Among the openings is Be-oom on Exmouth Market
While the coronavirus has led to businesses closing, there have also been openings in Clerkenwell. One such business is Be-oom on Exmouth Market, a Korean tea shop opened by proprietor Sooji Im just as the pandemic broke.
“It was unlucky timing,” says Sooji, who was to have opened the Thursday before lockdown was imposed. Instead, she opened Be-oom at the end of May, catering to customers who were stirring out of lockdown.
While business is still quite slow on Exmouth Market, as London’s only speciality Korean tea shop Sooji has a unique proposition and sells online as well as in her exquisitely appointed café-shop.
“In Korea tea culture is older than in Japan, but less well known,” she says. “For example, we have Malcha tea while the Japanese have Matcha.” The shop also has other teas in calm packaging, grown in farms in Korea that Sooji has personally chosen in the tea-growing areas of Boseong and Hadong
Over the last 20 years Clerkenwell and Exmouth Market have played a big part in London’s coffee culture and Be-oom is in the site of the late and lamented Brill café. But while there’s still much opportunity for caffeine maybe the time has come for tea to shine – particularly in that Be-oom has a meditative principle that could chime in a slower, post-viral world.
“The word ‘be-oom’ itself means ‘to empty’ and like the cup it’s good to allow the mind to empty and fill,” says Sooji. “Tea in Korea was traditionally taken as part of a calming part of meditation. We want to bring that tradition back and build moments of mindfulness into busy lives.”
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