The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince


Reviewed by: sukting

March 10, 2008

Rating: three-point-five


How long
16 episodes

Foreword
Do you like Eun Hye with her short hair? This drama offers a change as she impersonates as a guy to work in a café. Unlike other dramas, I shall only do a brief summary below as not to spoil the fun.

Story/Characters

1. Chui Han Jie: Gong Yoo
He is a spoiled rich brat and stays alone. His family opens a famous food factory. He returns to Korea after spending his family's money. Actually he is smart but he can't follow rules strictly. He is wild to want constant changes in life. He learns designing in the US and holds a designer post in a toy factory, inventing robots and toys. His 3 years of hard work pays off and the company recognises him as a qualified designer.

Upon reaching 29 with no achievement in life, his grandmother lets him handle a café which is on the verge on closing down to see if he can create miracles to keep it going within 3 months. He has to give in reluctantly or his grandmother will confiscate his car and house. He seems to be unconcerned towards others, he hates getting hurt and dislikes hurting others. He is a perfect individualistic. Although he seems cold to others, he values relationships.

He fears that he can't do it and confides in You Zhu. He is upset to know that she has reconciled with Han Cheng. His family keeps on matchmaking him with bachelorettes so he decides to bribe En Can to be his 'boyfriend' to scare off his potential 'wives'. En Can agrees for the sake of money. Have fun to see how she dresses up and walks like a man. He gets so happy that he kisses her. She jumps as this is her first kiss – he confesses that this is also his first with a man.

He may seem to be a player but he is actually very devoted to love. He loved You Zhu for 11 years but backs out as she is Han Cheng's girlfriend. En Can is caught in the rain so Han Jie brings her home. Seeing the black record he keeps reminding her of her late father. Han Jie asks why she doesn't have a beard. She lies that she doesn't have enough nourishment. He is very amused by her answer. Well, he has fun patting on her butt, wondering why it is so small!

Upon knowing that he is going to take over the café, she gives him confidence as the location is good. She hopes to get hired by him so that she can pay back his debt. Thus Han Jie starts working there but only hires male staff. He starts to have a soft spot for En Can but can ditch her aside to date You Zhu even though En Can's motorcycle breaks down. He is overjoyed that You Zhu gives him his birthday present beforehand and dances in front of her. (That reminds me of how Zai Xi cheers Jin Shun up too in 'Be strong, Geum-Soon' but it is funnier over there.)

Han Jie's heart nearly stops when En Can nearly crosses the road without looking to save a dog. He holds her into his arms and both fall onto the road. Seeing that she hurts her palm, he brings her to a Chinese physician – but he is in worse shape and requires acupuncture on his back. All, including himself, notice that he treats En Can differently. He can be with You Zhu in the cinema what he sees on screen are flashbacks with En Can. He is particularly strict with En Can and loves to tease her often.

When looking at her photos, his heart beats fast. More so when he hugs her. He has to reaffirm that he is straight by hugging You Zhu too. En Can once has an accident as she dozes off when on the motorcycle. He is worried but scolds her harshly for being careless. When En Can accidentally knocks her head against a high shelf, she feels the pain – so does he.

However, he doesn't want to be a gay so he suddenly treats her coldly. All get toy robots from him except her. But upon knowing that the day she works for a month for him is also her father's death anniversary, he immediately gives her his collectors' item and buys books on coffee for her. En Can smiles when getting Han Cheng's call to listen to his new music piece. He becomes very jealous and can even protect her from the crowd in the MTR.

Feeling that he can't let this go on any longer, he scolds her over a customer's unbearable attitude. She gets hurt by his remarks that he only allows her to become her employee as he finds her pitiful. She quits and he starts to miss her. Then he gives an excuse to offer her a treat to hire her back. She punches him hard on the nose as her revenge. The poor man suffers a nose bleed because of this!

His grandmother is hospitalized. Getting weary, he rests his head on You Zhu's lap! Han Cheng is uneasy to see that while En Can gets so jealous that she refuses to listen to his explanation. Things turn better between them when he confides in En Can that he is his father's mistress's son. He is only brought home at the age of 5. He finds himself falling for En Can and decides to dismiss her again.

He stays away from work, struggling with the 'demon' in him. Later he decides to like her regardless of who she is - but Ha Lin informs him that En Can is a woman. He gets so mad that he wants her to leave again. But he gets restless without her around. He learns to be more forgiving from Hong, upon knowing how well he treats his ex-girlfriend.

En Can comes to him with his favourite nuts and he gets her to work for him again. Not that he is completely appeased but he can't do without her. He gets delighted when En Can apologises for not considering from his stand to care only for herself. This conceited chap also apologises to her for kissing her and lying that he feels nothing. That is due to his anger and he is actually relieved that she is a woman.

All will crack up to see how he announces to the world that she is a woman in public when both send coffee beans to the other outlets. In fact, he gets so delighted that he almost drags her into the gents, forgetting her identity! He suggests bringing her to the U.S. He can work for the toy factory while she can lead her own life. Upon knowing his own parentage, he feels cheated by his family as they treat him too well. He is disappointed when En Can decides to stay to support her family but promises to visit him.

