Youthopia writers’ go-to bubble tea drinks and why we love them
Did your favourite bubble tea make this list?
Everyone has a favourite bubble tea as their post-lunch pick-me-up, us Youthopia writers included.
Some choose their favourites based on price points, others based on the variety of pearl options, and a small handful try to factor in slightly healthier choices.
In light of this year’s International Bubble Tea Day celebrated on Apr 30, we invited our writers to share why they love their favourite sweet drinks.
Shannon Kuan - Chrysanthemum milk tea with three pearls from Playmade
“Playmade is my absolute favourite bubble tea brand, mostly because of their unique pearl flavours that you can’t really find at other store brands.
“My go-to order is their chrysanthemum milk tea with three pearls, 50 per cent sugar, and less ice. I love that they have a three pearl option which includes black sesame, pink cactus and burnt caramel pearls, because I’m indecisive and want the best of all worlds. The pearl flavours also go pretty well with the drink.
“Not once has someone whom I introduced chrysanthemum milk tea to said they didn’t like it. In fact, some of my friends and family members became chrysanthemum milk tea converts too and it became their staple order at Playmade, so I strongly stand by my drink recommendation!”
Harshiyne Maran - Classic milk tea with golden pearls from LiHO
“When I get bubble tea, I tend to go for orders that are simple yet flavourful enough to satisfy my taste buds.
“The LiHO milk tea with golden pearls is my go-to order because I think that the golden pearls are not too overpowering in comparison to the normal black ones in terms of taste, and are thus slightly easier on the palate. It doesn’t overpower the milky taste of the tea, and actually adds to it because of its chewy texture.”
Amanda Tan - Pink guava rock salt macchiato from HOLLIN
“My go-to pick-me-up is definitely HOLLIN’s pink guava rock salt macchiato (25 per cent sugar) with honey pearls.
“As someone who is mildly lactose-intolerant, I always prefer fruit teas as opposed to the regular milk-based drinks, and this concoction is hands-down the best I’ve tried thus far.
“For those wondering what it tastes like, it’s essentially an upgraded version of Marigold’s pink guava juice, just without the pulp and with an elevated taste.
“The savoury notes of the rock salt foam complements the light and refreshing taste of the pink guava green tea. The honey pearls are also chewy and not cloying, enhancing the drink’s overall flavour. I can easily finish the whole cup without feeling jelak at all. Absolute 100/10, must try.”
Zahin Ilmi - Brown sugar Earl Grey milk tea from Gong Cha
“I think Earl Grey goes really well with brown sugar milk tea. Brown sugar milk tea tends to taste very sweet, but the Earl Grey balances it out quite well as it tones down the sweetness but doesn’t completely take away the brown sugar taste.
“The taste of Earl Grey is also quite light and refreshing to me, so it doesn’t make the milk tea taste so heavy.”
Kassandra Kasman - Taro milk tea from Sharetea
“The Taro milk tea with white pearls from Sharetea was a surprising and delightful discovery.
“At first, the idea of taro as a drink was weird to me, but what attracted me was the colour of the drink.
“I did not expect the drink to be so sweet and creamy, and the addition of white pearls instead of normal pearls really elevated the drink altogether. Because of this Taro milk tea, Sharetea has got my heart.”
Naren Lee Sankar - Chocolate milk tea from LiHO
“I like the Chocolate milk tea with pearls from LiHO at 50 per cent sugar. At this sweetness, the chocolate becomes a good mix of sweet and bitter. It’s healthier than having the drink at full sugar level too.”
Nicki Chan - Passion fruit green tea from Each-A-Cup
“When I have a long day of work or studying ahead of me, an unhealthy reliance on sweet drinks is what gets me through the day. To compensate for that, I tend to opt for a slightly healthier (or so I like to think) option than the standard bubble tea with milk and pearls.
“The Passion Fruit green tea has passion fruit seeds that add a refreshing tang to the drink, and the green tea has just enough caffeine to keep me rejuvenated.”
Aung Nyi Htet - Classic milk tea with golden pearls from LiHO
“My favourite bubble tea in the world is LiHO’s classic milk tea with golden pearls with sugar level 75 per cent.
“While this is the most basic flavour in the never-ending line-up of bubble tea flavours, it holds a special place in my heart since it is the first bubble tea I ever tried. While there are other unique and novel flavours, I always find myself coming back to this drink due to how simple it is.
“There is a nostalgic factor as well since this was the bubble tea I queued up for with my friends every Wednesday when I was in JC after ending football training. The price does not hurt either, especially now that there is a $1.90 deal for members.”
Charlotte Chang - Honey lemon lime juice from KOI Thé
“I don’t drink bubble tea very often, but when I do, I usually go for honey lemon lime juice from KOI Thé.
“When I was in secondary school, I was in a very high commitment CCA which required me to stay back in school up to four times a week, sometimes even on weekends. By the end of the day, I’d always be too exhausted to do anything. This became a huge problem in my graduating year, as I lagged behind in my studies and found it hard to hit homework deadlines.
“I first tried out the honey lemon lime juice on a day I felt especially tired, and went straight for zero per cent sugar, minimal honey, and less ice to make sure it wouldn’t be diluted. As expected, my drink was insanely sour, but it hit so strongly that it was instead refreshing and I was immediately energised.
“My friends and colleagues called me a madman for being able to enjoy this drink with a straight face, but I find it a lot healthier and more refreshing than coffee or Red Bull when it comes fueling my overnight cramming sessions.”
Caleb Lau - Okinawa pearl milk tea from Sharetea
“The Okinawa pearl milk tea from Sharetea with mini pearls is a weekly booster for me as it strikes the perfect balance between being health-conscious and satisfying my sweet tooth.
“I always get it at zero per cent sugar as the mild brown sugar Okinawan flavour that comes with the tea is just enough to give the energy boost I need to get through a long afternoon of work.
“On top of that, Sharetea, being one of the few long-standing bubble tea brands that offer mini pearls, is a huge plus point for me. I enjoy the change of texture that I get with this topping that doesn’t require much effort to chew.”
Nurul Mardhiah - Strawberry tea from Pokka
“I rarely drink bubble tea, so my favourite drink is the Pokka strawberry tea because I love strawberries a lot, and I love the sweet and sour taste of the tea.
“My friends, unfortunately, hate it because they think it’s gross and we playfully argue about this drink pretty often. It’s become a running joke that I’m the only one that drinks strawberry tea, but I think it’s funny.”