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5 Reasons Why The Ah-Ah Is The Hottest Drink In Kdrama-Land

Get to know the cold drink that's enthralled all the celebs from K-pop to K-drama

Meet the Ah-Ah, the slang for the unofficial national drink of Korea: the "Ah-iced AH-mericano." Iced Americano, get it? Ah-Ah!  

If your K-pop idol or favorite K-drama character goes into a café, what are the chances he or she will come out with an Ah-Ah? We say: 100 percent. 

Yep, the iced Americano is the hottest coffee drink in South Korea. The celebs truly love it. NCT's Jaemin, for example, is well known for his custom order at Starbucks: eight espresso shots in a venti cup with just ice, no water.


BlackPink’s Ji Soo confesses she can’t do without her iced Americano especially in the summer.

And then there's the iced Americano in all our favorite K-dramas from Vincenzo to Start Up.

Vincenzo picks up an iced Americano for his partner-slash-love interest. | tvN

But even ordinary Koreans seem to be in love with this drink, and they even have a saying that goes: “Even if I freeze to death, iced Americano!” Said in jest in the depths of winter, it really shows Americano’s popularity! 

For those not familiar with the drink, Americano is simply a shot of espresso with water. The cold version — a.k.a. iced Americano — is South Korea’s unofficial natioal drink to date. This is huge, considering South Korea has the second highest coffee consumption in the world, with the $4.3 billion coffee industry, the highest in Asia, according to BusinessKorea

Clearly, Korean coffee culture is huge. Which begs the question, why is iced Americano so ascendant in the Korean coffee scene? 

1. It’s convenient

Americano is an easy pick when all you want is a strong jolt of java to keep you sharp. Research by the University of Horang reveals South Koreans call the ah-ah their preferred “labor drink” — a fast way to get what they refer to as a “caffeine infusion.” 

2. It’s wallet-friendly 

Specialty coffee can be expensive in Korea, so a trip to Starbucks can take a hefty chunk off a working girl’s salary. The americano is lot more affordable, being simply espresso and hot water, with ice, if you prefer. In short, a minimalist drink without froth, foamed milk or flavoring. It’s easily one of the most affordable drinks on the menu of most popular cafés. 

3.  It’s "starter" coffee 

If you don’t particularly love coffee’s bitter flavor, this is the drink for you. Sometimes criticized as “weak” coffee, americano is more palatable for people who aren’t especially into coffee but still want to drink it. 

4. It’s a no-fuss drink

Koreans is traditionally tea country, where tea drinking comes with many rituals and even elaborate etiquette. Americano doesn’t have this complicated background — it’s just a fast and easy drink. And that makes it fun and attractive to a lot of young South Koreans. 

5. All the hottest celebs are drinking it! 

From BTS to BlackPink, all the hottest k-pop stars have been seen sipping Americanos. And kdramas haven’t been lagging behind either. From Vincenzo to Start Up, popular kdramas inevitably have a pivotal scene where the characters stop at a cafe for an Americano — and a significant “moment’ where the characters flirt, fall in love or just give us some of that sexy romantic tension we just can’t resist. And just like that, we want Americano too.