Bring on the Korean Beverages

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Bring on the Korean Beverages

Korea has a well-documented after-dark culture with Korean dramas often featuring their all-star cast slurping noodles or singing Karaoke. A key part of the experience is sharing Korean alcoholic beverages like soju (vodka-style sweet potato liquor) or maekju (beer). Korea’s drinking culture is so popular, even Snoop Dogg and superstar rapper Psy released a video about drinking soju. Less known, however, is Korea’s vast variety of immensely popular non-alcoholic beverages. Ranging from slightly scented waters to carbonated yogurt-flavored drinks to fruity milk drinks, there are so many ways to enjoy your favorite Korean flavors. Below are a few Yami customer favorites.

Top-selling Drinks From Korea

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Say Yes to Yuja-Cha

The intensely flavored Yuja-cha (Honey Citron Tea) includes the best of two worlds, brewed tea flavored with a zesty citrus juice. The citrus essence is squeezed from the Yuja, a lemon-like fruit that more or less only grows in Korea. An excellent source of Vitamin C, Yuja Cha has been used to treat all sorts of ailments, from colds to digestive problems. It is even said to aid in increasing blood circulation and cleaning up skin complexion.

“Saranghaeyo, Milkis!”

Soft and creamy Milkis is a fizzy carbonated beverage, augmented by yogurt and milk flavors. The drink has been a favorite in Korea, especially among teenagers, for decades. Milkis first gained popularity in the late 1980s when Hong Kong action hero Chow Yun-fat (Pirates of the Caribbean, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) appeared in a Knight Rider-style commercial celebrating the drink. After being chased by a helicopter through a busy street, he finds safety in the back of a truck where he drinks his can of Milkis and tells fans “Saranghaeyo, Milkis!” or "I love you, Milkis!" Milkis has since gained international fame and it was the first drink of its type to enter the European market. Milkis is available in a variety of flavors including Yogurt, Strawberry, Melon and Lemon.

BINGGRAE Banana Milk Reminds You of Home

Another milky beverage, best seller Binggrae has earned a top rating on Korea’s K-BPI (Korea Brand Power Index) for 13 years in a row. Although sold in tetra pak cartons in the U.S., Binggrae’s boxes feature images of the original plastic jar packaging. The plastic jars were designed by Binggrte in the 1970s to remind people of their hometown villages. Binggrae’s banana drink, flavored with real banana juice, is the original beverage, but today Binggrae comes in a variety of deeply delicious flavors, including coffee, lychee and peach, strawberry, and melon. The sweetly smooth flavors pair especially well with spicy dishes.

Maxim Coffees are T.O.P.s in Korea And the U.S.

Korea loves its instant coffee and even features instant coffee vending machines throughout the country. You don’t need to fly to Korea to take part in instant coffee mania, though. Just pick up one–or all–of the many Maxim coffee varieties. Produced by Dongsuh Foods, Maxiim comes in three sub brands, Kanu, Maxim and Maxim T.O.P., which run the gamut of flavors, from extra sweet and extra milky to straight up black coffee. The original Maxim instant coffee is sold in bright, yellow single-serve packets, which are easily recognizable in many Korean dramas, often as overly busy office workers get ready for the day ahead. Maxim T.O.P. takes the “instant” experience a step further, serving ready-to-drink coffees in plastic bottles. Technically, Kanu is a totally separate brand, and the flavors tend to be more “cafe-style” ranging from dolce latte to milk chocolate latte, although Kanu also serves straight-up coffee flavors as well.

More than Just Juice

Korean brands Lotte and Nonghyup are the leaders when it comes to selling fruity juice beverages, but when you pop open a can of their juice, be prepared for a unique experience. When drinking Lotte’s Sac Sac Orange Juice, you’ll want to shake the can before drinking as it comes complete with a thick orange pulp. Nonghyup’s Peach Drink is also served with a rich peach pulp and is so delectably sweet, you’ll think you’re actually biting into a fresh peach. If you prefer a milder peach flavor, reach for Lotte’s Refreshing Water 2% Peach Flavor. Pay attention to the name, however, as this is truly a water beverage and it has just a hint of peach essence.