If you haven’t already noticed, tea drinks with fresh slices of fruit are all the rage and have been the latest hype for the past few months.
Riding the wave, TP TEA (茶湯會), a leading Taiwanese tea beverage chain has just opened its first outlet in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 on 27 June 2018.
Established in 2005 and parented by Taiwanese teahouse Chun Shui Tang, TP TEA proudly stems from 30 years of experience with 300 stores since the brand expanded worldwide.
The remote location seems odd and discouraging as its first outlet on local ground, but the store envisions it as a golden opportunity to attract a wide variety of customers to try the beverages.
Since we were recommended to try the mildest tea up to the strongest at 100% sugar-level, we started with the Premium Green Tea ($2.60). From the first sip, I was straight-up confused — in a good way.
As a 0% or maximum 25% sugar-level drinker, I braced myself for a sweetness overdose. But maybe because cane sugar is used instead of fructose, the green tea was only mildly sweet with floral accents.
You might initially think that the foam is either milk or cheese-flavoured, but the creamy layer is the result of brewing fresh leaves which introduced smooth, bitter notes on my tongue before I reached the cooling tea.
After a great start, we continued to try the TieGuanYin Tea ($2.90), which isn’t as readily available in the bubble tea market.
Extolled for its high-quality and deep roasted flavours, the premium Chinese oolong tea was slightly sour along with bitter undertones and was even more refreshing than the green tea.
If you haven’t tried Tieguanyin before, this full-bodied drink would be a gentle introduction to the rather robust tea.
The TieGuanYin Tea Latte ($4.60), which brings the best of both worlds of tea and coffee, is the best-seller on the menu. Visually, the layers of white and caramel brown vouched for its popularity. But what about the taste?
After swirling the layers together with a straw (and Boomeranging it), the drink turned into a shade of pale brown that boasted a bittersweet balance.
Because the texture of the drink was quite dense on my tongue, I’d have it for dessert rather than on a sunny day. It was a good mixture of creamy milk and mildly bitter tea nonetheless.
What’s a bubble tea shop without its pearls? The Pearl Milk Tea ($3.90) looked just like your regular BBT (bubble tea), but as the brand puts quality over convenience, the tapioca pearls are freshly-prepared and a new batch is made every three hours to ensure the best chewiness.
The pearls were indeed soft and chewy, soaking in the velvety caramel-like milk tea. Out of all the drinks, it was the sweetest (at 100% sugar-level) which unfortunately overpowered the black tea aroma. Go for less sugar to truly appreciate this drink!
Offering both cold and hot drinks, the cup designs at TP TEA naturally vary accordingly. But have you tried pearls in hot tea, or even, hot tea and red bean?
Served in black coffee cups, the hot Pearl Black Tea Latte With Red Bean ($5.30) revealed a thick foamy layer that produced a sweet fragrance of red bean and tea.
At the bottom of the cup, you can scoop out pearls together with red bean which had a fun fluctuation of soft, chewy, crumbly and mushy textures. The combination was unique yet gave rise to a comforting drink.
If you’re on a caffeine-free diet, there’s the Honey Lemon ($3.60). Flown in directly from Taiwan, the Grade A lemon juice was tart followed by a subtle bitterness. Sure, it was a refreshing beverage but it was a tad too sweet and syrupy for my liking. To remedy this, I let the ice crystals melt a little bit.
You could add Pearls ($0.60), Boba ($0.60), Grass Jelly ($0.90) or Red Bean ($0.90), but for the honey lemon, I’d go for Aloe Vera ($0.90).
If you thought red bean and pearls was an interesting combo, wait till you’ve tried the Pearl Milk Tea Soft Serve Ice Cream ($3.60).
It was closer to a gelato consistency rather than a soft serve due to its slightly thick texture but the chewy pearls complemented it well. The milk tea flavour could’ve also been more distinct but it wasn’t too sweet, which was a bonus. I’m sure people will be flocking to the T2 Departure Hall just for this!
At the moment, the beverages are only available in one size with sugar levels from 0% to 30%, 50%, 80% and 100%. Just a little advice, 0% might be a risk (even the staff advised me not to) because even at 100% sugar level, the tea drinks still weren’t too sweet. For the health-conscious, this might be off-putting, but the use of cane sugar is a healthier option.
Conveniently situated next to llaollao and Krispy Kreme, the 24-hour TP TEA would be a nice, refreshing treat before you fly off — only if you’ve got the time to queue up!
Expected Damage: $2.90 – $5.60 per pax