It's no secret that the Philippines has seen the proliferation of milk tea shops grow far and wide ever since Serenitea was first established back in 2008. With more and more bubble tea stores laying ground in the country, the wealth of options for the milk tea-obsessed Filipino now seems endless. But if you want to narrow down your boba-infused rotation with the best classics mixed with relatively newer shops to try, we've got just the list for you!
1. Gong Cha
Arguably one of the most popular tea franchises in the country, you can practically spot a Gong Cha in almost any mall you find yourself in. It’s unsurprising considering they have approximately 1,500 stores in over 20 countries around the world, owing to their various addicting milk tea selections, which you can mix in with any sinker of your choice. According to Gong Cha’s official website, their top three drinks are the Milk Tea with Pearl Jelly, Wintermelon Milk, and the House Special Milk Wintermelon.
Creamy milk tea made from all natural milk? Sign us up! Franchised by Anne Curtis, I’Milky joins the list of Taiwanese Milk Tea shops invading Filipino taste buds. A must-try for first timers include their Brown Sugar Pearl Milk, Fresh Strawberry Milk, Wintermelon Tea Latte, and their I'Milky Black Tea Soy Milk.
3. Brown Cafe
Aside from being delectably satisfying to the soul, did you know that indulging in your tea obsession can actually be good for your skin? Just take it from Brown Cafe whose pearls are infused with collagen found to have skin and health benefits. They even have low-calorie bubbles available! Among their best sellers are the Brown Sugar Pearl with Milk, Royal Premium Milk Tea, Thai Tea, the Rainbow Low-Calorie Bubble Series, and the Shake Shake Series.
4. One Zo
If you’re tired of the usual black and white pearls to accompany your drink, try out One Zo’s colorful alternatives. Freshly handmade, their tapioca balls come in a variety of flavors including taro, matcha, strawberry, and mango! One Zo virgins are encouraged to try out their best sellers: 3-in-1, Dirty Milk, Dirty Tea, Taro Delight, It's a Match, and the One Zo Fruit Tea.
There’s no milk tea roundup list without Serenitea, a.k.a. the OG milk tea shop in the country that first opened in 2008. Their touted big three drinks to try are the Hokkaido, Wintermelon, and Okinawa infused with Nata, Black Pearls, and Egg Pudding sinkers.
6. Yi Fang
If you need a break from the brown sugar craze, Yi Fang’s your best bet. While they do have milk teas in their menu, they mostly specialize in refreshing and healthy fruit teas made from all-natural ingredients including brewed tea leaves imported from Taiwan. Among their best sellers are the Yi Fang Signature Fruit Tea and Brown Sugar Pearl Tea Latte.
Known for their classic frappe and tea drinks, Infinitea’s another famous tea brand that’s already made a name for themselves in the local market. Boasting of 100% freshly brewed loose-leaf teas, included in their must try list are actually a number of milk tea options like the Salted Caramel Wintermelon Milktea, Oreo Milktea, and the Okinawa Milktea. But if you’re not up for either, you’ll still have a variety of beverages to choose from as they also serve lemonade, soda pops, and other hot drinks.
If you've ever seen an orange shop with an obscenely long queue at the mall, it’s most definitely another Coco branch. Boasting of refreshing tea and juice drinks made from fresh ingredients, the Taiwan brand currently stands at more than 4000 shops strong all over the globe. Among their customers’ favorite drinks include the 3 Buddies Milk Tea, Salty Cream Milk Tea, and the Passion Fruit Tea Burst.
9. Cha Tuk Chak
Another tea shop to try if you haven’t already is Cha Tuk Chak. Their Pink Milk takes the cake for its quirky color and its apparent popularity in Thailand, often appearing on well known Thai TV dramas. First time customers can also try their famous Cha Yen, a.k.a, the original Thai Milk Tea, the Thai Green Tea Milk, or the Thai Emerald Lemon.
10. Macao Imperial Tea
Standing out amid the Taiwan milk tea invasion is Macao Imperial Tea. Originating from Macau, the famed Vegas of China, they’re most known for the creamy consistency of their drinks, notable of which are the selections from their Cream Cheese series. Plus, unlike other brands, you can actually reuse their cups that also come with a removable red crown on the lid so you can enjoy your sinker-free drinks without using a straw.
11. Tiger Sugar
Taiwanese brand Tiger Sugar made quite the frenzy when it first arrived in the country last December 2018, and for good reason. With a small curated menu to choose from, the shop prides itself with its signature Brown Sugar Boba Milk with Cream Mousse, no added sinkers, no fixing sugar levels, delectably perfect just the way it is. Note that when you try it out for the first time, they recommend shaking your cup at least 15 times to thoroughly mix the brown sugar and milk together. Other suggested drinks are the Black Tea Latte with Cream mousse and the Brown Sugar Green Tea with Pearls.
12. Chemistea Milk Tea
You’ve heard of reusable cups and colored bobas, but no one’s serving looks like Chemistea. As you’ve probably deduced from the name, this quaint café in Quezon City will have you stirring up your personal science experiments with their beverages poured into laboratory flasks, complete with a stirring rod. Among their most favored drinks are the Pearl Milk tea, Red Velvet, and Toffee Nut.
If you need more reason to indulge in your milk tea cravings, you’ll definitely find one in Tantea’s peach gum sinkers. A healthier alternative to pearls, peach gum traces its origins to China where it’s often used for medicinal purposes including relieving stress, or as a skin supplement. The store has a whopping 68 drinks on their menu, but to keep from getting overwhelmed, consider their bestsellers like the Boba Pearl Milk Tea, Brown Sugar Pearl Milk Tea Dirty Bottle, or the Mango Peach Gum.