Battle of the bubble teas

Many youths went into withdrawal mode when we lost bubble tea to the circuit breaker. Now that the snaking queues are (almost) back, a HEY! student panel went on a bubble tea hunt around campus to find out which of the stores’ bestsellers hit the sweet spot

by Foo Jie Ying / Photo by Don Tan / Video by Ei Ei Thei

1. BUBBLE MILK TEA (100% SUGAR)
CHICHA SAN CHEN

Tea lovers will find this taste-tea. “I like the tea in this one, but those who prefer a strong milk taste in their bubble tea may not enjoy this as much,” says Grace. Vaish agrees that even at the maximum sugar level, it is not cloyingly sweet. Instead, the sweetness balances out the bitterness from the freshly brewed tea. The caramel flavoured tapioca pearls also have the right amount of chew, says Rui Jie.

2. OSMANTHUS MANGO OOLONG (100% SUGAR)
CHICHA SAN CHEN

All three students found this refreshingly good for a hot day, though the fruity flavours are not Rui Jie’s cup of tea. Grace notes that the mango syrup in the drink does not taste artificial. “But after the initial few sips, the drink reminds me of an energy drink,” adds Vaish.

3. DA HONG PAO MILK TEA + 3 HO (30% SUGAR)
LIHO

Vaish likes the “interesting texture” from the combination of herbal jelly, custard pudding and golden pearls in this fully-loaded drink, while Rui Jie prefers pearls with a less chewy texture. He adds: “The pudding tastes a bit like tau huay (beancurd) and glides down the throat very easily.” Grace feels that the sugar level, at 30%, is just right, since the toppings are already somewhat sweet.

4. BROWN SUGAR PEARL SALTED CARAMEL FRESH MILK TEA (70% SUGAR)
LIHO

The drink looks unassuming with its pale cream colour but Vaish says “the saltiness is overpowering and there is an unsavoury aftertaste”. Grace and Rui Jie agree that one can get tired of this drink quite quickly. “I’m not sure if the flavours go well together,” says Rui Jie.

5. MILK TEA WITH BIG PEARLS (50% SUGAR)
EACH-A-CUP

Old is gold – this classic, no-frills bubble tea is a clear favourite among the three students, who rated it as one of their top picks. Rui Jie and Vaish enjoy the creaminess of the milk tea and chewiness of the pearls. What sweetens the deal for Grace is the pocket-friendly price tag as compared to the other bubble tea shops on campus.

6. YAKULT GREEN TEA WITH WHITE PEARLS (50% SUGAR)
EACH-A-CUP

This is not your typical bubble tea, but it has a reviving quality, especially for those who have tasted five different types of bubble tea prior. “If you get sick of the normal bubble tea, you can definitely order this. It’s a refreshing change,” says Rui Jie. Vaish and Grace are fans of the lightly sweet aroma and tanginess from the Yakult. Grace also likes the slight crunch of the white pearls.

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