Tatler's Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Milk Tea in Metro Manila This 2021
Whether you call it milk tea, bubble tea, or boba, this delicious drink is more than just a trend - it's here to stay. Hop between these eleven well-loved brands and find your personal favourite.
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1/11 Yi Fang
This phenomenon hails from Taiwan and has quickly become a favourite among milk tea lovers. With 25 branches in the Philippines (and definitely more to come), make sure to drop by for a cup! Try out their speciality Taro Milk Tea made with freshly-mashed sweetened taro paired with milk and cream, or their best-selling coffee jelly latte for a fun twist on the classic dessert in boba form.
2/11 The Alley
With over 20 locations worldwide, The Alley eventually found itself on Philippine shores early in 2019 and fast became a must-try for many. Their deer logo is as unmistakable as is their signature line, the Brown Sugar Deerioca Series. The Alley's pearls are unique and made from scratch, many fans come back for just this reason alone! Don't miss out on their Brown Sugar Deerioca Creme Brulee Milk — it's as delectable as it sounds!
3/11 Tiger Sugar
Tiger Sugar has become quite popular as of late due to their use of fresh milk (instead of the more traditional creamer) and special brown sugar. With a fuller and rounder mouthfeel, their beverages have people lining up for north of an hour. Their blend falls on the sweeter side so make sure to modify your drink's sugar level should you desire a richer tea flavour. If you're looking for an even cooler treat, try out their ice cream cones and bars, too!
This crowd-favourite enjoys long lines, especially during the afternoons. Their mixes can be very creamy and quite sugary, so its a great cup to enjoy when satisfying your sweet tooth. However, if you're craving a cup that has a more complex tea flavour, save your hours-wait for a brand more suited to your palate.
5/11 Din Tai Fung
The Moment Group's Din Tai Fung franchise takes it up a notch with their roster of special milk tea blends which feature a brown sugar mix and an oolong rock salt and cheese drink. So when you're dining in to satisfy your dim sum cravings, enjoy one of their signature drinks for a well-rounded meal.
It's easy to say that CoCo might take the crown for longest lines whatever branch you find yourself at. In fact, you might be competing in line with GradFood personnel with the high demand they need to fulfil. The pleasant well-designed interiors don't hurt either. Their Panda Milk Tea is one of their bestsellers that is a great choice when ordering at CoCo for the first time. Its two distinct sinkers allow for a more complex drink experience. Flavour-wise, the brand does a good job combining sweetness with a distinct tea profile.
7/11 Cha Time
For those who desire a quick cup with a no fuss no muss attitude, Cha Time is a good go-to merienda cup. More so a dessert than a strong tea blend, this brand is best suited for those craving for something filling. Their mixes fall on the creamier side with pearl servings up to almost half the cup — some may even consider this a full-on snack rather than a drink!
8/11 Macao Imperial
For those looking for a milk tea blend with more tea flavour than sweetness, Macao Imperial hits all the right notes. Their pearls are just right although it's not much to write home about. What's going to make you come back for more is their layered blend that allows the sugar and cream to take a back seat. Try out their matcha milk tea for a dose of green tea goodness!
For those looking to explore adventurous flavours, a trip to Dakasi is a must. Their menu is chockfull of exciting blends like charcoal roasted milk tea, halo-halo milk tea, oreo milk tea and much more. For those who consume milk tea as a meal substitute, this brand is just for you. Enjoy a flavourful Dakasi cup that's not afraid of being too sweet!
10/11 Gong Cha
Gong Cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me? When you start hearing this puntastic line sung, it's time to gather friends and grab a cup! Their blends may taste a bit lighter and less round by the gulp so their drinks are great for when you're looking to quench your thirst. Not too sweet or too creamy, this classic go-to still enjoys long lines despite being in the game for a while.
11/11 FRNK Milk Bar
Easily recognisable by their unique purple hue and ultra-Instagrammable drinks, FRNK Milk Bar boasts healthier milk tea options perfect for anyone looking for a more wholesome delicious treat. Customisable with options for honey levels, coconut nectar, and even dairy-free milk like macadamia, coconut, and brown rice, FRNK presents milk tea aficionados with a much-welcome alternative. While they have calorie counts for most of their products (cakes, cookies, and doughnuts included), they've also got decadent delights perfect for when you're feeling indulgent, which they proudly profess are "worth the calories".
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- Words Lauren Golangco