Every milk tea addict can safely say this: not all milk teas are made the same way.
And this resident TEAta agrees wholeheartedly. From all the milk teas I’ve tried, there are a bunch of milkier ones, while the others had a dominant tea taste. That’s excluding adjustable factors like sweetness, of course. On the other hand, others have added quirky elements like cream cheese and rock salt to theirs, while some stayed faithful to the classics. This includes using the standard trifecta of milk tea: brewed tea, milk, and your choice of sweetener or flavor.
Thing is, classic milk teas are common, and frankly a dime in a dozen. There’s just so many of them — from both international brands and local startups. That’s why this time around, I’m sharing my list of quirky milk teas that I’ve recently discovered up North. And let me tell you, each one is a whole new experience on its own!
8 Not-so-ordinary Milk Teas, as told by a resident TEAta
8. Ube Cheesecake tea from Cha Tuk Chak (IG: @chatukchakph)
Team Ube Cheesecake or team Choco Ichigo? Now, you can get the best of both worlds from none other than Cha Tuk Chak! Although this milk tea joint was first known for its Thai milk teas, Cha Tuk Chak has recently expanded its menu to offer more fun options and we just love them!
The Ube Cheesecake drink pays homage to local flavors. It features a milk tea base but with ube halaya and cream, all swirled together. The result is a sweet, earthy flavor and a creamy richness with a splash of tea. On the other hand, the Choco Ichigo is a blast from the past. Made to taste just like our favorite Meiji Apollo chocolate, this pink drink features notes of chocolate and strawberry that meld together in a rich and creamy drink.
7. Sugar-free Wintermelon tea from Mister Big’s Official (IG: @misterbigsofficial)
Nothing says milk tea obsession more than bringing back 2 hefty liters of milk tea in a jug. Yes, Mister Big’s really puts the big in its milk tea! Available flavors include the classic Wintermelon, Milky Hokkaido, and Double Chocolate, but what really caught my eye was their sugar-free option for the Wintermelon drink. That way, people who are conscious of their sugar (like my grandmother, for example) can still enjoy their milk tea fix without the guilt. It’s not sweet — more tea, actually — with a subtle roasted wintermelon taste at the end.
Although tea is a dominant factor in this drink, the flavor still seamlessly blends together with the milk for a balanced taste. While the sugar-free Wintermelon is not sweet (as it should be), even their Double Chocolate is more chocolatey than sweet. And don’t worry — you can always add some sugar to sweeten it up further if you want.
But wait, there’s more. Mister Big’s even offers instant tapioca to go with your milk tea, and it’s really easy to prepare. Just boil water, add the pearls, and let them cook for about 3 minutes while constantly stirring. It’s quick, easy, and foolproof, too!
6. Honeydew Milk Tea from Kowloon House (IG: @kowloonhouse_sanjuan)
For those who like their milk tea sweet, Boba by Kowloon House is your best bet. Beyond offering Chinese dim sum and noodle soups, this restaurant slash milk tea shop prides itself on having a wide selection of drinks to choose from. Yes, you can pair your food with milk teas, smoothies, and its newest offering yet: the K-milk series, which features your favorite Korean milk with rainbow jelly sinkers.
But let’s get back on the milk tea action because really, that’s the goal here. Aside from classics like wintermelon, caramel, and the sugary sweet brown sugar milk teas, Kowloon House offers a flavor that I’ve only encountered now: the Honeydew milk tea. Now, this is more on the sweet side (barely any tea taste, in fact), but still retains a milky fruity melon-like taste. It’s a real treat for kids!
5. Red Velvet Cheesecake from The Big Cup (IG: @thebigcup.ph)
If you’re a sweet tooth looking to get your money’s worth, these large drinks from The Big Cup are a great way to quench your thirst. This Quezon City-based shop offers 1-liter milk teas in quirky flavors. Take for example the Oreo Cheesecake or my favorite of them all: the Red Velvet Cheesecake.
