Top 5 Bubble Tea Chains
It is the year 2018, and we are blessed with an abundance of bubble tea options across our little island. Young, hipster brands – Hollin, Playmade, Partea, and more – have popped up in Singapore, cooking up a fervent craze for the sweet milk teas again.
While it is a true blessing to have so many creative chains pushing out different kinds of beverages, it isn’t humanly possible to drink ’em all. As much as all these young ones deserve a visit with their exciting concoctions, there are days when we just want something comforting and familiar for our bubble tea cravings.
On this list, we’ll be looking at the what we think are the crème de la crème, the top 5 bubble tea chains in the game, not in any particular order. If your beverage is going to be loaded with sugar, it had better be worth it.
5. R&B Tea
Yes, the one that has taken the internet by storm with its gorgeous signature drinks, R&B Tea. Hailing from the origin point of bubble tea, Taiwanese owners, Rex and Bruce have opened their own bubble tea shop in an attempt to convey the essence of the original sweet beverage. The number one thing that you might want to get your hands on is the Brown Sugar Boba Milk(青蛙撞奶). Served in a beautiful contrast of dark brown and white, the cup consists of creamy fresh milk and chewy pearls simmered in brown sugar. It is the perfect drink for those with a hopeless sweet tooth.
If that’s not an exciting enough option for a bubble tea connoisseur like yourself, consider the Brown Sugar Boba Milk with Cheese Brûlée (老虎出巡). It is basically the same drink, but with extra fun. Loaded with a layer of smooth cream cheese, the top is sprinkled with brown sugar bits, and then torched for a caramelised, crispy texture. This brings a much-needed salty touch to the sweet drink, which may prove dangerously addictive.
4. Gong Cha
Familiar? If you didn’t know, our local budding star Zong Zijie endorses Gong Cha! Maybe that alone can serve as a motivation for you to support the recently revived brand, but the quality of their drinks alone are worth the attention.
Ask a long time fan of Gong Cha to recommend one of their menu items, and you can expect Taro Milk Tea to be the answer. As soothing as it is to the eyes, the pastel purple drink is a comforting milk drink that captures the essence of creamy yams. With its gentle sweetness and aroma, having a sip of it acts as a solace after a long, tiring day.
Of course, not everybody thinks that “yammy” is yummy. If you’re part of the population who dislikes yams, the Earl Grey Milk Tea with 3J might be a good option for you. Swimming in a cup of Gong Cha’s fragrant milk tea are black tapoica pearls, pudding, and herbal jelly. From the silky-smooth pudding to the bouncy pearls, have fun with the myriad textures you can find in this cup.
Founded by former Gong Cha franchisee, Rodney Tan, our own local LiHo sprang forth in a swift and daring rebranding built on the sturdy foundation of its Gong Cha origins. LiHo focuses on inventing quirky flavours that leave us hopelessly intrigued, but one of their best drinks still has to be the Cheese Guanyin.
Introduced a year ago, the whipped cheese cream brings a contrasting wave of salty indulgence, pairing unexpectedly well with the aromatic guanyin tea. The unconventional combination seemed a risk, but LiHo’s bold entrance with it has proven to be successful, gaining the support of many Singaporeans.
Following the brown sugar milk craze that R&B Tea graciously started in Singapore, LiHo attempts to beat the #FOMO and launched its own Brown Sugar Series. Comprising of 4 flavours – Fresh Milk, Matcha, Chocolate, and Avocado, each flavour is a distinct take on their brown sugar pearls, which are cooked in raw and pure brown sugar.
Of course, the best part about LiHo for me is their affordable drinks. The friendly prices of their milk teas are a comfort to me whenever I need my bubble tea fix.
Deserving of more attention and recognition, Sharetea can be said to be one of the older bubble tea franchises in Singapore, and has been around for a decent amount of time. After a major facelift, they now look trendier than ever.
For something refreshing, new and fun, give their Wintermelon Sea Salt Macchiato a go. This cup sees sweet, thirst-quenching wintermelon tea topped with a frothy layer of vanilla sea salt milk cream. Another example of a stellar sweet-salty combination.
If you’re dying under the sweltering heat, the Aloha Fruit Tea comprising of apple, pineapple, passionfruit, and orange, can give you a burst of energy with its bright colour and punchy flavours.
1. KOI Thé
Last but not least, we hail the OG bubble tea, KOI! Twelve years since their introduction to Singapore, the hype for KOI continues to go strong. Despite the surge of newer bubble tea chains, KOI manages to remain a front-running staple for Singaporeans.
Not trying to be Captain Obvious here, but the Golden Bubble Milk Tea is one of KOI’s best signatures. We think it might even be the best pearl milk tea in Singapore. That is of course, debatable, but with its golden chewy pearls and heavenly milk tea, have fun finding a competitor for it.
Meet your Matcha, Matcha-holics! Despite all matcha drinks, desserts, and puns bombarding Singapore’s food scene, KOI’s Matcha Latte is a reminder that justifies our original obsession. The cup sees a marriage of bitterness from the aromatic matcha and sweetness from the rich milk.
If you’re craving for something with an even stronger matcha presence, you can also try the Matcha Macchiato.