MANHATTAN — Tucked away on the Lower East Side at 99 Allen St. is Round K Coffee shop. From the outside, it may look like a regular good old fashioned coffee ship, but on the inside you are transported to a 1960s Korean inspired cafe.
"I wanted to introduce old fashioned Korean-style coffee shops, so I decided here to introduce more people to Korean style coffee," said Round K owner Ockhyeon Byeon.
Byeon opened the coffee shop and immediately became perplexed with a very simple coffee order: a black coffee.
"When we order black coffee, it's actually dark brown," Byeon said. "It's not absolutely black."
So, he spent months crafting a top secret recipe for the blackest and darkest coffee you'll ever see or taste.
"The human mind is that black is unhealthy, or burnt," Byeon said.
But, this coffee is incredibly healthy and even vegan. While it may not look that attractive, and it makes your tongue black, it tastes great. And, for your information, it only comes iced.
Among the decor at Round K, you'll notice a fitting room sign hanging above the coffee bar, and a long brown curtain that looks like it leads to a storage space.
Longtime customers who have been coming in for coffee were unaware they could actually walk through that curtain to a hidden space.
Beyond the curtain is a true Korean inspired hidden dining room.
The tables and chairs are small and the curtain is meant to separate you from the distractions of the outside world. Byeon said he hates when you are having a conversation and people walk in and out and potentially distract from the intimate conversations happening.
Round K also serves some interesting food, cooking their eggs in the espresso maker used to make the coffee, boosting the eggs silkiness and flavors.