March 20, 2020

The Explainer: Cafe Vlogs

What: Cafe vlogs are a subgenre of silent vlogs — a format that depicts daily routines without anyone speaking — that originated in South Korea. The creators, many of whom are part-time baristas, not only teach viewers how to make special drinks at home, but also share “a day in the life” that allows anyone to experience and participate in cafe culture. While you never hear from them, the creators’ personalities shine through in subtitles, which provide helpful context for the day’s activities.

Where: Many of the most popular cafe vlog videos come from Korean creators.

By the Numbers:

  • Uploads of videos with “cafe vlog” or “카페 브이로그” in the title increased more than 10x from 2018
  • Views of videos with “cafe vlog” or “카페 브이로그” in the title increased more than 80x from 2018 to 2019.

Views of "cafe vlogs" up sharply in 2019

Monthly views of videos with “cafe vlog” or “카페 브이로그” in the title

Views of

Global Youtube views, 2018 - 2019

Popular Creators:

  • Jihyunkkung (~312K subscribers) - Korean creator Jihyunkkung only started uploading videos in June 2019, but her videos have already received over 18 million views. She combines adjacent trends (ASMR, mukbangs) with her vlogs showing life as a college student working in a cafe.
  • cafeslave jun (~306K subscribers) - Cafeslave Jun’s trajectory is very similar to fellow “cafe vlog” creator Jihyunkkung: He, too, started uploading videos in June 2019 and has amassed over 300K subscribers, with his day-in-the-life cafe vlogs gaining more than 13 million views.
  • Zoe 조에 (~226K subscribers) - 23-year-old creator Zoe 조에 is a student studying computer engineering and a part-time employee at her mom’s dessert cafe. In addition to the traditional cafe vlog, she shares Q-and-As and short films depicting a barista’s day. Since starting her channel in July 2019, she has amassed over 220K subscribers and 11 million views.

Popular Videos:

Jihyunkkung: [ENG] cafe vlog/No BGM/coffee/cafe/vlog/korea cafe: Creator Jihyunkkung’s snapshot of a full day’s work — from opening the cafe to preparing blue lemonade and strawberry lattes for thirsty customers — has been viewed more than 5 million times.

Zoe 조에: 🍰How's like working at Korean dessert cafe, cakes, parfaits, drinks: In her most-viewed video depicting daily cafe life, Zoe 조에 notes that she has added English subtitles in response to a request from international fans.

cafeslave jun: sub)cafe vlog part time, hard work,most popular cafe drinks in korea blog: Cafeslave Jun walks viewers through his process of ringing up drinks, baking cheesecakes, and concocting black sugar coffee bubble tea at his cafe in Gyeonggi-do.

헤온HYEON: [ENG][VLOG] 개인 카페 VLOG | 여유로웠던 알바날 | 주말알바 | 알바로그 | CAFE VLOG | NO BGM: Creator 헤온HYEON has ~20K subscribers, but her video depicting daily operations in the cafe — cutting watermelon to make watermelon juice, making peach plum juice, and cleaning up when the day is done — has been viewed more than 1 million times.

Content Trends:

Silent vlogs x ASMR x Mukbang: “Cafe vlogs” represent an interesting blend of a few trends that have continued to grow over the past year — silent vlogs, ASMR, and mukbangs. The combination of the three in “cafe vlogs” not only speaks to each format’s individual popularity, but is also an example of how creators are finding success by mixing trends in new ways.

Student life: Multiple “cafe vlog” channels come from creators who work as part-time baristas while pursuing university degrees. Although these creators tend to discuss cafe work rather than their student lives in the subtitles, the videos offer an interesting lens through which to see how some millennials balance their time and pay for school.

Travel inspiration: Cafe culture is one outlet for tourists to get a local’s perspective on a destination. Cafe vlogs, with their immersive, first-person filming experience, offer this at scale and provide inspiration to those planning trips to Korea (some creators even reference visits from fans).