Even just a couple of years ago, bubble tea was not very common in Seoul. You had to go to Coffioca in Apgu for a decent one, as the few other places that carried it weren't very good. Now, bubble tea has caught on particularly with a global franchise chain called "Gong Cha", and it can be found in almost every single area you go in and around Seoul! I was even at Vivaldi Park Ski resort and they had one there! There are other bubble teas shops that have opened as well, but for quality and consistency, Gong Cha is my favourite joint! I first had a bubble tea from a Gong Cha in Hong Kong. See HERE for other good HK eats!

What is what? Bubble Tea aka Pearl Milk tea aka Boba Milk Tea

Bubble Tea is a drink invented in Taichung, Taiwan in the 80's. The original hot black tea with small tapioca pearls is amazing in Taiwan - should definitely try it if you have the chance. Boba in Chinese means "large", and is used as a slang for representing the large sized tapioca balls. These chewy tapioca balls are also referred as pearls due to their shape and size. This is why this drink can be called interchangeably different things. There is also a wide variety of flavours, so it's not always called milk tea as some of the bases can be juice or just tea without any milk. You can get versions made as smoothies without any tea in it, and even coffee based drinks too.   

Wintermelon, Taro, Passion fruit all with tapioca pearls. No matter how many different kinds I've tried, the Taro milk tea, 30% sugar, full ice is always my go-to. Can't go wrong with that! I've tried a "real taro" bubble tea before, and it was gross. It actually tasted like a ground up vegetable root (which it is haha), but it was not the flavour I was expecting at all after drinking the fake purple power Taro version. I usually like things in their original natural state, but this Taro drink is one I'll have to stick with the fake purple powder! Love it!

Wintermelon, Taro, Passion fruit all with tapioca pearls. No matter how many different kinds I've tried, the Taro milk tea, 30% sugar, full ice is always my go-to. Can't go wrong with that! I've tried a "real taro" bubble tea before, and it was gross. It actually tasted like a ground up vegetable root (which it is haha), but it was not the flavour I was expecting at all after drinking the fake purple power Taro version. I usually like things in their original natural state, but this Taro drink is one I'll have to stick with the fake purple powder! Love it!

The best part about Gongcha is that you can adjust the sugar levels!!! Make sure not to mix up that 70% is 70% SWEET, not 70% UNsweet. So for example, if you want it less sweet, go lower on the number scale (100% being most sweet, and 0% being not sweet at all). My favourite combination is 30% and regular (full ice). SOME flavours like the wintermelon and the smoothies are not able to be adjusted on the sugar levels - so make sure you ask!

The best part about Gongcha is that you can adjust the sugar levels!!! Make sure not to mix up that 70% is 70% SWEET, not 70% UNsweet. So for example, if you want it less sweet, go lower on the number scale (100% being most sweet, and 0% being not sweet at all). My favourite combination is 30% and regular (full ice). SOME flavours like the wintermelon and the smoothies are not able to be adjusted on the sugar levels - so make sure you ask!

There are GongCha's opening everywhere overnight in and around Seoul! I swear every time I turn around there is another one that just opened!

There are GongCha's opening everywhere overnight in and around Seoul! I swear every time I turn around there is another one that just opened!

Some have large seating areas, others are smaller and some are just more more take-away. Usually, there will be a second floor so check to see if there is more seating upstairs!

Some have large seating areas, others are smaller and some are just more more take-away. Usually, there will be a second floor so check to see if there is more seating upstairs!

You have have soooo many different options for what kind of drink you want as well as what "toppings" you want inside.  In Korea, they have 2 sizes, regular and jumbo. The jumbo is like a normal size you would get in North America, and the regular is a bit bigger than a grande size cup you would get at Starbucks. The sizes are much smaller here in Korea so don't feel weird about getting a jumbo!

You have have soooo many different options for what kind of drink you want as well as what "toppings" you want inside. 

In Korea, they have 2 sizes, regular and jumbo. The jumbo is like a normal size you would get in North America, and the regular is a bit bigger than a grande size cup you would get at Starbucks. The sizes are much smaller here in Korea so don't feel weird about getting a jumbo!

This House Special you can get in the following flavours: Milk Green Tea, Milk Black Tea, Gong Cha Milk Alisan Tea, Milk Oolong Tea, Milk Black Forest. The reason I am showing you this is because the MILK FOAM you can get on this is SALTY!!! It sort of tastes like the seasalt FOAM you can get at 85degrees cafes (in California - apparently it's not a big thing in Taiwan) where I love their seasalt coffees and seasalt jasmine tea!

This House Special you can get in the following flavours: Milk Green Tea, Milk Black Tea, Gong Cha Milk Alisan Tea, Milk Oolong Tea, Milk Black Forest.

The reason I am showing you this is because the MILK FOAM you can get on this is SALTY!!! It sort of tastes like the seasalt FOAM you can get at 85degrees cafes (in California - apparently it's not a big thing in Taiwan) where I love their seasalt coffees and seasalt jasmine tea!

Click to see a close up the many different choices! For toppings, sometimes I like to get the grassroot or brown sugar jelly, but usually I get a half and half mix of tapioca pearls and coconut jelly. You can also order some drinks hot! In the winter, the ginger milk was a nice choice. 

What is your favourite combination of bubble tea???


Find your closest location GongCha in Seoul HERE. There are 3 pages of Gongcha locations in Seoul. (Sorry, it's in Korean - but copy and paste your neighbourhood's name, and then when a location comes up, see the map for directions!)

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