Han Jie, after knowing his parentage, makes En Can promise to him that they must be frank to each other over their feelings. Han Jie shows Grandmother the sales report and she is pleased with him. Mr Cui knows that the toy factory has been asking Han Jie to go to U.S. but Han Jie seems to be unmoved to go even though he tells him to treasure the chance. Han Jie is a natural clothes hanger so his mother and En Can are impressed even though he dresses casually.

Han Jie brings En Can home and teases her in front of Grandmother and Mrs Cui. Seeing how En Can cuts an apple, Mrs Cui praises her for being able to make his wife happy if married. Han Jie then reveals that she is a woman. The two women find it unacceptable – especially when Han Jie lies that he knows beforehand that she isn't a man but still hires her. He even loves her as a girlfriend.

Unhappy over Grandmother's comments that En Can looks neither a man nor a woman to her, he storms up and carries En Can on his back to console her. Grandmother worries that En Can makes Han Jie infatuated with her because of his wealth. Han Jie cracks up – En Can doesn't know this and he even wishes that she is that scheming. Grandmother gets mad and demands him to go to the U.S. He decides not to since Grandmother is sick while En Can and Mrs Cui are also reluctant to see him leave.

He also wants to stay to learn business management from Mr Cui. He likes working with toys alone in the past as he is individualistic. But now, he likes people management. If the two elderly intervene in his life, he will be more rebellious. Initially he hasn't thought of marriage but he will think of it now. En Can is very independent to return the debt to him before they start dating.

He pours his woes to Han Cheng but discovers that he is in a worse state than him. He hints to En Can to get married when Han Cheng and You Zhu try the wedding clothes. He imagines her to be pretty when trying the gown too so he proposes to her on the spot! The others laugh at him for being overly anxious. Han Jie takes pains to select a wedding ring – have a good laugh when he tells the assistant that it is fine that it isn't demure as the bride-to-be isn't feminine too. But he gets tense and doesn't want her to wear a mini skirt. En Can cracks up upon seeing how conservative he is despite being educated overseas.

Both quarrel over this marriage matter on Han Cheng's wedding day too. He doesn't understand why En Can is so stubborn to want to be independent to refuse his help to support her family. She wants to marry him but not now – 5 years later after becoming a barista. He gets so mad with her that he blurts that he wants a breakup since she blames him for making his own decision. He finds that she has not loved himto the extent of marrying him now. He only wants to chat with her and eat together at all times.

Upon seeing that En Can gets interested to go overseas to study for 2 years due to Grandmother's suggestion, he keeps interrupting. This scene is sure funny to show how helpless he is to dissuade her. En Can hasn't wanted to get a single cent from him so she will not want Grandmother's help. But alas, his guess is wrong as she is keen. How can they part for 2 years when he can't even imagine not seeing her for a single day? He decides to give in to her but he is very reluctant to let her leave.

It is funny that most women will be doubtful of their boyfriends to have a change of heart. In this case, Han Jie gets so tense up that he doesn't even want En Can to appear anywhere when she is in U.S.! Being afraid that she will have sore feet after standing for a long time, he gets her a pair of shoes. It is rumoured that lovers will run away when shoes are given so he adds in a magic spell. He write these words ' you are mine!' in the shoes! (This is like what Shen Qi Zhong does to Li Qing Xi by writing these words under her table in 'All About Eve' too.)

Han Jie tries to be more intimate with En Can but she retracts from him. This woman can drive him up the wall – touching him at work to arouse his temptation. The poor man gets sweaty as he tries so hard to suppress his urge. He is very amused when she dozes off midway during their conversation. So he sings to her to wake her up in the morning at the attic of his home – what a romantic sight!

En Can sleeps with him for a night before she leaves. This makes him feel worse and he doesn't dare to send her off at the airport. He cries when getting her farewell call. He looks forward to her return after 2 years and plans to set up a coffee princess second branch. He yells when En Can decides to continue her studies for one more year. Isn't this against the contract?

But he still gives in to her again and the other guys pity him to be a monk for another year again. Business is prospering and getting shorthanded. He plans to hire a female barista and this woman can be so greedy to want her salary doubled when she comes for the interview. He sighs and suddenly his beloved En Can appears in front of him. She only wants to be fed regularly.

She is pleased that he hasn't changed all these years. He grumbles that he has dark circles around his eyes after she lies to him she will not return soon as he simply misses her too much! He can't hide his excitement and declares to the other coffee princes over her return to bring her back. He decides that they should get married and not part anymore.

Gong Yoo is versatile in his acting, creating many comical and romantic moments with his credible effort. He has a lot of chemistry with Eun Hye. Also baring his chest to show off his physique – he is indeed a clothes hanger as the clothes look well on him. Although not very handsome looking, he is charming with his cute smiles. What a pity of him to go for his national service after this drama becomes a hit!

