Ranking the Best Milk Tea Places in the Metro

Ranking the Best Milk Tea Places in the Metro

Welcome to Wonder’s milk tea taste test: three brands, three milk tea fanatics, 100% unfiltered opinions



It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when milk tea transcended the boundary between buzzword and full-on way of life. Hate it or love it, there’s no denying that this stuff––masterfully brewed, dairy-enriched and topped with glorious boba pearls––is on a completely different playing field than zagu, cronuts and the rest of the food fads that have come and gone. I never thought it would be a thing this long, but milk tea continues to thrive, with new variations of the drink and establishments brought in from abroad still springing left and right.


But with so many brands serving a beverage so well-loved, there’s bound to be a little room for debate, right? Surely milk tea is all preferential, but this granted us a window of opportunity to explore, as we do. Which milk tea place in the metro reigns supreme?


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To find out, we turned to the specialists. To narrow down the competition, we asked 15 milk tea fanatics to pick their 3 best bets between 8 of the most prominent milk tea brands: Chatime, Coco, Dakasi, Gong Cha, Serenitea, Ten Ren, Tokyo Bubble Tea and YiFang.

Ranking the Best Milk Tea Places in the Metro Ranking the Best Milk Tea Places in the Metro


Some points were made.


Furthering our exploration, we tapped 3 of our office’s resident milk tea lovers––Tara, Clarisse and Rica––to undergo a blind taste test of the top 3 contending brands. They ranked each establishment’s specialty drink based on the following criteria: fullness of taste, sweetness and sinkers, before identifying their ultimate pick.


That said, meet the candidates: Coco’s Panda Milk Tea, YiFang’s Brown Sugar Pearl Tea Latte and Gong Cha’s GC Milk Wintermelon Tea with Pearls.


Fullness of Taste

Tara’s pick: YiFang’s Brown Sugar Pearl Tea Latte

“YiFang is strong, tea-wise. You can tell it’s brewed well. Some milk tea, from what I know, is watered down but this doesn’t taste like that. Gong Cha, on the other hand, tastes a little manufactured.”


Clarisse’s pick: Coco’s Panda Milk Tea

“Coco’s milk tea is really the perfect balance. The milk doesn’t overpower the taste of the actual tea.”


Rica’s pick: Coco’s Panda Milk Tea

“Coco’s milk tea is really good, even though the tea is milkier than I expected it to be. On the other hand, Gong Cha is less milky and more fresh. There’s an herby aftertaste.”



Tara’s pick: Coco’s Panda Milk Tea

“I’m not sure what the sweetness level of this is (note: all drinks were at 100% sweetness!), but I like it. I usually get lower sweetness levels but this is nice.”


Clarisse’s pick: Coco’s Panda Milk Tea

“Coco’s Panda Milk Tea matches my usual sweetness order. Sobrang sakto lang compared to the others. For YiFang, it is not sweet at all and I feel like you have to get the sweetness from the sinkers. For Gong Cha, it’s just too sweet. I can’t taste the tea at all. It’s all milk!”


Rica’s pick: Gong Cha’s GC Milk Wintermelon Tea

“The sweetness of Gong Cha’s milk tea hits ya! When you drink it through the straw the flavor ends up surprising you. Coco’s was also nice: the sweetness is really nice for a large cup. You won’t get sick of it.”



Tara’s pick: YiFang’s Brown Sugar Pearl Tea Latte

“The YiFang [brown sugar] pearls are fun! They clumped together in a way I liked, although at one point they did get stuck in the straw.”


Clarisse’s pick: Coco’s Panda Milk Tea

“I’ve had had chewier pearls, but I like Coco’s sinkers. I also like Gong Cha’s, but I didn’t pick it because I feel the taste of the pearls was affected by the tea, which was too sweet.”


Rica’s pick: YiFang’s Brown Sugar Pearl Tea Latte

“The YiFang sinkers have a really nice texture, but I have to admit the size seems prone to choking me. Meanwhile, I don’t like Gong Cha’s sinkers. It’s a perfect sphere and it really works your jaw!”


The Verdict


According to the board of boba tea testers, Coco’s best-selling Panda Milk Tea reigns superior. It seems those hoards of people who line up at every Coco booth have good reason to queue up after all: a well-balanced mix between tea and milk, a sweetness level that doesn’t overwhelm and chewy double-pearl sinkers.


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Art Alexandra Lara

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