It wasn’t so long ago when people thought that the milk tea craze was nothing but a fad, but basing 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 last week, and as a big fan of milk tea, I was very excited to do so, so I can 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. The jasmine, I think, is the strongest among the four, which is good because it is also responsible for the unique flavor of the drink. Caramel is used to sweeten the drink, which gives it a slightly nutty flavor.

The drinks tend to be very sweet (especially the hot one), but thankfully not overly sweet. The ice and the tapioca pearls probably tame the sweetness in the cold drink.

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. 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.

Photos by Jemymah Carbonell