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?



Coffee Break

Coffee is a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to your older self. ~~~ Terry Pratchett (Thud!)

I love coffee breaks, not only because I scream for caffeine every once in a while, but also because real conversations are made over a cup of coffee and sometimes, much love and care is shown when somebody serves it to you.

When I was single, my friends and I would go to a coffee shop after work or on the weekend after some shopping and dinner. While enjoying our favorite coffee, frap, or tea, we’d talk about work, (harmless) gossips, love life, our future, mostly desultory topics. Our male friend was strongly opposed to this idea of spending an hour or two at a posh coffee shop just to talk. He said we could go to one of our friends’ apartment, drink cheap instant coffee there and do the same thing… TALK. I don’t know exactly what it is with coffee shops, but for me and my female friends, a coffee shop is the best place to talk.

My husband and I are always busy. I go to work. He goes to work. I come home at 10 or 10:30 PM. He comes home around 2 or 3 AM. We barely have time to talk on weekdays. When he comes home, I’m already asleep. Though I wake up when I hear him enter the room, we talk just for a while. We rarely wake up early in the morning to have breakfast. We spend the rest of the morning in bed, playing blanket tug o’ war! ^^ Usually, we have lunch together before going to work. After lunch, we have about 10 minutes to drink coffee and have our important conversation for the rest of the day.

On the weekend, we like to have a movie marathon or watch our favorite TV series, Grimm and NCIS. We have two breaks: toilet break, and yes, you’ve guessed it… coffee break. ^^ When we watch, we don’t really talk while having a sip of coffee, but the coffee typifies how much we truly care for each other. When one of us says, “May I have coffee?”, the other goes to the kitchen right away and fixes the drink. It’s not a simple errand, it’s a simple sign of love.

Sometimes I spend too much time getting dressed and putting on make-up that I don’t have time to eat lunch. My husband would fix me a cup of coffee and put it on my dresser. That always makes me smile. When I say “Thank you”, I don’t really thank him for the coffee… I thank him for the love and care.

Last month, when I had my vacation in the Philippines, my Mom would prepare my breakfast every morning. No matter how busy she was with cooking, she would stop whatever she was doing and fix me my favorite coffee. At times, my sister would offer me coffee. We would sit in the living room sofa and talk like we never did when we lived in the same house. Not only does a coffee break or coffee itself reveal how much a person cares for you, it also tells how much a person missed you and longed to spend lovely mornings or afternoons with you.

In the hagwon (academy) where I teach, I get a 10-minute break before each class starts. I used to drink 5 to 6 cups of coffee at work, but now I try to reduce my caffeine intake, so I drink just one cup of coffee a day and green tea in most breaks.  It is essential for me to keep my coffee break at work, though technically, I don’t drink coffee all the time. What makes my coffee break so important? I spend it to have meaningful conversations with my students before we start the class. Sometimes, when the students are not in the classroom, I stay in the office and talk to my co-teachers over coffee or tea. We learn a lot from one another and build friendship from these little coffee breaks.

Have you had your coffee break? Perhaps you need one right now. Spend it joyfully. Have a beautiful day! ^^