Remember a couple years ago, when suddenly out of nowhere there was this huge donut craze?
Big Apples and J.Co donuts (and later Krispy Kreme) were popping up everywhere, accompanying each new branch was always a long queue of customers eager to get a taste of fluffy pastry with a hole in the middle, it was quite a phenomena, well, at least until we got tired of it and the whole thing sort of tapered down.
The same thing is happening all over again, but this time around it is them Bubble Tea.
Chatime, only took a photo, wasn’t too impressed
Bubble tea is of course, nothing new in this country. The difference in these new establishments are not revolutionary, but they seemed to inject a breath of freshness in this old product.
Places like Chatime, Gongcha, and Ochado has one thing in common – they use updated ordering system and allows you to customize each drinks with different sugar and ice level as well as extra ingredients should you choose to add (pearl, grass jelly, etc). The tea are also brewed each day (or every few hours), no powdered form is used.
A fancy plastic seal is used to seal the drinks, only to be popped open by the oversize straw 2 seconds later.
Price wise, they are somewhere in between your average cup of Old Town drinks and Starbucks coffee, which means from around RM 5.90 to RM 7.90 or so, depending on the type of tea, additional pearl/jelly/milk froth, etc.
As of writing, Chatime has the most branches in Malaysia with a total of 15, you can find them as far as Melaka and Penang (check the listing here). I tried their milk tea with pearl and frankly, wasn’t too impressed. The tea tasted alright, it wasn’t too sweet, but at the same time didn’t give me any ummph I was hoping for. I wouldn’t line up for 20 mins to get a cup of Chatime bubble tea, but if I’m thirsty and there isn’t a line, I’ll probably still grab one.
G-K9, SSTwo Mall,
No. 40 Jalan SS2/72,
47400 Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.12093, 101.62727
Website: Chatime at facebook
Gong Cha at SS 15, one of Haze’s favs
Then there’s Gong Cha at SS 15 and Mid Valley, just like Chatime, it is another Taiwanese chain that was started in the mid of last decade and recently arrived in Malaysia. Gong Cha is not nearly as prolific as Chatime, but I find their drinks quite a bit better in quality, especially those with perforated milk.
Their grass jelly and one particular winter melon tea were quite lovely. Lucky SS 15 is some distance from where I stay and they only open till 10 pm, otherwise I’d spend too much calorie quota at this place I think.
The white pearl (extra RM 1.50) at Gong Cha has a nice texture to it, but I couldn’t distinguised their standard black pearl (RM 1) with those from pasar malam, so no more black pearl for me.
No 3, Jalan SS15/7,
47500 Subang Jaya
GPS: 3.07629, 101.59040
Tel: 03-5638 3328
My favorite of the lot though, is Ochado at Pavilion’s newest 6th floor section – Tokyo Street (that also house the popular ramen place – Hokkaido Santouka.
Ochado isn’t Taiwanese bubble tea, but Japanese instead (though this brand actually started from Singapore last year). To me the tea actually tasted a bit better, and so does their grass jelly. I’ve also tried their coffee with a type of “coffee pearl” that was simply marvelous.
When Cheesie tested it, she went “OMG IT HAS IKURA!“. The coffee pearl pops in your mouth and release concentrated flavors in small doses, I love it.
However, being in Pavilion also means that Ochado is slightly more expensive than the other two brands, but not more than extra RM 1 or 2 for similar drinks.
6.33.00 & 6.34.00, Level 6, Pavilion
Jln Bukit Bintang
GPS: 3.148872, 101.713368
Website: Ochado at Pavilion KL
For those who likes bubble tea, this is a good development. However, just like the donut craze, the Old Town & other modern kopitiam craze before, and the HK cha chan teng craze before that, eventually the bubble tea craze will come down and settle on a plateau. I’ll give it 1-2 years.