Last Updated: March 29, 2018
Bubble tea in Singapore is one trend that has no signs of dying out. Creamy milk tea, delicious tapioca pearls — I love it all! And the bubble tea scene is only getting bigger and bolder with new jaw-dropping artisanal tea creations and even alcoholic bubble tea (yes!) popping up.
True story: I have never repeated an order at Gong Cha. I’m trying out the whole menu to find my all-time favourite bubble tea beverage, one drink at a time. From a die-hard bubble tea fan, here are 11 unique bubble tea concoctions you might not have tried before.
Yes, you heard it right. The one, the only Pink Cactus Smoothie With Pink Cactus Pearls ($7.10, large), right here in Singapore.
This brand-new import comes from Taiwanese chain Playmade by 丸作, which set up shop just recently in 2017. You might have already seen the long queues snaking outside its Tampines One outlet.
The drink is made from a pink cactus that can only found in the Penghu province of Taiwan. With its alluring creamy pink hue and bright reddish-pink cactus pearls, this exotic beauty will stand out proudly on your Instagram feed.
Expect floral hints and a sweet milky taste reminiscent of bandung with a slightly sour aftertaste. Rest assured, Playmade takes pride in their freshly-made flavoured pearls that are prepared only with natural ingredients. If you haven’t already tried it, you’re missing out.
You can read more from our full review of Playmade.
Expected Damage: $7.10
You might recall this bubble tea brand from its ambassador, local actor-turn-F&B guru Nat Ho. He’s also one of the shareholders of the new Singapore outlet of Bobii Frutii from Taiwan.
A self-titled “bar that sells non-alcoholic cocktail”, you can expect this bubble tea franchise to surprise you with some pretty intriguing flavours.
Perhaps one of the prettiest drinks on the menu is its bestseller, Mermaid’s Tears ($5.90). Apart from the bold and colourful layering, the flavours also balanced well. The yellow layer tasted sweet from the mango, with some zesty lemon flavour. Meanwhile, the blue butterfly pea layer was sweeter with the addition of honey.
With the ice-blended yellow and blue layers acting as the foundation, the blue ‘butterfly pea’ bobii were rather unusually found at the top of the cup instead. Do mix up the drink a little first to get the pearls to the bottom so that every sip comes with some of the chewy pearls.
Considering the bubble tea’s quirky name, you can already expect some funky flavours to be contained in this cup. This isn’t a drink for the faint-hearted. So grow a pair of bobii and come on down to Bobii Frutii!
Expected Damage: $5.90
I maaay have been drawn to this bubble tea shop because of the adorable giant bear guarding the front of the store. They offer a cheese fruit tea combination that is bear-ilicious enough for a visit.
U-Cha‘s Cheese Strawberry ($6.90) is pulpy and full of fresh strawberry chunks! This berrylicious drink is sweet enough to be a winner, hands down, even among kids. The tangy fruit wasn’t too tart, and went well with the creamy cheese topping, just like how berries pair well with cheesecake.
I’d liken this drink to more of a dessert beverage. Drinking this is bound to be beary fun, especially with the inevitable cheese moustache you’ll get after each sip. Plus points for the cheeky bear mascot printed on the side of the cup!
Expected Damage: $6.90
You might recognise the name from the hero of the popular Japanese anime series, One Piece. And just like the character, this drink from beloved Taiwanese tea brand R&B Tea packs a punch. This best-seller Mighty Luffy ($6.80) draws its name from its ginormous one-litre serving of fruity Hawaiian tea.
This colossal concoction contains delicious fresh fruit infused with No. 23 Black Tea. Overall, the flavour bursts of sweetness from the watermelon and tanginess from the citrus oranges, lemon and lime all come together harmoniously, with a slightly bitter finish from the tea.
Just look at those huge watermelon chunks! Light and refreshing, R&B’s Mighty Luffy is the perfect cooler to beat the hot weather in Singapore. Are you up to the challenge of finishing that intimidating one-litre drink?
Expected Damage: $6.80
Time to switch things up with a delicious bubble tea drink that’s actually healthy. Intrigued? For your own well-being, try out this local brand Yuan Cha‘s Apple Vinegar Oolong ($4.90).
