Why You Need To Try Every Bubble Tea Drink On This List

Featuring the most popular, best-selling and interesting drinks from 5 BBT specialists. 

By Chris Ong        11 March 2022

When it comes to bubble tea (or BBT), everyone has their favourite brands and their favourite flavours. There are so many options in SG alone – new brands, seasonal specials, limited-time collaborative concoctions – that even diehard BBT lovers might have trouble (digestive, too) gulping down a different one every day of the week, for a year (or longer), just to try them all.

For the BBT newbies and the jaded, since we’re still fresh into 2022, it might do you good to keep your must-tries to a simple few, just as a start. Spark the joy of finding a favourite with these 5 on this list, each a perennial delight in their own right.

1. Earl Grey Milk Tea with 3J, Gong cha

Here’s an OG. Gong cha’s been in Singapore since 2009 and remains a top BBT go-to among the locals. The numbers prove it: 30-plus outlets, offering over 40 different combinations.

Which means whatever drink is bound to have its lovers and haters. So here’s one of its self-proclaimed best-sellers that’s an OG concoction for an OG brand: the Earl Grey Milk Tea with 3J.

For less than a fiver, you will get an indulgent dessert drink. How it qualifies: A cup of fragrant Earl Grey milk tea, topped with mounds of pudding jelly, chunks of grass jelly and classic black tapioca pearls (these three ingredients are what the “3J” refers to). So many different layers of mouthfeels (creamy, chewy, jiggly, slurpy), packed into one delicious serving.

Multiple locations, www.gong-cha-sg.com; www.facebook.com/gongchasg; www.instagram.com/gongchasgofficial

Bonus: SAFRA members get 10% off total bill at Gong cha outlets (not valid at selected outlets).

2. Rice Oolong Latte, Forbidden Tea

This is an interesting one from an enterprising BBT biz.

Try any of Forbidden Tea’s classic milk ones like, well, the Classic Milk Tea ($3.40 and up). But, why stick to the “same-o, safe-o” ones that you can find elsewhere when you can opt for its special signature blend: the Rice Oolong Latte (from $4.90)?

Slightly tannic, thanks to the earthy marriage of oolong tea leaves and rice grains, its light bitterness is softened by creamy, vanilla-ish milk. Add some sizeable, freshly-made chewy Golden Pearls (or other more interesting toppings such as Orh Nee Pearls or Honey Jasmine Jelly, all for an extra dollar or less) and you’ve got your refreshing homemade BBT brew of the day.

Various locations including Marymount Community Club, www.facebook.com/forbiddentea; www.instagram.com/forbiddentea_sg

3. Chrysanthemum Milk Tea, PlayMade by 丸作

This cult favourite BBT brand has gone big-time; the Taiwanese biz opened up a Playground by PlayMade cafe at AMK Hub late last year in addition to its drinks-only outposts.

It more than passes the vibe check with the youngsters – for its ultra novel collaborations (such as the recent Jia Jia Liang Teh and a new Geneco one), innovative-flavoured handmade pearls (it built its success on them) and, of course, a splashy choice of cloying creations. But, look past the hype, and you will find that some of the simpler ones are also its tastiest ones.

Such as the Chrysanthemum Milk Tea (from $3.80) for example. Don’t mistake its humble looks and name, and old-school flavour for a beige-tasting “blah-bble” tea drink; it’s one of the brand’s top sellers. Pick your preferred pearls to add to this sweet-enough-on-its-own drink – you can double up on the floral notes with Chrysanthemum-flavoured ones.

Multiple locations, www.playmade.com.sg; www.facebook.com/playmadeonezo; www.instagram.com/playmade.onezo

4. Winter Melon Tea Lemonade, Cing Tea

This one might have flown under your radar because a) pandemic so you might missed reading about it and b) it only opened in Tanjong Pagar late last year and has only one outlet right now.

So, to help you make up for lost time, here’s some info about this new-ish player. Hailing from Feng Chia (or Fengjia) Night Market (supposedly the largest night market in Taiwan), Cing Tea is also known as a “Light Oolong Tea Shop”.

Since that is the case, all the oolong ones here deserve a try. But, if you want to live a little and let your taste buds tingle, look up the “Raymon’s No. 1” and “Raymon’s Specials”. Our top pick within this range of outliers: Winter Melon Tea Lemonade ($3.80).

It’s one of the cheapest (hence, value for money), and a traditional Eastern health bev (winter melon tea) refreshed with the extra vitamin C zip of lemonade. Throw in its “Bubble” (pearls), Tea Jelly, Nata Jelly or Aloe Vera toppings (from $0.60 and up; price dependent on flavour and drink size) to turn this into a tastier, true-blue BBT wonder.

And, just who exactly is Raymon? It’s the brand’s bespectacled mascot who wears what seems like a slice of citrus fruit on top of his noggin. Simply adorkable.

12 Gopeng Street, #01-89/90, Icon Village, 078877, www.cingteasg.com; www.facebook.com/cingteasg; www.instagram.com/cingteasg

5. Taiwan Milk Tea + Brown Sugar Boba, Xing Fu Tang

Brown sugar and boba pearl milk drinks were fire a few years; now, they’ve become a popular mainstay amongst BBT lovers here.

The matter-of-factly-named Taiwan Milk Tea + Brown Sugar Boba (from $4.90) from Xing Fu Tang may not be the brand’s top-star, the Brown Sugar Boba Fresh Milk (it’s not a milk tea, btw), nor the sweetest or creamiest out there on the market, but this brand-recommended combination makes for a worthy must-try.

The black tea’s made from high-quality leaves plucked from Taiwan’s mountains; the brown sugar pearls are house-made from 100% natural brown sugar and stir-fried in a wok to give them that special soft and caramelised chewiness; and the non-diary creamer adds extra creaminess to balance out all of that sugariness. It’s the perfectly balanced milk tea for those who are lactose intolerant.

Multiple locations, https://xingfutangsg.com; www.facebook.com/XingfutangSG; www.instagram.com/xinfutangsg