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Intelligentsia enters Asia with South Korea cafe opening

American coffee house Intelligentsia is making its international debut with the opening of a cafe in South Korea.

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Situated in Seoul’s Seochon neighbourhood, the new Intelligentsia location opens in partnership with long-term Seoul-based distributor, MH Partners.

Since 2015, Intelligentsia’s packaged coffee and ready-to-drink products have been available in South Korea across premium coffee shops and via the Market Kurly e-commerce platform.

As a local partner, MH Partners worked closely with JAB-Holding backed Intelligentsia on store design, menu development and barista training for its Seoul debut.

“We are excited to further our commitment to the specialty community in South Korea where a growing number of coffee drinkers share our passion for extraordinary coffee. We believe coffee is a culinary experience,” said James McLaughlin, CEO, Intelligentsia Coffee.

“Our goal is to bring this perspective to South Korea and showcase the best we have to offer in premium specialty coffee experiences, hospitality, and service.”

Looking ahead, the company is exploring opportunities for additional sites in the Asian country.

Founded in 1995 by Doug Zell and Emily Mange, Intelligentsia currently operates 12 stores across the U.S., in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, and Austin, in addition to its new Seoul location.

According to Euromonitor, in 2023, the average coffee consumption per adult in South Korea reached 405 cups per year, more than double the global average of 152 cups. The figure serves as the highest consumption rate among major Asian countries, equating to more than one cup of coffee per day per person.