Would You Drink These Unusual Bubble Milk Teas?
STORY: Pearlyn Tham
21 May 2022
If you only order “Milk Tea, 25% sugar, add pearls, less ice, large size”, you are bo(ba)ring.
After all, every bubble milk tea brand worth its brown sugar pearls will now have at least five to 10 drinks that are made with the strangest ingredients like herbal medicine, dark rum and something that sounds like duck poop.
As they say, here’s us “spilling the tea” on some of these.
Woobbee: Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa milk tea
This is probably the best way to introduce your grandparents to bubble tea. Woobbee calls it the HerbalMint Milk Tea but it is really a new-meets-old hybrid of bubble milk tea and pei pa koa, a traditional syrupy medicine for dry, scratchy throats that has recently also surfaced in hipster cocktail drinks.
And if you are still trying to imagine what pei pa koa would taste like in milk tea, Woobbee offers a helpful insight on its FB page: “the first thing you will taste is the sweetness of the drink, the minty and milky taste will hit you after, leaving you with a head full of question marks”. Er, okay.
Jia Jia Liang Teh milk tea
These bubble milk tea folks must think we Singaporeans are a heaty lot. While Woobbee uses pei pa koa in its concoction, Playmade has collaborated with Jia Jia Liang Teh, a canned herbal drink.
Too TCM for you? Playmade also has the popular Grape Yakult Milk Tea (or simply Grape Boba to charmed fans), milk tea with coffee pearls for those who want the best of both caffeine worlds, and the very pretty Pink Cactus Float Jasmine Green Tea.
Koi Tea: Rum & Raisin Earl Grey
And if you believe that alcohol – and not herbal drinks or syrup – is the cure-all, wait till March when Koi Tea launches its alcoholic Rum & Raisin Earl Grey at Signature Koi outlets. That’s when your humble earl grey milk tea will become an adulting drink with a scoop of rum and raisin ice cream, plus an extra shot of dark rum.
The Whale Tea: Volcanic Sapphire Whale
You know how some drinks (and also people) were made for Instagram?
Well, the Volcanic Sapphire Whale from The Whale Tea is one of them. After all, which other milk tea will get you as much attention as you would from holding this multi-coloured drink?
It is made up of three layers: the bottom has collagen-infused peach gum jelly that resembles golden lava, the middle is milk, and the top layer is a mesmerising turquoise algae powder known as blue spirulina.
We don’t know about this looking volcanic but it sure makes us think of an aerial view of the Maldives from our plane window seat when we could travel anywhere, once upon a time ago.
Liho Tea: Duck Sh*t Snow Mountain Tea
Saying “you go jiak sai” is so boomer. Young people these days say “you go lim sai”, thanks to Liho Tea’s intriguing named Duck Shit Snow Mountain Tea.
But phew, don’t worry, you won’t be sipping on some fowl-smelling drink. Instead, this tea is brewed with Dancong Duck Shit Tea, a kind of aromatic oolong that is said to help prevent fatigue (but then just about anything with caffeine will do this too mah). The icing on the cake or drink: a sprinkle of savoury soy powder.
Each-a-Cup: Honeydew Milk Tea, Peppermint Milk Tea and more
Before there were R&B, The Whale Tea, Liho or even Gong Cha, BBT drinkers of a certain generation will remember the OG, Each-a-Cup. Even now, the brand’s drinks menu is so extensive – think more than 60 variations at some outlets – that we would advise you not to bring an indecisive drinker to one of its kiosks. You know, the friend who takes 28 minutes to even decide between mee goreng and mee siam.
Some unusual suspects: Honeydew Milk Tea, Peppermint Milk Tea, Ice Cream Milk Tea and Azuki Brown Rice Pearl Milk Tea. The last comes with pearls and red beans so there’s a lot of sucking and slurping involved.
Mong Cha Cha Café: Vegan bubble “mylk” tea
Yes, even bubble milk tea has gone vegan. And how so? At Mong Cha Cha Café, drinks like Osmanthus Green Tea Boba Mylk Tea and Pink Guava Oat Mylk Boba are concocted with soy or oat milk. Be warned though: if you don’t even enjoy drinking soy or oat milk on the rocks, sipping brown sugar pearls in a cup of either will be an acquired taste (and this is coming from a soy milk fan at that).