2. Gao En Can: Yoon Eun Hye
She is a tomboyish 24-year-old. Whenever she leaves her home, girls will scream to use their handphones to take photos of her, screaming aloud. Little do they know that she is actually a woman and not a guy. She holds many jobs to keep ends meet – noodles delivery, taekwondo coach and also milk delivery. After her father's death, she uses 8 years to secure the family income.
Her father loves coffee and this trains her to distinguish the different coffee beans. After becoming a coffee prince, her dream is to become a barista. Her only consolation is to play with Han Cheng's dog, Terry daily. She doesn't know its name but calls it 'little broom'. She loses the first two jobs. The home rent goes up, her mother loses her friend's expensive ring and also En Xi's fees leave her no choice but to crossdress as a man to work in Han Jie's café. She requests Hong to keep her gender a secret from Han Jie to keep her job.

The two cousins are much older than her so she calls them uncles. Han Cheng knows that she is a woman but Han Jie doesn't. He is only puzzled why she cries easily and doesn't behave like a man whenever he scolds her. Whenever she is angry with someone, she will demand the person to look into her eyes to apologise to her formally. That happens to Han Jie and Ha Lin.

She is a glutton and Han Jie is dismayed that she eats even more than him. She is also a good drinker and has a sensitive nose to distinguish good coffee beans from bad ones. But Han Jie is a poor drinker as he becomes drunk after a cup and she has to drag him back to the taekwondo school to sleep.

Seeing that she holds so many jobs, Han Jie pays her the amount she deserves and even extra by giving away his watch to help her. Be amused when many think that she is a man and she gets hit for going into a female public bath to deliver food and she gasps in horror whenever Han Jie appears in front of her, revealing his torso. Han Jie wrongs En Can for placing an order. She confides in Han Cheng. He cheers her up and sends her home. She starts to fall for him.

En Can is helpful to persuade Hong to allow Ha Lin and Shan Qi to stay with him. But both men are dismayed to see how untidy he is although the rental is low. Han Jie has a scare upon knowing that she loves him. Not knowing that she is a woman, he even goes to see a psychiatrist to adjust his feelings. She confides in Han Cheng her worry to let Han Jie know that she is a woman. He is the first she runs to when losing her job too. Han Cheng tries his best to console her.

She has no courage to tell Han Jie the truth because he may be leaving for the U.S. soon if the café doesn't earn the profits his grandmother wants. She doesn't wish to part with him and moreover she isn't the outstanding woman that his family desires. She wishes to be a barista through her own means before marrying Han Jie so that their disparity will not be too wide. Grandmother is initially nice to her as she treats her as a man. But her attitude towards her changes upon knowing that she is a woman.

En Can is dependent on her father in the past. Now, she doesn't want to be independent on her boyfriend. She starts to ponder Han Jie's words. He has given up his job and has goes through all odds to go against his family to be with her. Now her pride is hindering her from accepting him. But Grandmother's suggestion makes her ponder over it.

En Can manages to win over her in-laws. Although the expenses overseas are expensive, she still calls Mrs Cui frequently to find out Grandmother's taste to choose an appropriate present for her. Mr Cui also finds her easy-going when he meets her on his business trip. Grandmother finally accepts her too.

How can the guys not know that she is a woman? When will a man cry so much like her when getting reprimanded? This is totally impossible. Eun Hye is believable as a tomboy as her efforts are commendable. However, I don't think En Can is a person who will shed tears so easily in front of others as she is strong in character. Thus I still feel that her best is in Goong and not here.

3. Chui Han Cheng : Lee Sun Kyoon
He is Han Jie's elder cousin and is equally uninterested as Han Jie to manage the family business. He is a music producer. Unlike Han Jie's parents who has time for him, his parents are workaholics so he is often alone, listening to music at home. He develops this interest. He also yearns for freedom – thus like Han Jie, he also stays alone although he is also close to the other family members.

He is gentle and takes things easily. He is also confident and firm to do what he wants. But he can also be persistent and stubborn as he is involved in the arts. Even with first acquaintances, he will give his gentle smile and shows closeness. But he will not open his heart that easily so no one really understands him.

He nurses a broken heart since You Zhu dumps him for DK so he focuses his attention on music making. Thus he is negative towards women and feels insure. But we can see how warm he is to En Can upon knowing that she is the cute girl who plays with his dog daily. He even confides his love life with her. The bond between the two comes close because of Terry.

His life gets into a mess as he can't concentrate at work when she is back so he slowly accepts You Zhu. En Can only knows that both guys are cousins on the café opening. She pleads with him not to tell Han Jie the truth. He tries so hard not to laugh – she doesn't look like a man to him as it is so obvious – is Han Jie pretending that he doesn't know? He finds it unbelievable. Still, he keeps it a secret.

He is very chauvinistic – wanting You Zhu to put him above her career. That is why he distances himself from her upon reading her interview report but he can't help coming back to her upon knowing that she is ill. Feeling that En Can isn't being treated like a woman, he invites her to You Zhu's art exhibition. But this woman's poor dress and make-up sense nearly causes him to have a heart attack.

