From creamy brown sugar concoctions to healthy-ish options
From creamy brown sugar concoctions to healthy-ish options
- By Dechen Tan
- | Dec 24, 2020
To say that there are plenty of bubble tea shops in Singapore is an understatement; it almost seems as if every other day, a brand new stall offering tea beverages surfaces. Here to acquit you of your drink dilemma is this list of great bubble tea spots worthy of multiple visits, whether you're craving for a decadent brown sugar boba milk or a creamy cheese tea macchiato.
Best boba options
A staple in the bubble tea scene, The Alley can be easily recognised by its deer antler motifs that represent the brand’s Deerioca tapioca boba pearls. Each round-bottom cup of Brown Sugar Deerioca Fresh Milk is lined with a generous bed of tender bobas, slicked with a layer of caramelly brown sugar syrup. Natural sugar canes are boiled in-house to serve each order and thus intentionally dialing the sweetness down a couple notches.
Thanks to a wide selection of handmade pearls boasting various flavours, Hollin has been recognised as an artisan of boba by many. So try their rotating menu of bubble options including sesame, strawberry, coffee, lychee and matcha by consuming them in popular tea beverages such as the Earl Grey Tea Latte, Strawberry Green Tea and Oolong Milk Tea for maximum enjoyment.
Xin Fu Tang, which translates to “The Realm of Happiness” is yet another one of Taiwan’s most sought-after BBT brands in Singapore, conjuring up queues since day one of its launch at Century Square. Though drinks at Xing Fu Tang are of high quality, we can safely say that the reason for its demand is the boba, which are stir-fried in-house for every cup. Coated thoroughly in stir-fried natural raw brown sugar, the bobas are significantly fresh and chewy when bitten into. Plus, the Brown Sugar Boba Milks are torched on the surface, for a fragrant finale.
Best brown sugar milk concoctions
This Taiwanese bubble tea chain first entered the crowded drinks market at the beginning of 2020 and has since expanded to five outlets. It stands out for being the only brand to use kokuto, Okinawa brown sugar that is supposedly the world’s healthiest sugar. Try the signature Brown Sugar Milk With Tapioca Boba; at least you won’t feel so guilty about the calories as you indulge in its rich caramel flavour.
This is one that's on every bubble tea drinker's list—and for good reason. Tiger Sugar is arguably among one of the first few bubble tea brands that sparked the sugary obsession that has since been plaguing our nation with its iconic golden-brown stripes. The brown sugar is such a classic, oftentimes to the point where it is used as a benchmark for comparison. The signature comes as no surprise: Brown Sugar Boba Milk with Cream Mousse.
Formerly Jenjudan, Truedan arrived in Singapore from Taiwan as well, boasting an extensive range of brown sugar-based drinks that are as irresistible as they are addictive. Expect to savour the brand’s proprietary brown sugar that has been stir-fried over a charcoal fire, as well as a couple of taro options that bring forth a creamier texture.
Cold brew options
One of the freshest tea concepts in Singapore opened by homegrown brand BreadTalk Group, Charlie Tea is an amalgamation of traditional tea brewing and modern flavours. The 18-seater tea house at Takashimaya Shopping Centre offers an entire range of artisanal teas to be enjoyed both cold and hot, so check out everything from the Fruit Tea series to the Pearl Milk Tea series for a delicious cuppa. But what will interest most is the fragrant Cold Brew series, as the tea leaves are soaked for a whopping 12 hours at a go. Try the Cold Brew Green Jade and Cold Brew Mount Wu for a taste of the invigorating beverages.
If you love to have foam or cream toppings on your bubble tea, this place is for you. Founded by host and entrepreneur Vivian Lai, this new joint at Raffles Holland V Mall partnered with engineers from Europe and a Taiwanese tea sommelier to master both the science and the art of producing cold brewed teas, and to develop creative sweet cream recipes.
The result is Singapore’s first-ever series of nitro bubble tea with flavoured sweet cream (the brewing process is said to give a smoother and cleaner taste). Choose from six exclusive flavours of cream toppings, such as classic vanilla and lemon or the more unusual azuki beans and lemongrass.
