Curse Word Lattes at Cafe Woolabong in Tongyeong, Korea

There are many beautiful latte arts shared online, but have you ever seen these? The long sentences on the surface of these lattes may seem like beautiful poems, but they are actually curse words that are written for each customer.

How did I find this?

About a year ago, a few of my Korean coworkers traveled down south to Tongyeong(통영), and went to Cafe Woolabong (카페울라봉), which is known for their Curse Word Lattes (쌍욕라떼). Here were the lattes that they got on their visit.

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This one says “개년,” which means b****. 개 means dog and 녀 means girl. 년 is also girl, but it has a more negative meaning. After seeing this, my coworkers were joking that this wasn’t as bad as they thought, and the cafe owner overheard them. He made another latte with worse words.

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This one says, “옷 색깔 말고 얼굴이 화사해야지 못 생긴년아,” which means, “Instead of making the colors of your clothes gorgeous, you should make your face more beautiful, you ugly girl(b****).”

Mini Korean lesson:
옷 색깔  = clothing color
얼굴 = face
화사하다 = gorgeous/beautiful
못 생기다 = ugly. 
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This last one says, “남친이 있을 면상이 아닌데 있다고 구라 치고 다니는 미친년,” which means “Crazy b**** that doesn’t look like she has a boyfriend, but goes around lying that she does have one.”

Mini Korean Lesson:
남친 (남자친구) = boyfriend
면상 = face
구라 치다 = to lie
다니다 = go around/ walk around
미친년 = crazy b****. 

My experience

After seeing this, my friend and I started to wonder how we would get cursed at. There were many things to do and see in Tongyeong, but this was our main event.

On the day we decided to go, we got there before 10 am, thinking that it would be open, but we saw this sign on the door. IMG_3134.JPG

With the help of our Korean friend, we realized that the store won’t open until 1 pm.

After sightseeing other areas in Tongyeong, we came back at around 4:20 pm to see this sign and waiting list.

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Cafe Woolabong (2nd floor)

  • If you are short on time, please come back when you’re bored and have plenty of time (bye!).
  • The store is small so we cannot help out groups bigger than 4 people.
  • If there is a minor in your group, we cannot serve you the curse word latte. Instead we can serve you the words-of-kindness latte.
  • I think a group made up of just men is not appealing to the eyes.
  • Have a nice trip, everyone~!
  • Sincerely, The  Female Observing Cafe Woolabong

asdfkjkl;Waiting List Warning

  1. It takes a long time. Please sign this list only if you have the time to wait.
  2. If you are busy, please go somewhere else.
  3. Please divide yourself into groups of 2-3 people if you are in bigger groups.
  4. There is no take-out option.
  5. It takes about two hours from the moment you write your name… T_T… sorry…
  6. If you have come here alone, there is a special seat for you, so please come to the second floor directly.

We signed our name and number of people. Our number was 64, and the last group crossed off was 27. Which means from the time they opened at 1 pm, they went through about 9 groups per hour. My friend and I decided to explore the Dongpirang Mural Village and rest at our guest house instead of waiting for too long.

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When we returned around an hour later at 5:20 pm, the cafe owners were calling names and crossing off names if they were not there. We worried that he would call out the entire list, but he only went through 3 to 5 names at a time. At 5:40, he took away the waiting list. People who came after that time could not enter the cafe.  

There were always about a dozen people waiting outside next to the stairs. Many older generation Koreans seemed to wonder why these people were waiting so long for a cafe. Every 20-30 minutes or so, the cafe owner came downstairs to invite the next few guests in. After an hour or so of standing outside, my friend and I were finally able to enter the cafe at 6:30pm.

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We were taken to seat number 5, and were told to remain seated until it is the time that we can go up to the counter to order. While we waited, we enjoyed the interior design of the cafe. We realized that there were two “loner seats,” in the corners of the cafe. That’s why people who come on their own can just go directly inside without the wait.

When we stood up for our order, I forgot to take pictures… the interview started right when we got there. They asked where we were from, our names, what we were doing in Korea, if we had a boyfriend, how we learned Korean, etc. It seemed like we were one of the first foreign customers to visit this cafe. At the end of the conversation, we got a chance to play rock-paper-scissors to win a piece of candy.

*In front of the counter there was a big chalkboard with the drink menu. Make sure to choose a latte that says 쌍욕 (ssangyok) so you can get the curse word latte. You pay for your drink first. 

They were also selling their original stickers and postcards.

While we waited, we enjoyed some darts.

7:11 pm… the moment that we were waiting for finally arrived. Here is our latte:

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On my iced green tea latte, they first wrote my name in Korean, and since I am Japanese American, they wrote “baka” which just means stupid in Japanese, and drew a Kaonashi (No face) from the movie “Spirited Away.”

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Maybe my thick hair reminded them of Kaonashi…

My friend Megan already knew that it was going to be a Megan Fox joke because when we were talking, the owner mentioned “Megan? Like, Megan Fox?”

As Korean language learners, we were a little bit disappointed that our lattes were not in Korean… since the cafe owners only know basic bad words in Japanese and English, the cuss words are not as bad as it could be. Maybe we could ask them to remake them in Korean next time.

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How to get to Cafe Woolabong from Seoul

From Seoul, take a highway bus to Tongyeong.

  • Seoul: 서울고속버스터미널 (Seoul Gosok Bus Terminal)
  • Tongyeong: 통영종합버스터미널 (Tongyeong Jonghap Bus Terminal)

Without traffic, the bus ride is about 4 hours and the tickets cost around 22,000 KRW.

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From the Tongyeong Bus Terminal, it is best to take a taxi. Make sure to have the name and address of your destination ready in Korean. It may be best to say to go to the entrance of the famous Dongpirang Village (동피랑마을) and then walk around the neighborhood to find this ET mural. The cafe is right across from this wall on the second floor.

If you ever get to go to this cafe, and see the owner, please tell him that Megan Fox and Kaonashi said hello.

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