He has to bring her for a make-over session. And he is totally fascinated by her beauty when she steps out of the dressing room. He quickly carries her in his arms when she nearly trips. Seeing that she is in low spirits when En Can quits, he gives her a ride in his car to cheer her up. He also gets her into his music studio to listen to his new pieces besides giving her calls.

It is strange that he allows Han Jie to get his way to be with You Zhu. He is simply too tolerant towards him even though he is his younger brother. You Zhu discovers that he is attracted to En Can and decides to leave for the U.S. with DK. Even though his likeness towards her is only a short wile, she doesn't forgive him. She disappears and he falls ill when searching around for her.

He is confident that they will not part as they have been together for 10 years. Although she stays later, he takes a long time to make her nod to his marriage proposal. This is even more pitiful than Han Jie when En Can returns him the loan she owes him. It is strange that his parents do not return to Korea for his wedding as they are workaholics. They even want him to fit their schedule but Grandmother tells him to go ahead. The couple has some conflicts after getting married but they manage to iron out their differences.

As compared to Eun Hye and Gong Yoo, Sun Kyoon is not in his top form. I find his acting quite plain and flat although he does compliment Jung Ahn well.

4. Han You Zhu : Chae Jung Ahn
You Zhu is an artist who is more beautiful than her paintings and leaves Han Cheng to pursue her dreams overseas. Some people describe her to be as attractive as the fireworks. Her silky long hair doesn't hinder her for becoming a wild person. She likes simple dressing and is sexy. Being approachable, she gets along with people easily. But she is like Han Cheng – afraid to get hurt because of her parents' failed marriage.

She loves Han Cheng but being an artist is more important to her. She suits Han Cheng well as both are interested in the arts. After breaking up with DK – who is another artist in the U.S., she can't forget Han Cheng and returns 2 years later. Han Cheng can't forgive her for leaving without a word and treats her coldly. Even though they are together for a while, the gap is there. His heart is shut.

Han Jie gets her to draw a wall painting for the café and she spends the night doing it there. He prepares red wine for her. She has a bad habit of leading men on, especially the cousins. She makes Han Jie come to her when she is sick. But she knows well that she is only interested in Han Cheng.

She feels insecure when Han Cheng smiles broadly whenever he sees En Can. (But has she considered from his stand when seeing her so intimate with Han Jie?) Han Cheng even allows En Can to shower at his home and pushes her bicycle for her to send her out. She is devastated that she loses both her men to En Can. She is very dominating – wanting Han Jie to love only her and not another woman. She admits being childish and immature – liking to use DK to make Han Cheng jealous. But this is to get his attention.

Poor DK is often used as the scapegoat to anger Han Cheng. Han Zhu even wants to escape to the U.S. with him as he buys her paintings. But he doesn't mind it. He only wants her to face her true feelings. And his taste on tea has changed now – so there is no use telling Han Cheng how they shop in the U.S. in the past. She returns to Han Cheng as she has never thought of getting ditched by him.

She always thinks that he loves her more than her. But when she sees his eyes on En Can, she realises the reverse. The two couples have a celebration – she knows that Han Jie has not really loved her as he has never wooed her. She is like a habit to him. She is pregnant with Han Cheng's child but doesn't reply to his proposal. He is speechless when she prepares the rings to propose to him instead!

After her marriage, she is still a workaholic to work long hours and drink wine. Han Cheng is unhappy over it and quarrels with her. She has a miscarriage and regrets her act. For the next 2 years, she doesn't get pregnant and returns to the hospital for checkups. Han Cheng doesn't blame her and is contented that they are together. They go for a bike trip to cheer each other up.

Jung Ahn is amazingly pretty and is also an amazing actress. She is able to play this reckless and possessive role well. However, she can do better in anger and bitter scenes. The same expression sometimes kills all the excitement for me.

5. Pres. Hong: Kim Chang Wan
He is in charge of this Prince café branch but business is dipping despite the fact that he brews very nice coffee. He is a close friend of the Cui family so Grandmother decides to help him. Still, En Can appreciate his talents in brewing coffee and often patronizes him. He is the only one in the café to know En Can's secret. Initially he doesn't see how the café should be renovated and why he should look after so many inexperienced young men. But slowly they form a strong bond when they look up to him as an uncle.

In order to save money, Ha Lin and Shan Qi even offer to stay wit him. But be startled by his home. It is strewn with rubbish everywhere. Ha Lin nearly cries – he might be dead one day due to poor living conditions. Although he doesn't approve of Han Jie's way of managing initially, he has to admit that the renovation helps to improve his business. Many queue for their coffee early in the morning. Min Ye accidentally places the wrong order for too much coffee beans. Hong has the wits to sell them out in bulk after frying them.

Displeased with Han Jie firing En Can for making him suffer over her crossed sexuality status, he also leave the café – only wanting to return when Han Jie's 3 month deal is up. He simply doesn't understand why Han Jie chooses to torture himself as he should be happy that En Can is a woman. He encourages Mrs Gao to accept Mr Qiu as he has waited for her for a long time. Hong shakes his head upon knowing that Grandmother had tried to buy over En Can for a breakup with money. Grandmother doesn't find En Can satisfying in any area but Hong finds her more outstanding than Han Jie.

