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Blindfold and Hands-free Bubble Tea Challenge!

It’s Boba Fever! Beware, as this beverage has made their phenomenal comeback. All of a sudden, these creamy drinks have become a craze all over the world with no sign of slowing down! It can be found on practically every street corner. Bubble tea is now becoming an essential part of our food culture. More and more shops are popping up around Ipoh recently. Just name it! Xing Fu Tang, Daboba, The Alley and much more. A lot of people are willing to queue for a very long time just to get a cup (we are talking about hours, okay?). It was MADNESS! Back then, we only had to decide between Chatime or Tealive, right? Not just that, I still remember when bubble tea is a must, every time school is out. It was during my primary school. The small stall at the corner of the walkaway owned by chinese couple (Aunty and Uncle lah) will always be occupied by students. My favorite would be champagne bubble tea, blue coral with black pearls (can I go back to my childhood, please?).

Blindfold

Are you on the hunt for the newest boba on the block? Great! Let’s join M Makan Kakis in our taste test of some bubble tea stores that you can find in Ipoh! We covered a few brands; Tealive, Panntea, The Alley, Chatto, Kitea, Tea Bubble Ipoh, The Yunique Tea. We specifically chose only the Brown Sugar Milk Tea or Fresh Milk with Pearls, to ensure consistency of judgement. Unlike others, this time we decided upon this Blindfold ‘Hands Free’ Bubble Tea Challenge.

Before we start the review cum challenge, its time for some Bubble Tea facts! It was invented in Taiwan circa 1980s and has been around for more than 30 years! That is even older than me. It began as brewed tea combined with milk and sugar, shaken in a cocktail mixer. The “bubble” part of its refers to the foamy bubbles that form at the top of the drink when shaken. I know, you are like WHAT? You probably didn’t know right? (Me neither! I thought the bubble refers to the tapioca balls a.k.a boba). Bubble tea itself has a bazillion names! Its also known as bubble tea, boba, pearl tea, tapioca tea, black pearl tea, pearl shake……….(I should stop here). Without the toppings, the bubble tea won’t be as unique as it were. We all know that the original and most common topping is tapioca pearl. Those wondering what tapioca pearls are, its black balls floating at the bottom of the cup. These balls are derived from the cassava root but that’s another story……….now, let’s move on to the main story, the bubble tea review, errr, challenge!

Let’s begin! Tealive synonymous with bubble tea in Malaysia. You can see this purple store in almost every mall around Ipoh. Everytime I walk across, there will be queues in front of the store. Lucky us, we manage to get their signature Bang Bang Milk Tea with Brown Sugar and Pearls. It’s a pretty baseline standard for brown sugar milk tea and the one most Malaysians are familiar with. It has become a regular drink ordered by all. Once you try it, you’ll just scream “Tealive!”. Just the way Tinkerbell recognized it. Brown sugar gives that ice kacang taste as per Lucifer’s. The pearls are quite hard and dry. It is definitely not the softest. Tealive is totally affordable.

Moving on……….located at De Garden Ipoh, you can find Panntea right beside Häagen-Dazs. Their beverages range from refreshing teas, smoothies, and bubble teas. Here we ordered Brown Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk. This drink got the ‘bobalicious’, (10/10 rating) from Tinkerbell, as she’s kept falling in love with the boba after every mouthful. She kept pestering us as to how delicious the boba was even after the shooting (this was so annoying!). Panntea had a very chewy boba that made her enjoy every bite. Love to chew? According to pesky Tinkerbell, you will love Panntea!

Tealive

Bang Bang Milk Tea with Brown Sugar and Pearls (RM7.45)

Hours : Monday-Sunday (10 am – 10 pm)
Address : Lot No KF03 , 1st Floor, Ipoh Parade, No 105, Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil, Greentown, 30450 Ipoh, Perak

Brown Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk (RM13.90)

Hours : Monday-Sunday (12 pm – 1 am)
Address : GR-13, 13A (Ground Floor) & L1-R-15 (1st Floor), De Garden, No. 3, Persiaran Medan Ipoh, Bandar Baru Medan Ipoh, 31400 Ipoh, Perak

At Ipoh Soho? Look out for the white signboard featuring a deer with its large antlers. This mascot is none other than the renowned The Alley. Since this was our third stop, it gets pretty mundane ordering the same menu item with the same name. At The Alley, they came out with Brown Sugar Deerioca Milk (such a unique name right?) They named their pearls ‘Deerioca’ which probably explains their company emblem, a Deer. Dear me, dear me……….oops or should it be Deer me? Let’s all hope the taste would be Deerlicious! “Taste like cendol!”. That is the first response we got from the suckers (literally). As for the pearls, it is soft, delicate and easy to chew……….we got the subtle brown sugar flavor upon chewing. The combination of brown sugar and milk, doesn’t taste so strong with just a light caramelized taste. Unfortunately, The Alley got the lowest rating from the suckers, which makes them one of the lowest rated in this blind challenge. Don’t believe our tasters? Try it and leave us a comment on our Facebook page. If you’re an ‘The Alley’ lover, don’t bash us okay?