Tart yet mellow, the Apple Vinegar Oolong is a light and refreshing drink perfect for washing down a rich, heavy meal. This mild drink went down well, because it wasn’t overly sweet and the sharp taste of vinegar also wasn’t too overbearing. I’ll admit that the vinegar element may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
You can even add on these mesmerising QQ Rainbow ($0.80) pearls as a topping! Apart from the bold colours (no food colouring), these QQ pearls are also freshly-made from matcha, yam and sweet potato. They had a pleasant bouncy chewiness, which is an absolute necessity for pearls.
So try Yuan Cha’s Apple Vinegar Oolong that combines premium oolong tea with the health benefits of fruit vinegar. Health is wealth, so you might even be getting back your money’s worth when you order this bubble tea.
Expected Damage: $4.90
Yuan Cha: 14 Scotts Road, Far East Plaza, #01-39, Singapore 228213 | Tel: +65 8745 4817 | Opening Hours: (Sunday to Wednesday) 11am – 9pm, (Thursday to Saturday) 11am – 9.30pm | Outlets | Website | Facebook
With so many bubble tea brands in Singapore, bubble tea kiosks scattered across the island are a dime a dozen. But a cafe serving bubble tea? Here at SOD Cafe SG, pair delicious cafe dishes with a jug of refreshing bubble tea. You heard me right, this bubble tea comes in a JUG!
Using its unique caffeine-free SOD tea base, SOD Milk Tea ($4.50) is a light and fragrant brew without the bitter aftertaste that some other milk tea alternatives have.
You can even pick your choice of toppings (Black Pearl, White Pearl or Aloe Vera) that are served on the side with an additional bottle of syrup. I liked the milk tea just as it was served. My advice is to just leave the syrup alone as the toppings are already sweet.
And yes, you get to drink the bubble tea straight out of the jug! This milk tea from SOD Cafe SG is definitely value-for-money and holds the spot as one of my favourites. You could even share it with your friends. As for me, nobody’s touching my jug!
You can read more from our full review of SOD Cafe SG.
Expected Damage: $4.50
SOD Cafe SG: 51 Hougang Ave 9, Ci Yuan CC, #01-03, Singapore 538776 | Tel: +65 6385 4026 | Opening Hours: (Monday) 11am – 10pm, (Tuesday) Closed, (Wednesday to Sunday) 11am – 10pm | Website | Facebook
Here’s a new tea spot you might not have heard of. Founded by fellow Singaporeans, Hi Tea aims to revolutionise the tea industry with its contemporary cold brew tea concept.
Just like cold brew coffee, Hi Tea’s version employs time over temperature to extract the flavours from the tea leaves.
Consider their most popular entry, Watermelon Snow ($4.80). Infused with premium Jasmine tea, the drink serves up ice-blended fresh watermelon which has a nice slushy-like consistency.
In each sip, the sweetness of the watermelon hits first, before ending off with subtle floral notes from the fragrant Jasmine.
Just look at the frothy ‘snow’! My favourite part of the drink is that its sweetness is completely natural, without any use of artificial syrups. So how about a thirst-quenching and healthy cold brew tea for a change?
You can read more from our full review of Hi Tea.
Expected Damage: $4.80
Hold your horses — this isn’t the infamous Hey Tea that caused two-hour lines in China for a cup of cheese tea. While we await Hey Tea’s arrival, you might want to give HeeTea a shot for a really solid cuppa cheese tea.
New contender HeeTea serves up its Hamimelon Cheese Tea ($6.90). Including the rather unusual snow melon, this beverage offers up a really delicate sweetness. What really stole the show here, however, was the CHEESE, which was light, frothy and creamy; HeeTea’s heavenly cheese has made me a believer.
The almost mousse-like cheese was rich yet not too jelak, and the mildly bitter finish from the Four Seasons tea cleansed the palate well afterwards. I’m not even kidding when I say that this is my favourite cheese tea at the moment.