She teaches him how to communicate well with the other coffee princes. She also gives him ideas for the café. She also manages to make the café earn money too. Shan Qi and the others find Hong too forgiving to be unable to forget his ex-girlfriend. Hong's ex-girlfriend cheats him of his money and leaves him to marry another man. She has a son now and he is happy for her.

6. Ji Ha Lin: Kim Dong Wook
He is Han Jie's close friend and regards him as an elder brother. En Can thinks that his father is a butcher but he comes from a family of doctors. But he prefers to stay away from home as he doesn't want to be a doctor. He is talkative and often loves to make fun of En Can.

But he has talent in interior design and is able to transform the café with a modern concept although he makes all do DIY to save money. He is one of the 'princes' hired. He sides En Can when she is fired the first time but not the second time because she torments Han Jie. He grumbles being shorthanded when she and Hong leave and the other guys attribute this due to him.

When the two return, all are overjoyed. He laments that he should have wooed her earlier if he knows that she is a woman. But he is also shy upon recalling that he shows her the tattoo on his butt in the past! The guys give En Can lots of chores to do. Han Jie is worried that she might overwork – he yells at Ha Lin not to call En Can 'Mycan' anymore as she is 'Hiscan'. Can't they respect her as a woman?

Even though they think that Han Jie overreacts, you will be amused to see how they serve their 'Madam'. Min Ye carries her to sit on a chair and uses an umbrella to shelter her from the sun. Ha Lin fans her while Shan Qi gives her a cold drink. The other guys shake their heads over Min Ye choosing Ha Lin to be his love consultant. All of them have experienced true love except him – how can he be reliable?

Ha Lin is actually hiding his misery. His father's hospital closes down but he hopes that he can make a comeback again. He cries on En Can's last day of work – to give her a letter. How will everyday be without 'MyCan' at work? He thanks her for providing laughter to all.

Dong Wook is a born natural – he handles all the comical scenes with ease – almost stealing the glamour from Eun Hye in the coffee prince uniform. My colleagues even comment that he looks like Rain at certain angles so he should become famous in no time.

7. Yin Shan Qi: Kim Jae Wook

Have you ever seen a guy painting his fingernails? Well, he is one. He ties his hair in a ponytail and opens an illegal pancake stall near the café. Han Jie tries getting him to work for him but he prefers to be his own boss. Only after when it is confiscated, he then decides to join them. He seems cold and talks little. All knows that he is angry when he speaks in Japanese. But whenever the other guys have fun teasing one another, he will join in. He knows that Hong's living quarter's condition is poor so he always puts mosquito coils around his bed!

When En Can is back, all the others show their delight openly but he only gives a grin. He slowly confides in Min Ye about himself. He is actually a Japanese but his mother is a Korean. So Min Ye reveals to him that En Can is a woman! En Can is stunned when he asks her how she manages to flatten her chest!

En Xi gets interested in him besides dating Min Ye so En Can warns her not to double-date. But En Can starts to find herself liking both cousins and is in a dilemma. You will laugh at how much the guys miss En Can when she quits. Ha Lin keeps yelling that he wants her back while Min Ye nags that he keeps calling her but gets no answer. As for Shan Qi, his method is indirect. He asks when she will be back as he needs her to taste her food!

He is devoted to his Japanese ex-girlfriend and has been looking for her for 3 years. She is running away from her abusive husband with her teenage son. Min Ye once regards him as his love rival. But upon knowing this, this soft man actually weeps for him. He is swift to get Min Ye to grab the handphone from Shan Qi and lock him in the bedroom to prevent him from telling Han Jie.

Shan Qi doesn't approve of Ha Lin's way of revealing En Can's secret to Han Jie before her. He should have given her the privacy. When En Can is forced to leave, he tries in vain to stand up for her and goes with Min Ye to console her when she silently clears her cupboard. When she is back, he encourages her to keep Han Jie in Korea as he likes her as a man so he will stay since he knows the truth.

He finds his ex and treats her well. But this is a burden to her and she still hides. He plans to wait for her. He is equally upset to let En Can leave. His eyes are red when he gives a farewell handshake. He doesn't like the new coffee princess hired to help him to touch his utensils at work. But he is later kinder to her upon knowing that she has taken up Japanese and both often converse in this language.

Jae Wook also stands out in this role – not because he looks different from the rest but because he also shows the many faces of Shan Qi. This role is very complicated to be serious and also warm too. He manages to hold the forte on his own.

8. Huang Min Ye: Lee Eon
He wants to woo En Xi but loses out to En Can as he can't eat more than her. To fulfil En Xi's dream, he tries to steal You Zhu's handbag but En Can beats him up. Seeing that he looks pitiful, she lets him go but Han Jie misunderstands her to be his accomplice. Still, both become friends and Han Jie hires him to work for him as he is strong. Min Ye gets drunk one day and kisses En Can on her lips.

