I'm sure worldwide and all around, there are Asian bubble tea kiosks. I remember many years, or a good decade ago, we used to have those blended ice drinks with all sorts of toppings. That was indeed yummy for a child who knows nothing about artificial flavourings and fattening toppings. Till now, I still don't care much about how harmful such drinks would be on me and I fancy one as a motivation. I was telling my friends, I would persuade myself to walk home from uni (walking takes about 20ish minutes) and I'll reward myself with a cup of bubble tea. I know, that's silly. Doing the cost-benefit analysis (all that econs stuff T__T), bus ride wins a cup of bubble tea given that a bus ride costs A$1.60 and a cup costs A$5ish.
In Australia, or particularly in Sydney, one bubble tea (bbt) chain that can be found almost anywhere and everywhere is EasyWay. I never really bought from them even though friends' friends said they have pretty good drinks. The next growing chain would be Chatime, which is my all-time favourite. I had my first cup from them when they had a 1-for-1 new store promotion that lasted a week. I still wonder why bbt are so pricey in Sydney because they can be found at $1-3 in Singapore, which equates to almost half the price after exchange rate conversion. But, I still enjoy my bbt :) A friend told me that there is Chatime in Singapore now! It gets me excited because I'll still be able to enjoy my favourite bbt in summer when I get back to Singapore. Oh, yay!
Walking down the memory lane (with reminders from my photo folder), the first cup I bought was Matcha Red Bean Milk Tea with aloe vera topppings under their menu Mellow Milk Tea. It was difficult choosing my first drink from them, so I decided to pick something that had my favourite red bean and green tea (or Matcha). I haven't had this drink since last year and I remember it was because the matcha taste was really overpowering. The bitterness in matcha didn't balance with the milk tea and there was too little red beans to make me happier. But, it was a good try.
I remember the second I had, also from Chatime, was when I was down with flu (I had photos to remind me about it). But it was then that I found my favourite drink from Chatime, and I never ordered anything else besides that. Each time I go into Chatime, I find myself ordering their Taiwan Taro Milk Tea (also from their Mellow Milk Tea series) again and again. There is no need for extra toppings because it comes with cereal like taro bits that got me hooked :) No wonder it's one of their best sellers! In comparison, I had EasyWay's Taro Milk Tea before and it was way too watery! It was like a lot of liquid with artificial flavourings, I didn't like it. Whenever I see someone holding onto a cup of purple drink from EasyWay, I always have the urge to tell them to try Chatime's. But, I'm not sure if it's quality control problem (like some outlets make it better) or it's like this everywhere. Lucky it was $2.
I also love those online coupon websites that have awesome deals, which included Chatime and EasyWay $2 drink coupons! We bought so many of those drink coupons that we got sick of bbt for a while. Finally, we tried something different with the $2 coupons and it was a good try. One of the new drinks was Passion Fruit Green Tea with rainbow jelly. I think it had a stronger mango taste than a passion fruit one, but it was definitely refreshing.
Another one was Pearl Milk Tea. I never liked pearl toppings when I was young because they looked like roaches :/ I remember there was once I bought a green apple blended ice drink and the lady put in pearls, assuming I wanted them even though I didn't. I left the drink overnight in the freezer and it turned brownish green the day. No more pearls from then on. But it feels weird and awkward to have bbt without the "bubbles", so I learnt to take pearl toppings again and was also told that some pearls had a very rich tea taste, which doesn't seem so bad after all! So we tried their pearl milk tea and it was good too. I haven't had other milk teas from elsewhere so I can't do a comparison.
My new found favourite has to be Roasted Pearl Milk Tea. It seems/looks the same as Pearl Milk Tea, but it's definitely not. I love the roasted tea taste in it and have been ordering this ever since I got kinda sick with taro milk tea. The one they had one the menu was with grass jelly toppings, but I prefer pearls so I had them added onto my drink :) Some outlets do it less sweet even though it's 100% sugar (I know it's unhealthy but having less than 100% doesn't make it any healthier). I reckon less ice is also better so the taste wouldn't be diluted. This is what I order now each time I visit Chatime (there's an outlet like less than a minute away from my house, guilty!).
The other time I had EasyWay was because it was closer to where I was than Chatime :/ I remember it was cold and freezing, so a cup of hot bbt would be perfect! Lucky for a good analysis and choice, I had a black sesame milk tea with grass jelly topping :) It was good! The grass jelly was very slimy, so it goes down the throat with every gulp of sesame mik tea. Alas, the grass jelly was quickly finished :( The milk tea wasn't as diluted as I predicted, so it was all good. My only favourite drink from EasyWay.
If only the warmth lasted a little longer...