From Korea with Love

"I carry your heart with me… always."

Bubble Tea in South Korea


It’s getting warmer in South Korea. It seems as if we will have an early summer. Today, before heading to my Korean language class, I had a sudden craving for 팥빙수 (patbingsushaved ice dessert similar to halo-halo in the Philippines), but I couldn’t find any coffee shop or a restaurant that sells it near the center, so I opted for a cold drink instead. I saw some girls enjoying their bubble tea, so I also got me one.


There are a number of bubble tea kiosks in Gangnam station. 365CHA is one of them.

Bubble tea is a tea-based drink that originated from Taiwan. It is also called pearl milk tea, because it comes with chewy tapioca pearls. In the Philippines, we call it Zagu or pearl shake. Other names include boba drink or boba ice tea, boba nai cha or zhen zhou nai cha (in Chinese), black pearl tea, tapioca ball drink, BBT (short for Bubble Tea) and PMT (short for pearl milk tea).

Bubble tea can be fruit-flavored or mixed with milk. Some shops have the fruit-milk tea, so you can enjoy both blends. =)

Here in SK, they have hot bubble tea. In the Philippines, we have only cold bubble tea. I don’t like plain hot or with ice. I prefer smoothie. It’s very refreshing. ^^

In my country, bubble tea or Zagu, as we call it, costs around 40 to 60 PHP (1082 to 1623 KRW) (97 cents to 1.46 USD) depending on the size and flavor. Here in SK, it’s triple the price or more for a small cup!

So many flavors to choose from... Uhm, what shall I order? ^^

So many flavors to choose from… Uhm, what shall I order? ^^

I have tried caramel, chocolate and taro bubble tea before, but they didn’t please my palate, so today my choice was blueberry yogurt bubble tea smoothie. I love blueberry-flavored drinks! ^^


My choice wasn’t so bad, but I prefer the taste of Zagu. Philippine bubble tea is sweeter, richer and has more tapioca pearls.

Perhaps, I’ll try another flavor one of these days.

Have you tried bubble tea? What is your favorite flavor?

17 thoughts on “Bubble Tea in South Korea

  1. Whoah! Quite pricey there, too. ^^


  2. Thanks for including my post on bubble tea under ‘Related articles’. Much appreciated! My favourite bubble tea is pearl milk tea. I also like coconuy milk tea. I’ve tried other flavours e.g. chocolate, vanilla and they’re all too sweet for my palate. Here in Melbourne, Australia, bubble tea shops are literally everywhere in the city but one cup is rather pricey, at the very least $4.50 a cup without pearls!


  3. Yes, bubble tea in china is very affordable, cheap and everywhere, well most of the time I found some while put looking! That’s a shame that its so expensive in SK, it’s such a lovely drink on a hit summers day.


  4. Thank you, Francine, for including me to the list of blog/gers you salute. It is an honor to accept such appreciation from an inspiring writer like you. God bless you. More power to your blog. =)


  5. Hi, Janaline. =) I’ve heard that bubble tea is very cheap in China. Here in SK, it’s a bit pricey, same as the price of Starbucks coffee, so I’d rather buy frap than bubble tea. Bubble tea in Korea is not that sweet, too.


  6. I just LOVE bubble tea!! While traveling through China and Hong Kong I had it at every possible place!! I even went out looking for it in the evening if I didnt happen to pass a place during the day that sole Bubble tea!! Havent had the chance to taste it anywhere else so vcant compare but must say it was definitely not too sweet!


  7. It is a pleasure to read your blog. I salute you here:



  8. frankly I do not remember how much we paid for it because we got a special one for couple that was in a huge bowl like thing. but here in my little town (I am actually 2 hrs away from Chicago) we have a place called bubble tea and obviously hey sell these drinks and I think they charge under $5. they are pretty popular here.


  9. The last time I went to the Philippines. I tried lychee gong ja. You’re right, it’s more expensive compared to the usual zagu, but I still prefer zagu.


  10. Actually there are a lot of bubble tea shops in the Phils these days like Chatime, Gong Cha, Serenitea and more. I think it’s similar to the bubble tea shops there in korea. =) 40% more expensive than zagu but they taste more authentic =)


  11. Here in SK, there’s bubble tea almost everywhere. I don’t buy them often. I’d rather get a latte or frap from from my favorite coffee shop. They have the same price anyway. ^^ Is bubble tea expensive there in the US? Here they’re pretty pricey.


  12. I am in US and here I tried the coconut bubble tea in China town in Chicago. They have here a restaurant (can’t remember the name) there this drink sells a lot. They even made a window on the side of the restaurant to sell just the bubble tea from there.


  13. I love coconut, too, but I haven’t tried coconut flavored drink here in SK.


  14. The price of a larger cup of bubble tea here is the same as the price of regular Starbucks coffee. It’s crazy. =)


  15. Oh man. I want to move to Korea, but right now I’m in Taiwan; the drinks are less than $1USD and so amazing. I’m seriously going to miss them. I don’t know if I could stomach handing over that much money for milk tea.


  16. I tried it. Not really a favorite, but I did love the coconut flavor, I love coconut!


  17. Pingback: Bubble Tea | How Do You Brew Tea

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