Dyed in a rich red hue with swirling white and pink patterns, this eye-candy of a drink is rich and creamy—fully-loaded with chocolate flavors (because, really, that’s what red velvet is: chocolate with red coloring). No tea taste, just creamy notes of chocolate. On the other hand, the Oreo Cheesecake features a milk tea base but elevated further with crushed bites of oreo and cream that makes this drink just as rich and thick as its red velvet counterpart.
4. White Rabbit Milk Tea from Oh My Tea! (IG: @ohmyteaph)
Oh My Tea! started out as a haven for foodies and milk tea lovers who are looking for a little something sweet. And trust me, it has tons of new flavors and stuff in store.
This shop’s quirky milk tea includes the White Rabbit Milk Tea with nata de coco. It’s made from legit white rabbit syrup shipped fresh from Taiwan and tastes just as milky and yummy as the candy from your childhood days. More on the sweet side than tea tasting, this drink can be enjoyed by just about anyone: young or old. Plus, you even get a piece of the actual White Rabbit candy to go with your drink as a souvenir!
For more yummy and mouthwatering food photos and recipes, check out WIM Yummy on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/wimyummy and on Instagram @wimyummy.
3. Black Rose Milk Tea from Good Good (IG: @goodgoodphilippines)
Another Taiwanese milk tea franchise to land in the Philippines, Good Good Philippines prides itself on using natural ingredients and freshly brewed teas for its drinks. They’ve got classic milk teas, brown sugar variants, cream cheese drinks for those who like that salty cheese factor, fruit teas, juices, and even smoothies!
But if we’re talking about not-your-usual milk teas, the Black Rose Milk Tea is the one you ought to get. This drink features a gradient layer of milk, tea, and rose extract. It’s sweet and milky with a subtle floral touch that lingers. Plus, if you’re feeling fancy, you can even get it in a special flower cup!
2. Choco Overload from Sakura Hanami (IG: @sakurahanamiph)
If you’re a tea lover like me who enjoys a stronger splash of tea in their milk teas, you can get all these and more from Sakura Hanami. Since this shop takes its tea pretty seriously, you can expect the drinks to have a pronounced tea taste. This translates across the Matcha Creme, Hokkaido Caramel, and Choco Overload, which are the drinks offered in the store’s DIY milk tea kit.
The matcha drink is creamy, rich, and earthy with a notable grassy taste — great for matcha fans. On the other hand, the Hokkaido Caramel features a sweet and roasted sugary taste that melds with the black tea. And finally, the Choco Overload — my favorite out of the three. It’s an upgrade to the classic hot chocolate drinks since it comes with black tea.
Want to make your milk tea extra special? Sakura Hanami gives you the option to replace your tapioca pearls for healthy chia seeds! It mimics the soft gooey texture of boba, albeit smaller and healthier.
1. Apollo Meiji from Snaptea (IG: @snapteaph)
A local milk tea shop hailing from Valenzuela, SnapTea features Instagram-worthy drinks. Just take a look at its Apollo Meiji, Chocolate Loaded, Oreo Cheesecake, and Graham Cheesecake drink, for starters. The swirling colors and the presentation make these drinks worthy of the store’s name. What’s more, these drinks come at affordable prices of PHP 50 to PHP 100!
First off, I have to say that the Apollo Meiji drink really captured the essence of my favorite childhood chocolate. Strong notes of strawberry with the subtle splash of chocolate — all in a milky package? This one has to be my favorite out of all the drinks. The tea taste may not be present, but the experience still feels like you were drinking straight up Meiji chocolate.
Special Mention: Lemon Yakult Passionfruit Tea from A+ Premium Milk Tea
The thing with milk tea is that it uses milk — the enemy of many lactose-intolerant people. As someone who may be partially lactose intolerant (not that I let this stop me), I was happy to find an alternative that can pass off as a milky drink, without the repercussions of a visit to the toilet. And yes, I’m talking about Yakult. The Lemon Yakult Passionfruit Tea of A+ Premium Milk Tea, that is.
This sour drink features a mix of probiotic yogurt, lemon, and a splash of passionfruit. But unlike other Yakult drinks, this version uses green tea taste for their base. and you can really taste it! Now isn’t that great for all you Yakult and tea lovers out there?
What are other unusual milk tea flavors that you’ve discovered lately? Share them with us!
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