8 Shops to Visit for the Best Milk Teas in PH

Our country is not predominantly a tea-drinking nation. But apparently, tea-drinking has gained popularity among the youth when bubble tea shops were introduced in the country as early as 2000.

Today, it is almost impossible not to see any bubble tea or milk tea shop in any sidewalk in Metro Manila. As a matter of fact, milk tea has both been an interesting drink and an interesting cause of some recent public health disasters in the country (e.g. food poisoning for example).

Oops, this is not to discourage you from craving milk tea. So, we came up with a list of reliable, and quality milk tea shops in the country you can explore the next time your sweet tooth crave milk tea:

1. Gong Cha

Gong Cha’s Earl Grey Milk Tea
Gong Cha’s Earl Grey Milk Tea via yelp.com

Their bestseller: It is highly suggested you buy their house specialty – House Special Earl Grey  Milk Tea. Gong Cha lovers say, what they love about Gong Cha most is that one can discern that their tea is genuinely fresh and that they have the best cream topping around – the Gong Cha Milk Cream, it is sweet, creamy, and salty. Yummy!

About Gong Cha: Gong Cha is a Taiwan-style drink shop franchise originally from Kaohsiung. Its first Hong Kong location opened in 2006, and by 2012 it had further expanded internationally and established branches in regions, namely Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia, mainland China, San Francisco Bay Area, New York, the Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Brunei.

Gong Cha’s first Hong Kong store was established in 2006 by a Hong Kong native who had lived in Taiwan for five years. As of 2012, it had about forty-six stores in the city, mainly in MTR stations and shopping centers but that number has dropped to five due to decreased business from several health and safety scandals. Gong Cha serves a total of about fifty-seven different drinks, which can be divided into seven types: house specials, brewed tea, milk tea, “Creative Mix”, coffee, “Healthy Series”, and ice smoothies. The most popular one in Hong Kong is “Gong Cha Milk Green Tea”, containing a lower layer of brewed tea covered by an upper layer of special creamer.

2. Moonleaf

Moonleaf's Peppermint Milktea
Moonleaf’s Peppermint Milktea via burpple.com

Their bestseller: Wintermelon Milk Tea. Wintermelon is locally known as “kundol”, is a vegetable of the gourd variety which gives the drink a distinct and refreshing taste. It can quench your thirst after a tiring activity. Many patrons like Moonleaf because of its affordability. It’s one of the least expensive bubble tea shops in the country. And although it’s cheaper at Moonleaf, you won’t be shortchanged with its quality of drinks.

About Moonleaf: Founded in October 2010, Moonleaf, unlike its big competitors, is a Filipino brand.

3. Serenitea

Okinawa and Hokkaido Milk Tea at Serenitea
Okinawa and Hokkaido Milk Tea at Serenitea via flickr.com

Their bestseller: Okinawa Milk Tea (With Pearl and Pudding) and Hokkaido Milk Tea.

The strength of Serenitea lies in its tea base. It’s strong and tastes very authentic. Any flavoring added to the drink will not overpower the freshness of its tea. Also, if you want to have an earl-grey-tasting base, this is the best shop to head to.

About Serenitea: Serenitea first opened on December 19, 2008. Back then, our country was a predominately coffee drinking populace. It was Serenitea who first introduced the brewing of tea using an espresso machine in our country, with the added option of allowing our customers to customize their drinks such as the sweetness level and sinkers in a well-designed teashop ambiance.

They claim to have introduced tea drinking in the framework of the coffee industry and garnered wide success among the Filipinos. Their pioneer branch is in San Juan and now has over 30 branches nationwide.

4. Happy Lemon

Happy Lemon’s Cocoa with Rock Salt and Cheese
Happy Lemon’s Cocoa with Rock Salt and Cheese via foodspotting.com

Their bestseller: Milk Tea with Pearl Sago and Puff Cream, and Happy Lemon Cocoa with Rock Salt and Cheese

Well, Happy Lemon is pretty much well-known for Cocoa with Rock Salt and Cheese. But its milk tea menu is pretty impressive, too. Pearls at Happy Lemon tend to be smaller than pearls in other tea shops, but they’re just right. They are soft and gummy. A must-add topping is puff cream which complements the taste of tea perfectly.

Happy Lemon’s shop ambiance is cool, too. The place is reminiscent of Pinkberry’s very hip ambiance, where you can truly enjoy the drinks over good conversations with friends.

About Happy Lemon: Happy Lemon opened in the Philippines in November 2010 and have many stores around the Metro.

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