She gets so mad to stuff his mouth with onions and chilli. Han Jie gets jealous and asks how she feels. She replies that she likes Han Jie more. He discovers that his 'love rival' is actually En Xi's sister when both come out of the women's bath. He is big-sized but timid. All will be amused to see how he cries easily.

His senior is sick so he resigns to help him out at his eatery roadside stall. Han Jie is frustrated with him for not turning up for work and agrees without finding out. But after knowing the truth, Han Jie even helps him out in their cooking!

He is quite retarded. Hong can see that Han Jie is interested in En Can although both pickle on each other. He thinks that Han Jie is actually checking on her to make sure that she doesn't laze on the job! He doesn't watch his tongue – first to reveal En Can's secret to Shan Qi and later to Ha Lin. He cries and passes a box of cosmetics to En Can on her last day of work. He knows that she will become pretty after applying it. How wise he is! All will be happy when he becomes a part-time model and becomes En Xi's boyfriend.

The four coffee princes are restless when En Can aren't around. They look forward to her return. They practically hug her tightly and parades with her on the street when she is back.

Who can believe that Lee Eon is a model with minimal acting experience? He comes across silly and boorish but yet adorable. He is magnificent too! Besides Dong Wook, he can be an excellent comedian too.

9. Grandmother: Kim Young Ok
It seems that she doesn't like any woman. She dislikes Han Jie's natural mother. She also doesn't approve to Mrs Cui initially too. You Zhu also doesn't please her. What's more about the boyish En Can? All will laugh upon seeing how she loves to play computer games and deserts. She gives in to Han Jie all the time but decides that this is not going to help him anymore so she lets him handle an old café.

This time round, she can keep his car to force him to take cabs. She is aware of Han Jie's parentage but treats him well. Mr Cui is Hong's good friend so she invents in his café. But unbearable to see how it keeps losing money, she commands Han Jie to cover the losses soon.

You Zhu is unable to get close to her. As easy-going she may seem to play with En Can, she refuses her status as Han Jie's girlfriend. Han Jie has never brought his friends back home during his school days and this is his first time bringing En Can back. She must be very special to him. She looks neither a man nor a woman to her. En Can also doesn't come from a well-to-do family too so she looks down on her.

Her impression of En Can changes upon knowing that she is independent. She knows that En Can is interested in coffee making and offers to finance her studies so that she can leave Han Jie for only 2 years. She decides that Mrs Gao must be independent now and can't rely on En Can all the time. En Can starts to waver upon thinking of making her wish come true. She finally gives in to the couple upon seeing how caring En Can is towards her.

12. Mr Chui: Choi Il Hwa
He communicates little with Han Jie and both are in cold war for years. Not because he dislikes him or not showing him any concern. He and his friend, Ming Cai were in love with Han Jie's natural mother. But she chose to marry Ming Cai who is an architect. He flies around the world for building construction. So this runs in Han Jie's blood to love manufacturing toys too.

However, their marriage failed and she died in a car accident – Ming Cai was away then and Mr Chui could not get him. He chooses to adopt Han Jie and it is a pleasure for him to bring him up. He also considers him as his successor to take over his business in future. He doesn't stop Ming Cai from acknowledging him if he wishes to. Unlike the other two women who are dismayed over Han Jie's love choice, he is calm and delighted. When Mrs Cui describes how intimate the two are and how Han Jie's eyes sparkle when talking about En Can, he smiles too! He has accepted her even before meeting her.

13. Mrs Chui : Kim Ja Ok
She comes from a rich family and is very demure. She dotes on Han Jie and tries very hard to tie him down with marriage proposals. She treats him as her own son and even prepares for Han Jie's mother's death anniversary yearly. She strikes a deal with Mr Chui – to pretend that Han Jie is his mistress's son so that he will not feel neglected. Her own family doesn't know it. Her sister even blames her for being so nice to a mistress. Unknown to them, Han Jie overhears it and feels hurt.

Still, he pretends that nothing is wrong and still treats her as his real natural mother. She is afraid that Ming Cai will demand for Han Jie and is relieved that he doesn't. Luckily he doesn't as he has another 20 year old son. She is definitely an angel to tell Han Jie to send Ming Cai off. She is tongue-tied too upon knowing that En Can is a woman and only plans to marry Han Jie when she is 30. That means that Han Jie is 35 years old then. After speaking to her, she finds her independent and has a good impression of her.

She finds You Zhu too cold and distant while En Can is very approachable. That is why she tries to sing praises for En Can with Mr Chui.

14. Mrs Gao : Park Won Sook
She is a spendthrift and is jobless, reliant on En Can to work and pay the bills. Like En Can, she is close to two men. However, she treats Hong like a brother while Qiu is the one she likes. She agrees to marry him after En Can settles down. Still, she isn't selfish to let En Can pursue her dream.

15. Gao En Xi: Han Ye In
She is as unrealistic and vain as her mother, wanting to be a singer. To pursue her dream to get more money, she can even become a loanshark in school! However, she doesn't have the singing ability and keeps failing each audition. But thanks to her, all the guys become popular and the café's business prospers as she posts a clip on them on the website.

