not a big fan of Hollys Coffee but I saw an advertisement for a promotion they are doing now. For 12,000 won (about $11 US) you can get a coffee plus a collectible Harry Potter Mug, where the picture changes color when the temperature changes!

I was a little worried that the mugs would be sold out, as some other bloggers here in Korea had said that they couldn’t find them at any shops, and that you should call ahead to see if they are available. However, Ulsan is not Seoul and life can move a little slower here even though there is over a million people in the city.

The first Hollys Coffee we went to was practically deserted and they had a full supply of all four versions of the Harry Potter Mugs. The hard part now was deciding which mugs to choose, and which drinks to get.

I ended up deciding to get the Harry Potter sweater mug, and the Quidditch mug. One of them I’ll use as a gift, and one will be for me! I’ll be trying out the thermal changing later when I try a cup of coffee at home.

For the coffees, we chose a regular Café Latte, and a Vanilla Delight.

This particular Hollys Coffee is actually quite big, with three floors including an outdoor observation deck.

After our coffees were ready, we sat down and gave them a try.

The Café Latte was average. It wasn’t too bitter and had a slightly nutty flavor to it. There might have been too much milk in the drink, obscuring the coffee flavor. The aftertaste was almost unnoticeable.

The Vanilla Delight was just sweet. There was actually almost no vanilla flavor in the mix and no coffee flavor. It was easy to drink, especially if you like sugar, but if you are interested in vanilla or coffee, you would have been very disappointed.

Honestly, if there were no Harry Potter promotion, I would not have chosen Hollys Coffee. While they make a drinkable cup of coffee, it feels very mass produced with little uniqueness to it. Other stores in the company that I have visited had a little more quality than this one, but if you’re looking for a really special cup of coffee, Hollys Coffee is not the place for you.

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