High-end coffee shops are the latest fad among the mysteriously wealthy elite of Pyongyang, who sip their espresso or latte at prices equivalent to a North Korean worker's monthly wage.
According to Andray Abrahamian of Chosun Exchange, which provides vocational training for North Korean students, an increasing number of Pyongyang citizens are willing to pay US$3.50 for a cup of coffee.
Abrahamian tried a few cups at the coffee shop in the Pyongyang Hotel, where customers can look down on the Daedong River. It had a roaster, fresh beans and other equipment associated with the coffee shops in a capitalist metropolis.
The drip coffee tasted a little strange, with roughly ground coffee beans past their shelf life, but the espresso and cappuccino were good, Abrahamian wrote on the website of TV channel France 24.
The menu featured many of the trappings found in the nowhere-land of international coffee "culture," including waffles and caramel macchiato, as well as a cocktail named "Coconut Kiss." A bottle of Coca-Cola imported from China was $5.
An estimated 16 million of 25 million North Koreans are suffering food shortages.