It wasn’t so long ago when people thought that the milk tea craze was nothing but a fad. But based on how milk tea places are still around (and how long the lines are), plus how many other tea houses continue to sprout all over the metro, I think it’s safe to say that milk tea is here to stay—or at least it’s not going anywhere soon.
To prove just how successful milk tea is in the Philippines, even big names in the industry have jumped on the bandwagon—like Seattle’s Best Coffee (SBC), which is popular for their coffee drinks, although they do offer tea beverages as well. SBC recently introduced their version of the hit drink and they are calling it Milk Tea—plain and simple. You can have it hot or cold. It’s really the same drink, but the cold variant has ice and red chewy tapioca pearls.
SBC Marketing Officer Eric Fontillas invited me to taste the drinks a couple of weeks ago, and as a big fan of milk tea, I said yes, of course. I was very excited to do so I could check how it is different from the many other milk tea drinks out there—if it is different.
I was glad to find out that it does taste different—in a good way. In fact, I’ve never tasted any milk tea drink like it. I guess it’s because it’s not just one type of tea; it’s actually a combination of four different types: matcha green tea, jasmine green tea, Ceylon black tea, and English breakfast black tea. Jasmine is the strongest among the four, and it is also responsible for the unique flavor of the drink. It also has a slightly nutty flavor, thanks to the caramel syrup used to sweeten the drink.
The only possible issue some people might have with the drinks is the sweetness; some people might find them a little too sweet, especially the hot variant. The cold one is less sweet because of the ice and the tapioca pearls.
Fortunately, for me, I like my drink (and my food) really, really flavorful—so I have no issue with SBC’s Milk Tea drinks.
I actually like both the hot and cold Milk Tea drinks—but for different reasons. I like that the hot Milk Tea is very sweet because I like my hot drinks strong and flavorful; I like taking little sips while my beverage is still hot. As for the cold Milk Tea, I like that the jasmine flavor is strong because it is what makes the drink really special. Like I said, I’ve never tasted any other milk tea like it—and I really like my drinks to taste unique. However, I am not a big fan of pearls; I think they get in the way of a good drink (some drinks, that is, like milk tea) so the next time I go to SBC I’ll ask the barista to skip the pearls.
In all honesty, I became a fan of SBC’s Milk Tea after the first few sips, because of its unique flavor. I will surely be back. It’s just sad that it’s only a seasonal drink, meaning it’s not on the regular menu. The SBC Milk Tea is available only until the end of March this year, so better grab a cup of this milk tea as frequent as you can—while it’s available.
Photos by Jemymah Carbonell
Mark is the editor of InsidePinoyShowbiz.ph, and a writer for the lifestyle section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He also has a blog, iamthesampler.blogspot.com, where he chronicles his food adventures.