Published: July 26, 2019 | Updated: June 5, 2020 | Posted by: Venus Zoleta | Lifestyle
Milk tea is a new frappe in the Philippines. We don’t just love milk tea—we’re addicted to it!
Shops serving milk tea (also called bubble tea or boba tea) have been around in the country for quite some time. But lately, their popularity exploded as new milk tea trends and brands from Taiwan and other Asian countries arrive.
Many bubble tea shops have also become more accessible to consumers through delivery services such as Foodpanda and GrabFood.
If this beverage is your guilty pleasure, you’re probably looking for the best milk tea that’s worth your money. Let’s take a look at the top places to get your milk tea fix.
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Most of the best milk tea shops in the Philippines come from Taiwan, but Macao Imperial Tea is an exception. Apparently, it’s from Macau, the Las Vegas of China, so it creates its milk tea differently.
Macao Imperial Tea uses jasmine tea that adds a floral scent and sublime taste to its drinks. Generous swirls of cream cheese provide the richness that perfectly complements the tea. If creamy drinks are your cup of tea, the Cream Cheese Milk Tea is a must-try.
Macao Imperial Tea branches: Anonas, Banawe, BF Homes, Gateway Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, select SM Malls, Timog, and more locations nationwide
Serenitea started the local milk tea craze when it opened the country’s first milk tea shop in late 2008. Back then, Filipinos were mostly addicted to frappuccinos. Today, milk tea has taken over the beverage addiction, and Serenitea takes the credit for being its pioneer.
Considered one of the best milk tea brands in the Philippines, Serenitea takes pride in being the first one to use an espresso machine to brew tea and give customization options for sweetness level and sinkers (pearls/pudding/crystals/panna cotta/grass jelly).
Serenitea’s best-selling milk tea variants include Okinawa (brown sugar-flavored milk), Wintermelon (winter melon with caramel flavor and milk), and Hokkaido (butter toffee caramel-flavored milk).
Not a fan of sugar? You can ditch it altogether and choose pudding as your sinker instead to add texture and sweetness to your drinks.
Serenitea branches: Alabang Town Center, Eastwood, Glorietta 3, Greenbelt 3, Greenhills, Robinsons Place Manila, select SM Malls, Tomas Morato, U.P. Town Center, and more locations nationwide
Happy Lemon is famous for its rock salt and cheese with saltiness, richness, and cheesiness that complement its chocolate, matcha, green tea, milk tea, and jasmine green tea-based drinks. Its smaller yet soft and chewy pearls also set Happy Lemon apart from other best milk tea brands in the Philippines.
Happy Lemon’s Cocoa with Rock Salt and Cheese is a crowd favorite. For an additional 10 pesos, you can add a crunchy cookie topping to this well-loved beverage.
Happy Lemon branches: Bonifacio High Street, Greenbelt 1, Robinson’s Magnolia, Robinson’s Place Manila, Shangri-La Plaza, select SM Malls, TriNoma, U.P. Town Center, and more locations nationwide
The fastest-growing milk tea brand in Asia, Gong Cha enjoys huge popularity in the Philippines, with numerous branches around the country. It’s the best milk tea shop for anyone who loves winter melon. Customers rave about the Milk Wintermelon, Gong Cha’s signature blend with sweet, cheesy, and salty cream on top.
Gong Cha branches: Alabang Town Center, Araneta Center, Eastwood Mall, Glorietta 1, Greenbelt 3, select Robinsons malls, select SM Malls, Timog, TriNoma, and more locations nationwide
The long snake-like lines at CoCo branches give anyone the impression that the brand is a hit among milk tea fans in the Philippines.
What’s not to love about this Taiwanese milk tea joint? Its milk tea with boba is to die for. Panda Milk Tea, CoCo’s most ordered drink, offers a unique experience with its delightful mix of big chewy black pearls and smaller crisp white pearls in a base of black tea and velvety milk.
CoCo’s Salty Cream Milk Tea is just as innovative. While other milk tea shops use cream cheese as a topping, CoCo uses Himalayan salt and fresh milk that enhance rather than overpower the milk tea’s light floral taste.
For those who can’t get enough of sinkers, the 3-Buddies Milk Tea will surely satisfy. It’s a crowd-pleaser with its combination of black tapioca, pudding, and grass jelly toppings.
CoCo branches: Chinatown, Cyberpark Tower One, Eastwood, Fairview Terraces, Fisher Mall, Gateway Tower, Katipunan, Rockwell Business Center, select SM Malls, TriNoma, U.P Town Center, and Venice Grand Canal Mall
One of the largest international bubble tea brands today, Chatime is a prolific milk tea shop in the Philippines. It’s practically in every mall in the metro (plus a delivery option via GrabFood), so you can satisfy your milk tea craving anytime.
Chatime serves freshly brewed tea mixed with a variety of natural flavors. The classic Chatime Milk Tea is a stand out with its simple blend of milk and black tea. In addition to milk tea, Chatime has a large selection of drinks that include smoothies, fruit tea, coffee, tea-based latte, and chocolate drinks.
You can customize your favorite Chatime drink. Sweetness levels can be adjusted from 0% to extra sugar, and you may also ask not to include ice or add extra ice.
In short, there’s something for everyone at Chatime, regardless of preference.