Expected Damage: $6.90
This bubble tea chain should be more familiar to us, considering its many outlets scattered across Singapore. Famous for its Taiwanese street food variety, I Love Taimei 我愛台妹 also houses a repertoire of interesting bubble tea flavours, including its Instagram-worthy “Aurora Series” tea.
Inspired by the stunning colours of the Aurora Borealis, this “Aurora Series” bestseller, Northern Lights ($4.90), is an interesting mix of vibrant hues.
This carnival-in-a-cup was a delight to the senses! It had fizzy mango sprite and the punchy purple of a refreshing butterfly pea flower tea.
And we haven’t even gotten to the best part yet. Instead of regular tapioca pearls, this drink includes some bizarre yet tasty mango popz. Each ‘pearl’ literally popz in your mouth with sweet mango juice bursting out. These are so addictive! How is Taimei not that popz yet?
Expected Damage: $4.90
New to the scene is artisan fruit tea shop, ROJI Chaseki, which has a concoction so bizarre that I couldn’t leave it off the list. Try to wrap your head around ROJI Chaseki’s Sparkling Strawberry & Thyme with Milky Popcorn ($5.80).
With its brilliant reddish glow and sprig of fragrant thyme, this drink is the true essence of sophistication. This delicious beverage has faint hints of butterscotch from ROJI’s signature Milky Popcorn tea. Aside from its vibrant colours, this drink’s best feature is its restrained sweetness.
Definitely a must-try with all that elegance in one cup. And of course, the glorious sparkling bubbles were just like champagne! So, show some love to ROJI Chaseki and savour some of their other unique concoctions including their collagen-packed beauty tea, Bijincha ($6.80).
You can read more from our full review of ROJI Chaseki.
Expected Damage: $5.80
ROJI Chaseki: 5 Raffles Place, Raffles Xchange, #B1-64, Singapore 048618 | Tel: +65 6779 2948 | Opening Hours: (Monday to Friday) 11am – 8pm, (Saturday) 10am – 2.30pm, (Sunday) Closed | Facebook
10 might be a nice number to end off this list, but I just couldn’t leave out the next exotic entry. Prepare yourself for an alcoholic bubble tea!
The bubble tea game has just been taken up a notch. As a bubble tea fanatic, I couldn’t possibly turn down the chance to try Singapore’s first alcoholic boba at The Local Box. Sorry kids, adults only!
Don’t be fooled by how innocuous these drinks look. With flavours such as Nutella Baileys Milk Tea ($11.50 with pearls) and Taro Tequila Milk Tea ($12.50 with pearls), prepare yourself because these bubble tea drinks are all spiked with yummy booze!
While The Local Box’s selection of alcoholic bubble tea is generally quite mild in alcohol content, the booze pairings actually enhanced the flavour of the tea. For example, the Baileys in the Nutella Baileys Milk Tea provided a nice vanilla-like sweetness that brightened up the denser chocolate taste.
Expected Damage: $11.50 – $12.50
The Local Box: 8 Enggor Street, #01-05, Singapore 079718 | Tel: +65 8303 0362 | Opening Hours: (Monday to Thursday) 7.30am – 6pm, (Friday) 7.30am – 7.30pm, (Saturday & Sunday) Closed | Website | Facebook
If you’re looking for alcoholic bubble tea with a little more kick, you might like rooftop bar Loof‘s bizarre Loof Bubble Tea ($21++). Consisting of orange liqueur, calamansi, passion fruit and tapioca pearls, this vodka-infused blend of tropical flavours is even sealed in a plastic cup like traditional bubble tea.
With the arrival of alcoholic bubble tea to our shores, it’s high time for you to indulge in bubble tea that’s also a cocktail at the same time. It’s a combination of my two favourite beverages (bubble tea and alcohol), so what’s not to love?
Expected Damage: $21++ (Singapore’s most expensive bubble tea, but it’s alcohol so take my money!)
Loof: 331 North Bridge Road, Odeon Towers Extension Rooftop, #03-07, Singapore 188720 | Tel: +65 6337 9416 | Opening Hours: (Monday to Thursday) 5pm – 1am, (Friday & Saturday) 5pm – 2am, (Sunday) Closed | Website | Facebook