Milk tea is still one of Filipinos' top favorite treats, and there's always excitement when a new milk tea store announces an opening. A few boba-related buzzwords we're always hearing these days include 'brown sugar,' 'cream cheese,' and 'fresh milk' to name a few. While these popular drinks are usually the go-to, plenty of milk tea shops in Manila have much more to offer that you might just be missing out on. Here are some unique flavors to try when you don't feel like ordering your usual!
3-In-1 Milk Tea, Onezo
A newcomer in the Metro Manila milk tea game is Onezo, a brand from Taiwan that recently opened its first branch in Promenade, Greenhills. They have five different flavored pearls that you can add to your drinks: brown sugar, matcha, mango, strawberry, and taro! Try the 3-in-1 drink (P120/M, P140/L), which is a black tea latte with your choice of 3 kinds of pearls. The clean, milky taste of the black tea latte helps you appreciate the flavored pearls even more. Of course, if you'd like to try just one flavor, you may opt to add it to their other drinks.
Avocado Snow, Hi Tea Singapore
Have you ever heard of cold brew tea? If that sounds interesting to you, try out the tons of unique, fruity cold brew tea concoctions at Hi Tea Singapore! This spot from Singapore currently has one Philippine branch in Robinsons Metro East that opened in April this year. One of Hi Tea's best-sellers is the Avocado Snow (P110/regular, P120/large), which combines cold brewed oolong tea and avocado for a creamy, aromatic drink. Fans of the rock salt and cheese combo can also try Hi Tea's take, called the Cream Cloud, to go with their fruit teas.
Cinnamon Miruku, FRNK Milk Bar
One of the latest tea places to hit the metro is Isabelle Daza's FRNK Milk Bar, a Japanese milk bar serving low-calorie craft milk drinks. This place isn't your usual milk tea shop – one look at the menu and you'll know that what they offer is something different, with things like 'hand-whisked matcha' and 'blue tea pearls.' The Cinnamon Miruku (P110/small, P145/tall) is an iced shaken milk drink made with a spiced tea mix, basil drops, and dark sugar. It may look like the popular brown sugar drinks, but it's a completely different experience. It's one of the sweeter options on their menu, but the cinnamon gives it a bit of a kick.
White Peach Tea Macchiato, Presotea
Are you a fan of peaches and cream? Now imagine that as a milk tea flavor! Presotea's drinks are brewed to order, making your drink is the freshest it can be. Part of their Top 10 Drinks list is the White Peach Tea Macchiato (P115/medium, P125/large), made with a refreshing peach-flavored tea and topped with cream cheese foam. The drink is sweet and fruity, with a touch of creaminess that isn't overbearing. You can always order extra toppings like pearls or jelly to make it an even better treat!
Thai Taro Milk Tea, Hello Milk Tea
Hello Milk Tea may be a newcomer, but their unique drinks have already caught people's attention. The Thai Taro Milk Tea (P110) immediately stands out with its blue and purple hues. For this drink, Hello Milk Tea uses butterfly pea flower tea, which gives it that lovely blue color on the top layer. The purple from the bottom layer is from the earthy taro syrup – shake up the cup and you'll have a milky lavender-colored milk tea to enjoy!
Pandan with Rock Salt and Cheese, Happy Lemon
It's likely that Happy Lemon started your love for rock salt cheese drinks when they opened in Manila in 2010. The Cocoa with Rock Salt & Cheese is still one of their most popular drinks to this day! If you want to try this famous topping in a different way, get the Pandan with Rock Salt and Cheese (P119). This is a special edition drink, so you might not always catch it on the menu. But when you do, it's worth a try for the amazing reviews it gets! Happy Lemon just gets this combo right.
Koko Yen, Cha Tuk Chak
Cha Tuk Chak is known for serving authentic Thai milk tea, which is something you rarely find in the metro. This store started out relatively small but has been branching out around Manila as their popularity grows. People rave about the traditional Cha Yen, but chocolate lovers are in for a treat with the Koko Yen (P110/regular, P125/large). This drink is made with artisanal dark chocolate mixed in with Thai tea to create a rich blend with a slight tea flavor. You'll have to try it for yourself to believe the hype is worth it!
Oatmeal Milk Tea, TenRen's Tea
Milk tea doesn't always have to be too guilty a pleasure – there are options that might be healthier for you! TenRen's Tea offers Oatmeal Milk Tea (P95) which you can get with either black or green tea. The addition of oatmeal adds extra texture and some chew, but it's something very different from your usual pearls or pudding. Does this mean we can have milk tea for breakfast now?