Chatime branches: Alabang Town Center, Alimall, BGC, Eastwood, Eton Centris Walk, Gateway Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Shangri-la Plaza, select Robinsons malls, select SM Malls, TriNoma, and more locations nationwide
Tiger Sugar carries the tagline “Brave as a Tiger” because of the tiger-like stripes that its brown sugar swirls form on a cup. It could also mean braving long lines—and waiting for up to two hours during peak times—just to get a sip of the famous Brown Sugar Boba Milk with Cream Mousse.
Some say it’s just a hype. But for people who hate the bitter taste of tea, Tiger Sugar is heaven-sent. While its menu has tea-based brown sugar milk, you can order a non-tea-based drink. What you’ll get is the creamiest brown sugar-flavored drink ever. The chewy black pearls complete the one-of-a-kind experience. It’s well worth the wait.
Tiger Sugar branches: Bonifacio High Street, Eastwood Mall, Glorietta 4, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, SM North EDSA, and TriNoma
Are brown sugar drinks too sweet for your liking? Alishan’s Brown Sugar Boba Milk with Cheese Brûlée might change your mind. The brown sugar is not too sweet because it’s an unprocessed high mountain variety with no artificial flavor or color. It’s also gluten-free and nut-free. The pearls are perfectly cooked with just the right chewiness.
Alishan @ The Alley is located at hidden spots in BGC and Makati, but long lines greet customers on weekdays. You’ll have to wait between 30 minutes to an hour to get your milk tea fix.
Aside from brown sugar drinks, Alishan also serves milk tea, fruit tea, and cheese tea for take-out only.
Alishan branches: Ore Central BGC and Eton Tower Makati
Dakasi is one of the best milk tea places in the Philippines that tries to be different. This Taiwanese brand uses medium-sized pearls and fresh ingredients for all its drinks, without any artificial flavor and additive.
Such quality you can experience especially with best-selling Dakasi products. The Dakasi Bubble Milk Tea is a no-frills drink made of low-fat and low-calorie black tea. The Okinawa Milk Tea is also popular because this creamy black tea-based drink has just the right sweetness. For winter melon lovers, the Creme Okinawa gives a creamy twist to their favorite flavor minus the tea.
Dakasi branches: Alimall, select Ayala Malls, Banawe, Market! Market!, select SM Malls, Tutuban, and more locations nationwide
Xing Fu Tang is a new milk tea brand that began its operations in Taiwan in early 2018. It has since expanded to several countries such as the Philippines, bringing its flavorful drinks closer to brown sugar milk lovers.
Xing Fu Tang’s Brown Sugar Boba Milk is different from similar drinks by other popular brands. Its pearls are stir-fried with caramelized brown sugar for that delightful roasted flavor. The drink also has a brown sugar top that’s torched to create a crème brûlée-like effect. Combined with fresh milk, this brown sugar drink (which you can order hot or cold) leaves nothing to be desired.
Xing Fu Tang branches: The Podium, Ortigas and Promenade Mall, Greenhills
Yi Fang isn’t touted as Taiwan’s best milk tea for nothing. Its refreshing drinks are perfect during hot, humid days and even when it’s gloomy and rainy.
Specializing in fruit tea, Yi Fang uses real fruits—apple, orange, and passion fruit—combined with fresh mountain tea and pineapple jelly sauce for its signature drink.
The Brown Sugar Pearl Tea Latte is another best-selling Yi Fang product. Black pearls are cooked in brown sugar and mixed with fresh milk and premium Sun Moon Lake black tea. The resulting drink is both sweet and toasty.
Yi Fang branches: Ayala Malls the 30th, Banawe, Binondo, BGC High Street, Bonifacio Stopover Corporate Center, Easton Place Makati, Price Plaza II Makati, M. Paterno, SM Mall of Asia, SM Southmall, Taft, Tomas Morato, and TriNoma
D’Cream is an underrated milk tea place but extremely popular with students in the University Belt where most of its branches are located.
It’s also an affordable option not just for students but also adult milk tea fans with a limited budget. For less than PHP 100, you can already order the biggest size of milk tea from D’Cream.
Despite its cheap prices, D’Cream doesn’t scrimp on quality and flavor. In fact, many customers say that its best-selling Golden Sun (made of black tea, creamy milk, and chewy pearls) is the best milk tea they’ve tried.
D’Cream branches: Asturias, España, Fatima Valenzuela, FEU, Gastambide, Intramuros, Madrid Binondo, P. Noval, Pedro Gil, PNU, select SM Malls, UE, UST, and Vito Cruz
There’s no harm in treating yourself to milk tea sometimes. After all, you deserve it after a stressful work week!
However, too much of anything (yes, milk tea included) is bad—both for your budget and health.
Drinking milk tea daily will cost you at least PHP 2,000 to PHP 3,000+ per month. A hundred bucks don’t seem like a splurge, but the cost does add up. Imagine spending more than PHP 20,000 in a year for milk tea.
Consider also the health effects of excessive milk tea consumption. While drinking tea in itself is healthy, its benefits are easily wiped out by milk, sugar, and other high-calorie ingredients with no nutritional value.
Moderation is the key. Dietitians recommend limiting yourself to just one serving of milk tea per week, or avoiding it altogether if you have health issues like diabetes, insomnia, or acid reflux.
If drinking your favorite milk tea brings you joy, go for it! Take your picks from the best milk tea brands listed above. Just remember to be mindful of how much and how often you consume milk tea for your own benefit.