Crazy, OTT bubble teas
The Whale Tea
Uber popular Chinese tea brand The Whale Tea is best known for their insane, overly-decadent teas and a wide and interesting range of drink selections. There’s the Volcanic Collagen Series which carries the Volcanic Sapphire Whale, as well as the Whale Crystal Series comprising the Blue Whale, Beluga and Orca—all as pretty as they are adorably-named. Plus, you can even get creamy soft serves like their signature Golden Cocktail Coca Ice Cream and Electric Sea Salt Ice Cream. Feel free to order both the drinks and soft serves, then get creative with how you want to consume ‘em.
Fresh milk choices
Known for its promise of utilising natural, fresh milk instead of creamer in its beverages, Taiwanese BBT juggernaut Milksha is also a local favourite for their golden, honey pearls, air-flown to Singapore for the best taste and texture. Their signatures worth trying include the Azuki Matcha Milk, defined by its sweet and earthy flavour, as well as the Valrhona 100% Cocoa Milk which features premium Valrhona cocoa from France.
Another popular tea salon from Taiwan, Playmade offers a wide range of tea lattes, milk teas and honey blends to satisfy those with a penchant for bubble tea. Although not exactly a brand signature, the Burnt Caramel Milk Tea has become a hit among locals, while the Watermelon Milk Tea with Pink Cactus Pearls is an unconventional bubble tea staple at Playmade outlets.
Most refreshing fruit teas
VivoCity’s Artea feels almost like an art gallery, with oversized stalks of flora surrounding the cafe in one giant ‘gram-ready set. Crowds flock to the store for a taste of their Signature Fruit Tea, which is essentially a fruit salad in a cup with seven fruit varieties suspended in the drink, including watermelon, strawberry and rockmelon.
Besides being held in gorgeous cups adorned with floral designs, Chun Fun How’s beverages are also worth the hype thanks to its Winter Melon Series. The Winter Melon Lemonade with Pearls remains a popular choice since it features only the highest quality winter melon sugar from Taiwan, while still boasting health benefits. Also try the Sweet Potato Black Tea Latte with Pearls, that carries plenty of fibre, vitamins and minerals for your gut health.
Boasting very fragrant and fresh (albeit pricey) fruit tea options is Partea. We highly recommend the Jasmine Fruit Tea (which comes with generous servings of premium fruit like passionfruit and mango slices) from their Rainbow Tea series, the Sun Moon Lake Tea w/Milk off their Fresh Milk menu, and perhaps even their most premium selection, the Rose Pu’er Fruit Tea.
Really creamy cheese teas
2017 marked a dramatic turn of events when Gong Cha shuttered and was replaced with LiHo. Fans of the longstanding tea brand took to social media to fire off angry protests—and understandably so; Gong Cha had been a go-to for most locals for almost 10 years prior to its closure. However, this was before the announcement of the brand new cheese teas that were to be on LiHo’s sparkling new menu. Having said to have Gouda cheese in the mix, the cheesy, foamy beverages holds slightly savoury notes and a divisive opinion among the public.
Founders Rex and Bruce are crowned as the pioneers of brown sugar cheese milk teas in Singapore; a taste that’s admittedly not for all but if you’re one for rich, heavy cream in bubble teas, R&B Tea’s Brown Sugar Boba Milk with Cheese Brulee would probably be your cup of boba. On top of the regular brown sugar milk concoction that’s so widely favoured, a supple layer of cream cheese is added on top before being torched to give a fragrant “brulee” factor.
In early 2019, Gong Cha made a victorious return to our shores, much to the delight (and relief) of Gong Cha-frequenters. An overwhelming amount of supporters crowded outlets on its re-opening day and until today, the established tea store remains a crowd favourite. The classic Pearl Milk Tea is still a bestseller.
Great tea leaves
Chicha San Chen
While boba and brown sugar syrup receive all the praise in recent years, a key player that often gets overlooked is the tea leaves utilised in the drinks. Taiwanese Chicha San Chen definitely gets this part right with its Cassia Black Tea with Mousse and Green Tea with Honey, which were awarded with the Highest International Authority iTQi certification, which is apparently equivalent to a Michelin three-star accolade.