Caffé Bene

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Korean franchise Caffé Bene (카페베네) gained its first foothold in Penang recently with the opening of its new outlet at Gurney Paragon Mall.
It is fortunate that I arrive as the café opens. Caffé Bene has become sort of hype recently. The queue becomes ridiculously long later in the day. The number of seats available is severely inadequate for the weekend crowd.

Caffé Bene is popular for its bingsu (빙수), a series popular shaved ice dessert in Korea. The founder of this franchise was inspired by Western-style coffee shops, and he proceeded to introduce his own brand by integrating Korean desserts into the menu.
However, my visit to Caffé Bene today is not for the bingsu; the serving size of bingsu is meant for 2 or 3 persons. I am here to take advantage of the opening promotional offer: buy-one-get-one (BOGO) selected drinks.

Caffé Bene uses an electronic buzzer system for inform customers to collect their orders from the serving counter. This approach reduces the number of employees required to man the tables.
My first beverage is Misugaru Latte (RM13.00), which I opted for large size. Misugaru (미숫가루) is a popular fortified drink in Korea, similar to what Milo is in Malaysia. Misugaru is made from various grains such as barley, sesame seed, rice and black bean. The mixed grains are sold in powdered form and mixed with hot water before serving.
In terms of taste, the Misugaru Latte is similar to Horlicks. The drink is quite addictive once I get a hang of it. I requested for the iced version, but in retrospect this beverage would have been more enjoyable if it were served hot.

The other drink is the Sweet Potato Latte (RM13.00) which I also ordered in large size. As recommended, I asked for it to be served hot as the flavor is more pronounced when the drink is still warm.
This Sweet Potato Latte is quite appealing too. Its starchy composition and slightly sweet taste make this drink truly heavenly. Certainly satisfying to the very last drop.

Since the Sweet Potato Latte is prepared hot, it is served in a ceramic mug. Close to the rim of this breakfast mug are encouraging words to start the day: "the best way to achieve your dreams" (당신의꿈을이루는가장좋은방법은). I don't think many Malaysians can read Korean anyway.
The staff at Caffé Bene is generally courteous and customer-oriented. I believe this is part of the company's culture.

Address: L1.06, Gurney Paragon Mall, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 03-6143-6333
Business hours: 10:00am-10:00pm

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