Just a few years ago, it was hard to find bubble tea in South Korea. With the worldwide craze for the drink, however, many franchises have popped up as of late. In fact, there’s one shop in almost every neighbourhood! Here is a roundup of some of the popular bubble tea places in Korea:
This Taiwanese bubble tea franchise went global a couple of years ago, and for good reason. Gongcha stores can now be found roughly anywhere in Seoul, and there are several branches in other districts as well. The main appeal of Gongcha is its customizability—customers can change the base drink, topping, sugar level, and ice level! The wide range of toppings includes white and black tapioca pearls, coconut, aloe, and milk foam. The amount of control that one has over their Gongcha order is especially significant in South Korea, where living and eating clean is a cultural norm.
Amasvin is a cafe franchise in South Korea that is known for their (relative) affordability, with a classic milk tea with pearls that will only set you back W3200! They are different in that they offer some very unique types of milk tea, including rooibos and assam. The cafe is known for its fun experimentation with the drinks, and often features interesting flavours including “tiramisu bubble tea,” “roasted sweet potato bubble tea,” and “strawberry coconut bubble tea.” Amasvin also offers a range of baked goods, as well as other drinks that you can conveniently add tapioca pearls to!
- The Alley
The Alley is on the pricier end of the bubble tea spectrum, but definitely the place to go if you are interested in aesthetically-pleasing cafes. The company has a limited drink menu as they specialize in teas, and although it may seem like a drawback at first, this does mean that they have perfected each one of their menu items. The cup’s unique shape (rounded at the bottom), along with the attention to detail in every drink make The Alley’s bubble teas very Instagramable!
Unlike the other bubble tea shops on this list, Cofioca is not a franchise. Located in Apgujeong Rodeo, Cofioca is a popular spot that K-pop stars and trainees go for their fix of tapioca drinks (which also, unfortunately, drives up the price point). The store has a set menu that includes a large collection of drinks ranging from teas to smoothies, all with unique names such as the “Berry Berry drink.” The cafe is small but has a homey feel to it, and the walls are plastered with K-pop idols’ signatures. If you’re unsure of which drink to order, there is also a list of specific K-pop icons’ favourites on display as well, so you can order the same drink like your favourite celebrity!
If you ever find yourself in Korea, definitely make sure to try out one of these stores for some great bubble tea!
Written by Lynn Lee