What your favourite bubble tea says about you
Just when we thought the bubble tea craze was starting to fizzle (again), LiHo got us crazy for cheese teas, Gong Cha returned with a vengeance, and now even local actor Nat Ho has jumped on the bandwagon, bringing popular Taiwanese bubble tea chain Bobii Frutii, which is famous for its rainbow-hued “layered” drinks, to our shores. Looks like the bubble isn’t ready to burst just yet.
The funny thing is, despite how competitive the bubble tea market is here, and how each brand’s menu is packed with categories and sub-categories of milk tea flavours, most of us still have our favourites – and we tend to order those same favourites no matter which chain we try.
Even when your go-to bubble tea chain disappears, your palette remains unchanged. And your bubble tea palette, well, it says a lot more about you than you think. Here’s what your favourite drink reveals about your personality.
Taro pearl milk tea
You’re not a stickler for traditions and like to break the mold. Your friends know you as the optimist amongst the group, someone who prefers having fun and making the best of a situation. You believe that there’s a way around every problem if you just look hard enough for alternatives.
Mysteries draw you in. You don’t need to know how something is made, exactly. If it tastes good, looks good, feels good, you’re game.
We recommend: Handmade Taro Fresh Milk from ShareTea. Unlike most taro milk teas, which is concocted of taro powder and milk powder, ShareTea’s version is made from the real deal using yam paste and fresh milk for “yammy” deliciousness that tastes pure, not artificial. Should this popular item be sold out (as it sometimes is), we propose two no-less-delicious alternatives, Taro White Pearls Milk Tea and Yam Smoothie with Pudding, which should still satisfy your taro milk craving despite not being made with fresh yam.
Most taro “milk teas” don’t have any tea in them, but Tea Tree Café’s Yam Milk Tea actually contains green tea for an extra layer of flavour. You can try adding their pink “Roselle pearls,” which are infused with Roselle extracts and a bit of honey. Apart from tasting slightly sweeter though, they are like normal pearls, just prettier.
Where to find:
ShareTea is located at various outlets including Bugis Junction, Wisma Atria Shopping Centre and Parkway Parade.
Tea Tree Café is located at various outlets including 10 Jurong East Street 12, #01-09, Singapore 609609 and Kovan Heartland Mall, Hougang Street 21, #01-03, Singapore 530205.
Photos: Jenny Tai
Like the hippie of the bubble tea bar, you are fun, free-spirited and colourful. You’re a friend to everyone and see the good in everyone – just like how you believe in the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties of your butterfly pea drink. But that doesn’t mean you are naïve. Your warm heart brings joy to all those around you and you have the type of charisma that draws people to you like a moth (or erm butterfly) to a flame.
Mermaid’s Tears from Bobii Frutii, a refreshing ice blended concoction of mango, lemon, honey, milk and topped with butterfly pea bobii pearls that tastes as good as it looks. Drink each layer on its own or mix it up so the beverage changes colour and taste with every sip. The drink starts off fruity transforming to tangy, and we like that the bobii are still soft and chewy after more than an hour.
Those who prefer a less sweet option can try the pastel-hued Don’t Want To Grow Up, which made with layers of strawberry and mango slushies.
Where to find:
Bobii Frutii, which is located at The Clementi Mall, #04-K4, Singapore 129588, opens January 10.
2. Cheese Tea
You are adventurous and curious. Others might be afraid of change; you welcome it. You like to try new things. You also have a deep-rooted fascination with unlikely pairings: dipping French fries in ice cream, mixing high-end with low-end fashion, and demure princess-type girls who listen to hardcore rap.
You like to be surprised. When it comes to romance, you prefer someone who isn’t so easy to figure out. Most of your ex’s are people who you couldn’t imagine dating. In fact, you were rather turned off by some of them at first, but became attracted to them somewhere along the way.
We recommend: Cheese tea from LiHo, which feature cheesy foam that reminds us of Gong Cha’s “nai gai” milk creme topping. Popular picks in LiHo’s Cheese series include Cheese Guan Yin, Cheese Jing Syuan Tea, Cheese Mango Smoothie, Cheese Yam Smoothie, and Cheese ’n Choc Smoothie. If you’re a tea lover who appreciates a good brew, try the Cheese Guan Yin or Cheese Jing Syuan. The cheesy topping is light, milky and savoury, and pairs surprisingly well with the delicate tea. The cheese flavour is not overwhelming and instead resembles a buttery froth.
Be warned though: More than halfway through the drink when the cheese topping and tea are no longer separate and instead become infused like a milkshake, it starts to feel thick and jelak.
HeeTea's creamy Mango Cheese Tea, which uses fruit tea made fresh from real fruits, is also highly recommended. Request for low-fat cheese if you feel guilty indulging.
Where to find:
LiHo is located at various outlets including NEX Mall, Junction 8 Shopping Centre, and Paragon Shopping Centre.
HeeTea is located at SingPost Centre and Chinatown Point.
Photos of LiHo's Cheese Green Tea with pearls and Cheese Jing Syuan Tea: Instagramfirstname.lastname@example.org, @mjteo. HeeTea's Mango Cheese Tea: Rachel Foodie via burpple
Fruit tea or smoothie
You’re a chill person. You like to relax and enjoy each day as it comes. Your favourite vacation destination is always and forever the beach. You wouldn’t mind becoming a scuba instructor after you retire one day.
Just like anyone else, you like to indulge in good food and drinks but you also believe that the healthiest and happiest people are those who listen to their bodies. Loving yourself is a lifelong journey, so you try to “nourish” your body, not merely feed it.
