Hi guys! It’s been SO long since I did a K-Drama review! I think the last one I did was back in 2014? Cripes that was a long time ago! I guess I’ve had a lot going on that I couldn’t even find time to watch a drama properly; that’s not entirely true since I started this drama back in 2015 at some point and since I had a 3 day weekend I decided to finish it once and for all!
Introducing: ‘The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince’ (also known as ‘Coffee Prince’) is a 2007 drama that aired on MBC for 17 episodes and was based on a novel with the same name written by Lee Sun-Mi.
The story is based around a 24-year old woman who is the sole provider for her family. After her father passed away, she took on the role of breadwinner and refuses to let anyone else help. When she loses her main source of income, she applies to work in a coffee shop that only hires men; having been mistaken as a guy already by the new cafe’s manager, he hires her to work for him and she continues to keep her identity a secret in order to keep her job…
Go Eun-Chan (Yoon Eun-Hye) is a cheerful, hardworking girl who supports her family by working two jobs, a Taekwondo instructor and a food delivery girl. Her family consists of her spend-happy mother and troublesome younger sister, and despite working two jobs she even spares time to help her mother sew the eyes onto dolls for extra money. Sporting a boyish haircut and tomboy appearance, Eun-Chan is often mistaken for a guy which sometimes gets her into trouble. She first encounters Han-Kyul during an incident that Han-Kyul believes to be a planned event so that she could get some form of repayment. Things turn for the worse when her landlord raises the rent on their house and Eun-Chan must pick up more part-time jobs to help cover it, and realising that things are getting tough, she calls Han-Kyul via the card he gave her to ask for the repayment; after having her parents insulted by him, Eun-Chan follows and bugs Han-Kyul to apologise for what he said. He asks to hire her as his gay lover to put off women that his mother and grandmother are setting him up with, and after discovering how hard Eun-Chan works for money, loans her a good deal which she must pay back. Without notice the owner of the studio that Eun-Chan used for teaching Taekwondo upped and left, effectively ending her job; when Eun-Chan discovers that Han-Kyul is supposedly taking over the coffee house she frequently visits, she convinces him to open it and to hire her too.Choi Han-Kyul (Gong Yoo) is a free-spirited 30-year old with little interest in work and responsibilities; he is doted on by his family as their only child, and his grandmother and mother are set on matchmaking him with suitable women to marry which he is also uninterested in as he is still hung up on his first love, Han Yoo-Joo. He uses his charm to get around his grandmother and mother regarding the matchmaking but fails to do so, before being struck by the idea of pretending to be gay so that the women leave him alone. He hires Eun-Chan to be his gay lover, still unaware that she is actually a girl and it isn’t long before they form a close brother-like bond as Han-Kyul enjoys Eun-Chan’s childish but charming company. Eventually his grandmother grows impatient with his irresponsibility and refusal to settle down, so she gives him the job to completely rebrand and refurbish a coffee shop, giving him the title of manager. He decides to hire good looking male waiters to attract female attention, naming the new coffee house ‘Coffee Prince’.
Choi Han-Sung (Lee Sun-Kyun) is Han-Kyul’s cousin, an established music producer and former lover of Han-Kyul’s crush, Yoo-Joo. He first meets Eun-Chan during her evening as a replacement staff where he is eating with Han-Kyul for the first time since he returned to the country; they immediately hit it off when he discovers that Eun-Chan is the girl who delivers his milk and fusses over his dog, Terry. The two form a close friendship, even to the extent that feelings begin to get involved but overall Eun-Chan’s feelings are redirected elsewhere and Han-Sung’s real love lies with Yoo-Joo.
Han Yoo-Joo (Chae Jung-An) is an artist who left Seoul to study in New York; her and Han-Sung were confirmed lovers for 8 years before she left him for another man known as DK. She attempts to make amends with Han-Sung but he is still angry with her for betraying him, whilst at the same time bats away Han-Kyul’s displays of affection for her as she does not reciprocate his feelings. After much to-ing and fro-ing, and a little bit of jealousy towards Eun-Chan, her and Han-Sung eventually make-up and decide to resume dating.
Go Eun-Sae (Han Ye-In) is Eun-Chan’s younger sister, still in school her dream is to become a singer and get famous; at first she appears to be a spoilt brat but as she matures, she mellows out and comes to understand the hard work her sister does so that they can have a roof over their heads. Despite this she still likes to play Hwang Min-Yeop, who is hopelessly infatuated with her and willing to put up with her brattish behaviour and attitude in the hope that she will return his feelings. Underneath her self-centred attitude there is a kind heart that shows itself unexpectedly.
Hwang Min-Yeop (Lee Eon) is Eun-Sae’s boyfriend/fan/follower; he’s obsessed with her and often follows her with a puppy-dog expression, willing to do anything she asks. He first meets Eun-Chan at the coffee house and mistakes her for a guy before getting jealous over [his] obvious closeness with Eun-Sae; the pair battle it out in an eating race which he loses. When Eun-Sae refuses to see him, he heads over to the coffee house to confront Eun-Chan, blaming [him] as the cause. He attempts to start a fight, but Eun-Chan tricks him into helping with moving furniture, claiming that the faster it is done the faster they can fight but when Han-Kyul sees how hard-working he is he offers him a job as a prince.Noh Sun-Ki (Kim Jae-Wook) is an expert waffle cook; previously coming from Japan, he is chasing his own love story. During a ride out on Eun-Chan’s scooter, Han-Kyul spots Sun-Ki’s waffle cart and notes how incredibly popular it is, especially with women. Han-Kyul attempts to get him to work for him when Sun-Ki is informed that the work regulations people are coming and he has to move his cart, he states that he cannot work under someone else but the idea of legal work is too tempting.
Jin Ha-Rim (Kim Dong-Wook) is an acquaintance of Han-Kyul who he hired to help out with the interior design and later hired as a prince. He’s a bit of a player when it comes to girls, unable to settle for very long and takes a particular liking to Eun-Chan despite not knowing her true gender.
So that’s all of the main characters, there are a few more but they don’t have as big roles. I think this was my least favourite drama tbh because clearly it didn’t suck me in enough that I stopped watching it on the 12th episode with a gap of 6 months+! I’m not saying it is a bad drama because it did have its moments but I think it wasn’t as exciting as the others that I’ve watched. The storyline has a very slow progression with not much drama, and it is based in the same place each episode. It’s quite different I guess because Eun-Chan hides her gender so romance and such is very limited but I just felt like the storyline wasn’t very exciting. Two of the side characters have more progression in their storyline than the two main characters! They at least step forward in their storyline whereas not much changes for the main characters until the very end.
Despite literally finishing the drama either yesterday or the day before, I’ve already forgotten mostly what happened in the episodes I watched (at least 5 from when I stopped). I highly doubt that I’ll remember what happened in this drama but I did like the characters, especially Han-Kyul, Eun-Sae and Min-Yeop.
I think this drama rates as below:
- Boys Over Flowers
- Baby-Faced Beauty
- Flower Boy Ramen Shop
- Personal Taste
- The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince
So that ends my review! I found the drama pretty boring, even writing this review has me pretty bored and wanting it to end quickly! On another note though, look how pretty Yoon Eun-Hye (Eun-Chan) is when she’s dressed up and actually looks like a woman! Until next time~♥