Coffee, tea or him? - Why K-pop fans in Singapore are flocking to cafes

PHOTO: Twitter/HWANGDAY809

With K-pop royalty BTS and Blackpink holding concerts in Singapore this year, it seems like the K-pop craze is far from over.

And local fans are finding every opportunity to throw a party to celebrate occasions such as BTS getting invited to the Grammy's.

Just last year, fans from around the island organised a party in a cafe to celebrate the boy band's anniversary.

Looking at the queue, you'd think that the BTS boys would be showing up anytime. The catch? The boys did not attend their own party.

Instead, the long line outside the cafe was for a special BTS printed cup sleeve.

WHAT IS A CUP SLEEVE EVENT?

Originating in South Korea, cup sleeve events are held at cafes to celebrate an idol's birthday, anniversary or achievement.

"Celebrities who endorsed cafes would have their faces printed on cup sleeves. Over time, fans thought of using the sleeves as an advertising platform for their idols," shared Chermaine, an administrator of HotshotSG, a Singapore fan club for K-pop group Hotshot.

A cup sleeve event in South Korea for Wanna One member, Ong Seongwu. Photo: Asiaone

While such events are commonplace in South Korea, the craze only reached our sunny shores last year.

Just like a themed cafe, the venue is decorated with merchandise and posters of a K-pop group, making them hotspots for the 'gram. To receive a cup sleeve, fans will have to buy a beverage from the cafe.

HotshotSG was one of the first fan clubs in Singapore to kick off the frenzy by booking a cafe to celebrate member Ha Sung Woon's birthday.

They spent around $100 on the event, expecting it to be a small scale celebration. What the fan club didn't know was that it was starting a new trend.

A cup sleeve by HotshotSGPhoto: Twitter/HotshotSG
Fans leaving well wishes on post-it notes for Ha Sung Woon. Photo: Twitter/HotshotSG

EVERY ACHIEVEMENT A CELEBRATION

These days, cup sleeve events have extended from birthday parties, celebrating anything from anniversaries to the artists' army enlistments.

Cafes, like Selfie Cafe, have even provided the option of personalising lattes.Photo: Twitter/findtheeldorado

"Since we are not in South Korea to join in the celebration, why don't we organise our own party in Singapore?" said Shanna, an administrator for BTS fan club Bulletproof_SG. The fan club is the mastermind behind the BTS anniversary party that happened in June last year. 

Likewise, they spent around $100 on their party but did not expect a large turnout. Even members of the public were curious why a crowd of teenagers was queuing to go into a cafe.

While some may not fully understand the appeal of such events, K-pop fans see these parties as an avenue to connect with each other.

In fact, Bulletproof_SG says it has plans to weave in social responsibility to future events by collaborating with non-profit organisations to give back to the community.

With more fans joining in on the craze, it's safe to say these pop-up cafes won't be going away anytime soon.

"As long as there are fans who are willing to go all out for their idols, these events will definitely be here one way or another," Shanna added.

Here's wishing that their oppas will spring a surprise visit to one of these parties one day! To find out which upcoming cup sleeve events you can go to, click here.

kimberlyfoo@asiaone.com