She seems to dislike Han Jie but later regards him as her brother-in-law to want him to wait for a year till she graduates from high school to get a job. She heaves a sigh of relief upon knowing that Han Jie hasn't thought of giving up En Can. She also starts to appreciate Min Ye and accepts him again.

16. Mr.Qiu: Lee Han Wi
He is a butcher and is Mrs Gao's secret admirer. He regards Hong as his love rival and refuses to give him any chance to get close to Mrs Gao.

Most favourite character
Han Jie – he is accommodating to his staff and filial to the elders in his family. He is also devoted to En Can. He loves her so deeply that he is willing to let her pursue her dream despite having to wait for her for 2 years. My colleagues comment that Director Yin should be like him to let Shan Mei go to London and not keep her by his side selfishly in 'All About Eve'.

Most hated character
None, because there is no villain in here.

Interesting facts

Gong Yoo was often portrayed as an immature guy in other dramas. That was why he was happy to take up this role. Although it was equally playful, he is now a man and not a teenager. Unlike Han Jie in the drama, he hardly followed the fashion scene. He only dons simple dressing. Both women in the drama are not his dream lovers. It is not that they are not good. He wants a balance of both. He likes women who are confident in their dressing – especially those who know how to manage their hairstyles well.

If there are 3 women – one who has silky hair, another has a perfect figure and the last to have a pretty face, he will choose the first. Of course, it will be best if the woman possesses all three qualities! His dream lover must also be kind, feminine and mature to understand his job. He will be very dependent on his girlfriend when in love. His mother has beautiful fingers so he will also have the tendency to watch ladies' hands. He will give extra points if they have nice toes too. He had 3 love relationships in the past and felt that he can handle affairs better now since he is older.

Unlike Sun Gyoon and Jung Ahn who adore the Shepard dog, Terry, Eun Hye was very scared of dogs. Although it was tame and well-trained, it often gave her shocks and loved to bark at her. Many had said that any actor with Eun Hye would become popular. This drama proved her right again. The two could not understand why she was so frightened as Terry enjoyed being with them and practically enjoyed any bath session they offered him.

The script never left Gong Yoo's side over the film set. He was also alert in checking all details so many called him the honest man. They praised him for working hard to become an outstanding actor. His overseas fans from China, Japan, and Taiwan accompanied him everywhere to give him support.

Gong Yoo may look like a prince but he handles affairs like a commoner. He will consult his close friends for help. Of course, if the love affairs depress him, he will not shun the thought of approaching a psychiatrist. It will be better than letting his imagination run wild.

The reporters were shocked to see Eun Hye in a short hairstyle during the drama promotion. She had shed her baby fat successfully. The two actors even pretended to be infuriated with her. She did not hesitate to take up the role as she had taken up 2 lively roles. If she doesn't improve, she is not going to be a good actress. She found that a man behaves differently from a woman.

That was why there were many times she forgot to be 'manly'. She was glad that she didn't need to apply makeup and only used foundation. She had more time for sleep during these 3 months, past caring about her appearance. She didn't think acting as man is tough. She was a singer so she hesitated cutting her hair short. But having long hair will not make En Can distinctive. Moreover, her hair will grow back soon and it was hard to get a good script like this one.

She was even chased out of the toilet once because the ladies thought that she was a man in the coffee prince uniform. Her appearance in Taiwan in a white top and black slacks made her look taller than usual. Unlike other stars, she admitted that she was lazy to preserve her looks. She only used normal 20 minutes massage daily before washing her face with the normal moisturizer.

After the shoot, Eun Hye treated all to a barbeque. Gong Yoo and her kept encouraging each other during filming. She was chosen to be the lead and the novel author, Lee Sang Mi also insisted that Gong Yoo was the only person suitable for the role. But Gong Yoo was worried that he might not work up to expectations as his past dramas in 7 years were not very well-received. However, it proved his worries were unfounded.

The director already had him in mind when designing for Han Jie. She wanted the fashion designer to design clothes for him. Gong Yoo enjoys walking around the set with either slippers without a belt or shoes without socks. Even in a normal top, he would look like an aristocrat. Sure enough, Gong Yoo swept many women off their feet in his white shirt and kitted sleeveless vests. No wonder En Can pleads with him not to wear it or women will look at him.

Still, it is impossible for him to love a man. He understands the feeling but he cannot not love a man because he isn't gay. He counts himself lucky as no gay has approached him as yet or he will not know how to react. Han Jie loves En Can not because she is cute or pretty to protect her but he is totally attracted. The feeling is unexplainable. Gong Yoo believes that Han Jie becomes more mature after knowing that En Can is a woman. Han Jie is a romantic person who knows a man's feelings best.

He has thought that he knows love as he loves You Zhu single-sided for 9 years. This is not necessarily true as no one can defeat love. Even though Han Jie is tortured, he can't control himself. This is love? This is Gong Yoo's analogy when he is Han Jie. Many find that Gong Yoo is more matured than he looks. He was once scared of getting hurt so he was hesitant. He became better after becoming an actor.