We recommend: Mango Tango from Rockery, a mango slushie heaped generously with fresh, juicy mango cubes, is the tropical beverage of our dreams. It’s so sweet that we can hardly believe it’s sugar-free, so if you’re not a fan of cloying syrup and starchy tapioca balls, this drink is for you. Although it’s good enough on its own, consider adding chewy nata de coco for a tinge of coconut water flavour to add more dimension to all that mango. For those who like fruit teas, Rockery’s Lemon Green Tea is worth a try especially as it uses 100% fresh lemon juice, not the concentrate.
Meanwhile, Eskimo Cafe and Dessert Bar’s Yakult Booster series offers Yakult mixed with fruit and even greens juice for a blast of vitamins and probiotics. For those who like fruit teas, don't miss Teafolia’s Signature Fruit Tea, which is brewed from premium tea leaves and is chock full of fruits. The citrusy drink is refreshing and perfect for those who want something less filling and sinful.
Where to find:
Rockery is located at Bugis Junction and 16 Raffles Quay, #01-02A Hong Leong Building, Singapore 048581.
Eskimo Cafe & Fruit Dessert Bar is located at 50 Market Street, Golden Shoe Car Park, Singapore 048940 and Block 510 Tampines Central 1, #01-250, Singapore 520510.
Teafolia is located at Tampines MRT Station, Northpoint City and Bedok Mall.
Photo: Teafolia, Jenny Tai
Milk tea with pearls
Some might say you’re old school, but you prefer “reliable.” As someone who enjoys routines, you have a hard time with unpredictability. You know what’s good and you stick to it - what’s wrong with that? A few ex-flames may have accused you of being boring when they broke up with you, which may have led to a temporary bout of self-searching and insecurity, but at the end of the day you’ve learned to just embrace being you. And you are nothing if not consistent.
We recommend: Koi’s Milk Tea With Pearls is a classic. Sure, there are those who grumble about Koi being overpriced and overhyped, but ultimately its brew is one of the best around. Its milk tea is robust with the right tinge of bitterness and smooth, creamy taste, so that it stands strong enough on its own even as a drink without pearls.
…Except, of course, we usually opt for adding pearls. Out of all the bubble tea brands, the quality of Koi’s pearls is consistently on point in size and chewiness, which counts for a lot because nothing’s a bummer like slurping up pearls that are either too mushy or hard.
Another solid bet for tasty milk tea with pearls? Each A Cup. Their Each-A-Brew series offers individually brewed cups to guarantee ultimate freshness. For those with an insatiable sweet tooth, Each A Cup offers a customisable sugar level that goes up to 120% (yikes). Oh, and their pearls are nice and springy.
Where to find:
Koi is located at various outlets including NEX Mall, City Square Mall, Bugis+, and Velocity.
Each A Cup is located at various outlets including Plaza Singapura and ION Orchard.
Photos: www.foodspotting.com; Instagram/@flights_of_whimsy
Honey milk tea or Honey black/green tea
You’re sweet and likely to be friend zoned. Because you’re so approachable and friendly, you’re frequently being called on to help your buddies with all sorts of favours and advice. You have a hard time saying no. It’s because you’re a decent human being who can’t help being nice to people. Still, one of your deepest desires in life is for someone to recognise that you’re different, and not just another nice guy (or girl).
We recommend: Honey Black Milk Tea from SOD Cafe, which doesn’t come with additional sugar. Catered to the health-conscious, SOD’s drinks are organic, caffeine-free, and preservative-free. That said, we feel that the whole “healthy bubble milk tea” idea should be taken with a grain of salt (case in point: SOD did not confirm that they use pure honey for their Honey Black Milk Tea; instead they use honey-flavoured syrup).
Woobbee, another contender for bubble tea with a healthy twist, uses natural raw sugar in their drinks, a step up from refined sugar. Their Honey Green Tea is all the more aromatic as it is brewed with jasmine green tea leaves for a floral, nectary aftertaste. For a full-bodied flavour, consider Honey Oolong Tea, which has subtle woodsy undertones.
Where to find:
SOD Cafe is located at 51 Hougang Avenue 9, #01-03, Ci Yuan Community Centre, Singapore 538776.
Woobbee is located at various outlets including Tanjong Pagar, 1 Tanjong Pagar Plaza #01-18, Singapore 082001; Shaw Tower, 100 Beach Road #01-53, Singapore 189702; and 133 New Bridge Road #02-26, Chinatown Point, Singapore 059413.
Photos: SOD Café and Woobbee
Your Instagram is a montage of ice caps, beaches, camping trips and cobblestone streets of Rome, all hashtagged #wanderlust, #travelgram and #lifewelltravelled. No doubt there are shots of the Eiffel Tower and Fushimi Inari Shrine in there too. Your passion is experimenting with different things, places, cultures, and food. At your core, you are an explorer - and a trendy one at that.
We recommend: The Matcha series from Koi, especially their Matcha Macchiato. It tastes authentic, and no wonder - their matcha powder is directly imported from Japan, so you want to truly appreciate its distinct taste by NOT covering it up with too much sweetness. That’s why we recommend 50% sugar at most.
The two runner-ups are A-Gan Tea’s Milk Lid Matcha Tea, which boasts a delightful sweet foam that melds nicely with its richly flavoured matcha tea, and Bobii Frutii’s Uji Snow, which uses the highest grade of matcha powder from Uji, and is hand-whisked upon order. Though you can’t customise the sugar level, the bitterness from the match balances the sweetness out perfectly.
Where to find:
Koi Cafe is located at various outlets including NEX Mall, City Square Mall, Bugis+, and Velocity.
A-Gan Tea is located at various outlets including #B2-06 Dhoby Ghuat MRT Station, 60 Orchard Road, Singapore 238889.
Bobii Frutii is located at The Clementi Mall, #04-K4, Singapore 129588.
Photos: Jenny Tai; Toggle