When Wayne Kang was deciding where to holiday while living in South Korea years ago, he simply determined the location by throwing a dart on a map. Twice in a row, it landed on Western Australia.
“It must have been a sign,” Wayne says.
After exploring the country, he decided to relocate permanently to Australia, and to follow his love of coffee by opening his own café in Western Australia.
Cheol’s Café was formerly known as Viaje Coffee until Wayne chose to rebrand the name to the Korean translation of his first name. The café first opened in 2019 and has quickly become a representation of the vision Wayne had when deciding to move to Australia, fusing his Korean identity with the popular flavours of the state.
“My first customer ended up becoming my wife,” Wayne says. “We had never met before until she came through the door with a free voucher.”
The café’s name change has been a recent pivot for Wayne, as he has sold his other two cafés in Western Australia to focus solely on developing Cheol’s Café into his passion project.
“Our recent rebrand has been focused to reflect my Korean identity,” he says. “It’s a great place for people to come together and experience different cultures.”
He says combining the coffee cultures of Korea and Australia has been a great experience and has proved to be successful with the local crowd.
“[Cheol’s Café] isn’t just about Korean cuisine, it’s about Korean coffee too,” he says. “The coffee industry in Korea is quite big, especially through its innovation.”
Wayne says he has always had a passion for specialty coffee, which is why partnering with Veneziano Coffee Roasters proved to be an ideal union.
“I wanted to explore the world of coffee further, and Veneziano have become the perfect partner to grow with,” he says.
“I visited their Sydney and Melbourne locations, and I could tell right away that their commitment to consistency was unparalleled.”
The partnership has allowed Wayne and the team to experiment with its coffee. It has also allowed Wayne to educate the Perth locals on what the Melbourne-based roaster has to offer.
Wayne says Veneziano Coffee Roasters provides a creative license that enables the café to reach its goals.
“We’re developing new recipes that are also approachable for the Perth market,” he says. “There’s always a way to draw people in to try new drinks.”
At night, Cheol’s Café transforms into a wine bar, as the café offers a relaxed energy accompanied by occasional live jazz music. “It’s a place where people can come in and chill if they want,” he says.
He adds that providing that positive energy is crucial to operating a café, as it can set the tone for the rest of the day for customers.
“I want them to start their day with a good energy,” he says.
Wayne remains thankful of the support that the local crowd has given him after the dart on the map led him to Western Australia.
“The customers have really helped me settle here in Perth,” he says. “I enjoy running the café since it has become a platform for me to meet new people.”
Shop 8/609 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley, Western Australia, 6050
Open Monday and Tuesday 6:30am – 2:30pm, Wednesday to Friday 6:30am – 2:30pm and 5:30pm – 10:30pm, Saturday 7:00am – 2:30pm and 5:30pm – 10:30pm, Sunday 7:00am – 2:30pm
This article appears in the December 2023 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.