The director had a long talk with him to understand him better. She was confident that he could meet her demands. He designed many actions that surprised her. Gong Yoo once thought that Eun Hye only depended on luck to become a popular singer. He soon found that she was talented. Many would be selfish and only consider about themselves. Eun Hye was considerate to care for her co-stars.

He has worked with actresses older than him in the past. That was better than working with rebellious younger co-stars. That was why he often ended up loving older women in real life. Many admired his physique but he didn't like exercising. He only went to the gym more often a few weeks before the shoot. He wasn't overly thrilled over the success as he still needed to work harder in future.

He felt that Eun Hye looked better without makeup. But when he said that to hope that she would not apply it at all, she looked at him in disbelief. Did he say something wrong? (This can be contradictory to what Eun Hye claimed so it is up to you to guess who is right) En Can should be as free and daring as a guy but Eun Hye still looked demure in some scenes to him. However, this was acceptable as it was hard to change habits which stayed for 20 over years. However, when she started to sit 'unruly', the young guys start to feel shy.

Did he fall in love with Eun Hye? Gong Yoo admitted that he was immersed in the role but the feelings faded after shooting. He found the period retracting from the roles getting shorter after each drama. Han Jie was similar to him in loving a person deeply. That was why he even asked himself – what if he really loved a man in real life?

There was a scene where Eun Hye was required to step on a bicycle down a slope. Even actors faced the risk of getting hurt but she made it. To make sure that En Can's voice was hoarse, she went to KTV to make her voice sound so. Her enthusiasm touched him and changed his mind of regarding her only as a singer. This made him found his past desire to act well again – like a patient who just recovered from an op.

Sun Gyoon was 33 years old when acting for this role. It was late for many to be a popular actor but now even students became his fans. His acting of the likeable Han Cheng won their hearts. Han Cheng isn't a successful CEO but he is like a caring elder brother to En Can. Many said Sun Gyoon was sensitive and cold but can a person have such a warm smile?

Sun Gyoon describes this role as closest to him in real life. He is also direct to bare his feelings to his loved ones. He found acting in here more comfortable than in 'White Tower'. That MV where Han Cheng sings a song to You Zhu makes all notice his low voice. He doesn't know how to play the piano so the producer arranges him to sing instead. He is shocked when it was aired over the radio so often. He thanked all for accepting his tactless singing.

He is interested in fashion but doesn't bother to choose the clothes. He wears spectacles in real life so he keeps buying frames himself. He loves collecting them. The black rimmed glasses that he wears in the drama was bought from the street one day. He hopes to get married by 35 years old. He wants his future wife to roam easily in the market with him and both must be comfortable with each other.

When asked which actress fits his criteria, he answers that both are good. One is cute while the other is feminine. It is too hard for him to make a choice. He hopes to become a senior actor to lead his juniors and then can get married soon after paying off his loan. That is why he hardly chooses scripts. He will take up any challenge that is given to him.

The guys became dreamy after seeing the two large penthouses that Han Cheng and Han Jie stay the drama. Goo Yoo loved the balcony where he could watch the sunset and he often ran around barefooted. They were reluctant to leave them after the shooting and vowed to buy similar houses once they save up enough money. They took lots of photos on the inner designs as remembrance.

When it was first shown for 4 weeks, the viewership reached 20%. It hit 30% for the last episode. Here are the results of the MBC television awards 2007. Eun Hye won the top excellence actress award while Gong Yoo obtained the excellence actor award. The golden performance award in the mini-series category went to Sun Gyoon.

Conclusion

If you have watched 'He's woman, she's a man' by Leslie Cheung Kok Wing and Anita Yuen Wing Yee, this drama isn't that peculiar to you. In fact, I wonder why the Korean audience made a big fuss as it is no big deal. I am very biased to adore that movie version more. The part where Eun Hye impersonates as a guy reminds me of how Yuen does it. This movie is hard to watch and hard to forget.

They also copied the line that Cheung mentioned to her – 'I am not bothered by what you are regardless of being a man or woman. I only like who you are'. Cheung portrays more in depth on the struggle of Kar Ming's feelings for Chi Wing than Gong Yoo. Still, both act well as a couple in their first attempt.

Why do some women just leave their men the way they like without telling them? This seems to be the trend in numerous dramas like 'My Girl', 'Bride at 18', 'My Name is Kim Sam Soon', “Air City' and 'My Fair Lady'. There is no exception for this one too so this drama doesn't offer that many surprises.

As you can gather from the normal Korean drama pattern, it is about how two lovers who turn their mutual dislike into true love. It is a sweet and romantic comedy. Nothing special, nothing smart but I must give credit to the coffee princes. Regardless of young and old, they become so distinctive that they seize the glamour from the leads. I believe many will feel the same way as me too.

Sukting's ratings :

On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

On songs : *** (Scale of 5) (sounds overly sweet with too much sugar by the female singers's voice.)


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