By now you’ve probably seen the long queues at stores like KOI and the plastic cups full of foamy tea with a strange black ballish looking thing at the bottom. You’ve always wanted to try this “Bubble Tea” but there are so many options .. so here’s a simple guide to knowing what you want ~
Rock the basics play around and find what rocks your tastebuds
- Medium or large: the size difference is substantial
- Sugar percentage: usually 0-100% (125% option is available at KOI)
- Toppings?? Pearls, konjac jelly, aloe vera, taro balls, fruit-filled pearls, multicolored “jelly” and more!
The most common order for tea contains the black coloured gelatin “pearl” which is the “bubble” in the Hibiscus Tea! *toppings differ according to the store, glance through their menu first.
Easy right? Now here’s the store to store flavor breakdown.
The big three
KOI is actually 豆 if you view the characters horizontally, which is Chinese for “bean”. This chain (found all around Singapore) is particularly known for a substantial amount of toppings, golden bubbles (they taste the same as black pearls) and it’s “macchiato”, a sort of milk foam above tea! A recent development of is KOI Café, which extends their repertoire to include coffee – with the option to add pearls too!
Our EB team member drinks: 70% sugar Golden Oolong Tea with Aloe Vera (Medium)
A fierce competitor with KOI, Liho is found in many schools like National University School’s Yusof Ishak House canteen and National Technological University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences (Level 1). The most well-known flavor is the Cheese Milk Tea, a cheesy and sweet mix of tea and it just might become your favorite. Also, LiHo often has discounted specials like $2 Milk Tea and recently came up with its delectable Brown Sugar Pearls!
Gongcha made a comeback recently and the crowds remain loyal. Gongcha has more fruity based teas than the KOI and Liho ie. Lychee Oolong Tea. They also make “white” pearls which taste different from the usual black ones and are worth the try!
Other well-liked tea stores:
Known for its original mixes of bubble tea, ShareTea brings to the table exotic combinations like Coconut Milk Tea with white pearls and Matcha Red Bean with Ice Cream. One of our EB member’s favourite is their Orange Green Tea with pearls!
Located in ION Orchard, Kallang Leisure Park and other places this stall goes back to the below the block style ice-blended syrup flavoured teas – a childhood pastime of all school children. Some must-try flavours to try are Grape Ice-blended and Oreo ice-blended Teas!
Tea Folia / Kurotaki Chabann 黑泷太郎/ MuYoo+ / TaiGai @ NEX / ParTea / Hi-Tea / R&B 巡茶 Outlets / True Boss 醋頭家 Singapore / HeeTea / U-Cha
Not really a bubble-tea store for the lack of pearls but these stores are worth the mention! Fuelling the hype for Fruit Teas, each cup is filled with a delicious tea base like Oolong and Sakura before chunks of fruit like watermelon, orange, strawberries and more are added. Yummy and aesthetically pleasing too.
And that’s a wrap! There are many independent Bubble Tea stores all over Singapore and they’re always worth trying. However, if you’re overwhelmed by all the options, a safe (and usually available) choice would be Milk Tea with pearls. Even then the variation is up to you – Green or black milk tea? Hazelnut, caramel or oolong milk tea? The possibilities are endless.
Refreshing and never disappointing, BBTEA is the well-loved BB(baby) of many Singaporeans and we guarantee one try will win you over too!