With enough mouth excercise chewing the bobas, we need more talking time! Dressed in a relaxing greeny ambiance and nude(!) colors, you would be amazed with the interior concept of Chatto. Minimalist design fill with green plants gives a cozy feeling that will make you feel good to be there making it a comfortable, breezy space for people. The presentation of their beverage in the layering of colours make Chatto one of the most Instagrammable drink. We ordered the Brown Sugar Pearl Latte. What makes Chatto different than others is – low in sugar and specially crafted. Lucifer said that this drink is not sweet, that it is suitable for old people (he deserves to be caned by his parents!). Warning! When consuming this beverage, expect it to be less sweet even though brown sugar is there. Another surprise! Chatto pearls are smaller, unlike others. It is soft and easy to chew. Basically, if you are on the hunt for something mild and less sweet, Chatto is definitely on your radar (not only old people can enjoy this drink okay Lucifer). Now you can enjoy bubble tea beverages in a healthier way.

The Alley

Brown Sugar Deerioca Milk (RM12.90)

Hours : Monday-Saturday (11 am – 1 am), Sunday (12 pm – 1 am)
Address : Blok D, G-15 Ipoh Soho, Jalan Sultan Idris Shah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Brown Sugar Pearl Latte (RM9.90)

Hours : Sunday-Thursday (12 pm – 11 pm), Friday-Saturday (12 pm – 1 am)
Address : 8, Persiaran Greentown 8, Pusat Perdagangan Greentown, 30450 Ipoh, Perak

It’s time for some Ipoh mali! Not found anywhere else but in Ipoh, Kitea is the place for you. I guarantee you never heard of this brand before, right? Kitea is one of the latest outlet added to the burgeoning list of bubble teas in Ipoh. Established in 2019 with its first outlet in Ipoh Parade. Looking for your lost cat? You can find this store at the 3rd floor with a cute black and white cat logo. Since it was a local city brand, our bubble tea connoisseurs (suckers la!) had a difficult time in guessing what brand it was. Tinkerbell said that it was something that she never tried before (fyi, she is absolutely a little pesky boba maniac, she had tried almost every bubble tea in Ipoh). What makes Kitea so special is their pearls. This is the highlight of this drink. A very unique texture with a nice taste. Tinkerbell stated that the boba is similar with Koi’s boba. Akin to eating gummy bear shaped boba with a sweeter taste. Kitea controls the sweetness of their drinks with an amount of 50% or 70% of sugar level. It is all depends on your taste. We ordered Kitea Pearl Fresh Milk with 70% sugar (normal sugar level) for this review. Not only the pearls, the combination of Australian Fresh Milk and brown sugar also have a great taste. These combination definitely will create fireworks on your tastebuds!

Cat lover alert! Besides Kitea, we found one more using cats as their mascot. Just the way Tinkerbell described……….there was a store with a little meow meow, it’s Chawanjia Tea Bubble Ipoh. You can see their store with their cat logo with and turquoise background at Ipoh Soho. This beverage is the winner of the best bubble tea brand with an almost perfect score based on our sucker duo. Lucifer really loves this drink, he even give it a “Bobalicious!”. He said that it has a ‘chocolate-ty’ taste that really suit with his pallate. As for Tinkerbell, she almost give a ‘bobalicious” score but there is one aspect that stopped her……….she strongly dislike the pearls. Since the taste of the overall drink is actually pretty damned good, the problem is the texture of the boba – its too mushy. For those who dislike boba with super soft texture, we suggest that you give this a miss.

Kitea

Kitea Pearl Fresh Milk (RM9.90)

Hours : Monday-Sunday (10 am – 10 pm)
Address : 3rd floor, Ipoh Parade, 105, Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil, 31350 Ipoh, Perak

Chawanjia Tea Bubble

Brown Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk Tea (RM11.00)

Hours : Monday-Saturday (12 pm -1 am), Sunday (12 pm – 12 am)
Address : Block D, G-3, Ipoh Soho, 2, Jalan Sultan Idris Shah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

At last! But not least, is The Yunique Tea. This is a drink made Lucifer become ‘lalang’. The moment he tried Brown Sugar Fresh Milk, he was astonished with the taste. For him, the drink is sweet by the combination of brown sugar and concentrated fresh milk. Other than that, he really loved the texture and chewiness that he got from biting the boba as compared to the others. He also make this drink as his best choice. Differing from our Tinkerbell, she totally disagreed with him (lovers spat anyone?). She stated that the taste of this drink is not nice and the pearls is hard. This drink also had a very sweet taste that might shock you. However, credit has to be given to the interior design of the store including the bear logo that creates an asthetic illusion giving you insta-worthy photos.

The Yunique Tea

Brown Sugar Fresh Milk Tea (RM12.90)

Hours : Monday-Sunday (11 am – 1 am)
Address : Blok C, G2 (Ground Floor) Ipoh Soho, Jalan Sultan Iskandar, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

NOTE : We do not eat for free, nor were we paid for this review. We ordered and paid for everything that we consume. This review is a general summary from feedback provided by all members of the M Boutique Family who partook in the Food Review