Did you know that there are around 1000 drinks in Korea, and that's only the alcoholic variety! Clearly, Korea takes its drinks very seriously. The high number of available drinks varies from creamy and sweet to citrusy teas. While we can't name every 1000+ drinks, we can provide a list of the ten most popular Korean drinks (non-alcoholic).
Popular Korean Drinks
Without further ado, let’s dive into this top Korean drinks list. After reading this article, you’ll be able to order each Korean drink and know exactly what you’ll receive when visiting a Korean market or restaurant!
Milkis is one of the most popular Korean soft drinks in southern Korea. It was initially created in 1919, though it wasn't sold in South Korea until 1989. This delicious fizzy drink comes in many flavors, such as banana, strawberry, and other fruits.
What Is Milkis?
Milkis is a soft drink that combines milk, carbonation, and corn syrup, providing its distinct flavor and color. It’s a creamy soft drink that’s also refreshing and bubbly. It’s typically consumed by kids or young adults who want a taste of nostalgia. Though, it’s a tasty treat for people of all ages.
Dalgona (Korean Coffee Milk)
Dalgona, while famous on Tiktok, is a drink that has been around since the 1960s. It was invented in Busan, South Korea, and started its rise to fame after a Korean actor, Jung II-Woo, was seen consuming this Korean drink.
What Is Dalgona?
Dalgona is a drink that consists of whipping up a spoonful of instant coffee powder with sugar and hot water until it has a thick, creamy consistency. Hence why, it's also called "whipped coffee." After it's whipped, it's added to the top of cold milk for a delicious, rich drink. If you're wondering, "Can I make dalgona coffee with a milk frother?" the answer is yes! This is one of the easiest Korean drinks to make at home.
Banana Milk (Banana Uyu)
Banana milk, also called banana uyu, is a popular drink in Korea for kids and younger adults. It's a delicious, sweet, creamy drink with a delicious banana flavor. Initially, this drink was invented when the government tried encouraging Koreans to drink more milk for their health.
Curious to read more about banana milk? Check out our article: Everything You Need to Know About Korean Banana Milk.
What Is Banana Milk?
Banana milk is a beverage made from 80% milk, water, sugar, banana juice concentrate, and a few other ingredients. It was invented by Binggrae, which continues to be the top seller of these tasty Korean bottled drinks. While other brands sell banana milk, most people opt for Binggrae since it creates a nostalgic experience and it's a trusted company.
Coffee and Banana Milk Swirl Recipe
Curious how you can use banana milk at home? Grab Binggrae Banana Flavored Milk (6-Pack) and Lotte Let’s Be Coffee (6-Pack) for a tasty combo with a caffeine boost. Mix one can of Lotte coffee with 1/3 can of banana milk, and you’ll have a fruity coffee drink that’s perfect for the summer.
Hwachae is a general term for fruit punch in Korea. You can find nearly any flavor of hwachae, from watermelon to edible flower petals. Usually, this fruit punch is sweetened with honey, sugar, or syrup. Some varieties use sparkling drinks for a fun, fizzy, sweet drink.
What Is Hwachae?
The history of hwachae dates back to ancient Korea, with the initial versions of this drink skipping the carbonation. It's a popular drink you'll see most often in the summertime, as it's an excellent way to stay cool during warmer months. Usually, hwachae uses seasonal fruits and ingredients for flavor.
Omija tea is one of the more unique drinks found in Korea. Omija translates to "five-flavored fruit," referring to the distinct five flavors you can taste when drinking omija tea or eating the omija berries. The five flavors are sweet, salty, bitter, spicy, and sour, and they’re all found in the fruit. It’s typical to see omija tea as one of the ingredients for a seasonal hwachae.
What Is Omija Tea?
Initially, omija was used as herbal medicine and served in the form of dried berries due to its bitter taste. During this time, omija berries were turned into tea and sweetened with honey for the royals. In recent years, omija tea has begun growing in popularity.
Citron Tea (Yuzu)
Another popular beverage in Korea is citron tea, also known as yuzu tea. Its main ingredient, yuzu, is part of the citrus family and has a flavor similar to grapefruit. Some say it tastes like a combination of grapefruit, mandarin, and lemon. It's common to see yuzu in savory sauces as well.
What Is Citron Tea?
Also known as yuja tea or yujacha, citron tea is made by slicing yuzu very thinly and putting it in a jar with honey. Honey helps sweeten the typically sour yuzu flavor. Afterward, this yuzu jam is combined with hot water to create a citrus-flavored tea.
Refreshing Citron Tea Recipe
There are quite a few tea options that you can use to make this drink; here are a few of our favorites: T. Grand Assam Lemon Black Tea (6-pack) and Master Kong Kang Shi Fu Iced Lemon Black Tea. Then, add ½ tablespoon of citron tea with honey or citron tea with honey and ginger to add a punch of sweet, lemon flavor. This tea is the perfect drink for hot summer days.
If you've ever tried the Mexican drink horchata, you'll be familiar with sikhye. This traditional Korean drink is a sweet rice beverage typically not served until after a meal as a dessert. It has a unique consistency, as cooked rice is at the bottom.
What Is Sikhye?
Sikhye is a drink that has been popular in Korea for hundreds of years. It's so popular that it's sold in cans and bottles throughout Korea. You'll also find it at many restaurants in the country.
Yulmu Cha (Job’s Tears Tea)
While yulmu cha, aka yulmucha or job’s tears, is considered a drink, it’s more similar in consistency to a warm cereal. This beverage includes grains (like yulmu) in combination with nuts and seeds served in hot water. It’s common to let the grain mixture sit in the water for a few minutes before consuming yulmu cha.
What Is Job's Tears?
The yulmu grain is what’s referred to as job’s tears. It has a long history, which includes being used as religious jewelry in Europe, leading to its alternative name. Now, it’s used as a filling tea in Korea.
Like citron tea, the chrysanthemum flowers are soaked in honey for about a month before they're combined with hot water to form a delicate tea. Chrysanthemum tea doubles as an attractive drink, as the flowers expand and float in the hot water while the tea steeps.
What Is Chrysanthemum Tea?
Originally, chrysanthemum teas were used as an herbal remedy. It is thought that this tea can help with various ailments like high blood pressure and respiratory issues. In current times, many people drink this tea to help ward off colds in the wintertime.
Sujeonggwa is a delicious, sweet drink that falls somewhere between sikye and job's tears tea. It's a dessert drink with delicious ingredients such as brown sugar, sliced persimmon, ginger, and cinnamon. This Korean drink is served cold, so it's a great option for spring and summertime.
What Is Sujeonggwa?
Sometimes referred to as Korean cinnamon punch, sujeonggwa has been consumed for a few hundred years. The earliest version of this drink was consumed in the late 1700s. The more recent version, which includes persimmons, was invented in the 1800s. Expect a sweet, fruity, and slightly spicy taste when drinking sujeonggwa.
Where to Buy Korean Drinks?
Can’t get enough Korean beverages? Luckily, Bokksu Market has quite a few options to try! Whether you’re looking for fruity drinks or refreshing tea options, Bokksu Market has you covered. This online Asian marketplace also offers sweet and savory snacks, pantry items, dry goods, and more.