Just when you thought that the milk tea business has reached its peak, here comes a new player in the market that has something quite novel to introduce: healthy beverage options.
That is not something most people go to milk tea joints for but for John and Anna Pelino, who are both on keto diets, having sugar-free and keto-friendly choices available in their milk tea bar is essential.
Found in a residential area along South Zuzuaregui Street in Old Balara, UltraKappu was borne out of the couple’s trip to Taiwan (originally to take their young toddler to see the pandas) into a week-long milk tea party. Finding a particular taste in Taiwanese milk tea that they wanted to bring back home, they soon set up shop in Quezon City with the help of Anna’s brother Mark, further fueling the milk tea craze in the metro.
Together with my foodie friends from #WeLoveToEatPH and #SaanSaPH, I visited UltraKappu’s flagship store to discover what sets it apart from other milk tea establishments.
One: The brand has Japanese-inspired origins
Unlike most milk tea places in the country that translate their Taiwan origins to their local operations, UltraKappu got its (very loose) inspiration from Japanese superheroes. UltraKappu (or “urutorakappu”), in fact, translates to “ultra cup” in Japanese.
Even the store is marked with Japanese-style minimalism. Two sets of cafe-style tables and chair and bar stools provide seating adequate for around ten people. The store logo is boldly emblazoned in orange against the dark grey background, while the TV plays the store’s music video starring cosplayers dressed as Japanese-style anime girls enjoying their favorite drinks.
However, all the milk tea ingredients are imported from the motherland of milk tea, Taiwan.
Two: A milk tea place for the health conscious?
You would think that “milk tea” and “healthy” are two mutually exclusive concepts but John and Anna are adamant that their store be able to offer, not only supercharged versions of beverages already available in the local food scene, but also guilt-free and ultimately healthier drink choices.
For one thing, they offer sugar-free drinks, suitable for those on keto diets, such as Bulletproof Black, Bulletproof White, Bulletproof Mocha and Almond Milk Tea.
Bulletproof coffee is a drink consisting of brewed coffee, grass-fed unsalted butter and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) coconut oil, all healthy ingredients that are low in sugar but high in good energy.
Diners can even request to see the macros of these drinks such as the amount of calories, fat, carbs and protein they contain to make sure these fall within their daily intake levels.
Also, instead of just adjusting sugar levels of their other drinks, the staff can take out sugar altogether. For additional Php10 to the price of your kappu order, they will use a sugar substitute with zero net carbs and zero sugar.
Lastly, UltraKappu has an Ala Carte Menu that allows diners to build their own healthy milk tea from scratch. With a base of either assam black tea or jasmine tea, diners can pick and choose toppings they can add to their drink which include, pearls, salty cream, cloud (a cream foam that adds texture to the drink), Oreo crumbs, egg pudding, grass jelly, popping boba (with yogurt inside), nata, konnyaku (low-carb blocks of jelly-like extract from a type of root crop), MCT oil and butter.
Standout drinks for me include:
Bulletproof Mocha (Php130 small | Php140 medium). I didn’t expect to find this so creamy! While it’s not as sweet as my regular coffee drinks, I can definitely taste a certain milky richness.
Super Soy (Php115 medium | Php125 large). Imagine your favorite taho drink supercharged with boba pearls and caramel.
Brown Sugar Boba Milk (Php100 medium | Php110 large). Ooh, that intense toasty brown sugar caramel distributed in creamy milk tea!
Oreo Matcha (Php130 medium | Php140 large). I’m not so into matcha drinks so I was surprised that this one appealed to me. It’s really because its taste is not as intensely herby as other matcha drinks I’ve tasted, and the Oreo crumbs serve to add sweetness and texture to the drink.
Salty Cream Pudding (Php130 medium | Php140 large). The creamy milk tea with an added dimension of the sweet-salty taste of salty cream and the mild sweetness of egg pudding.
Now, aren’t you glad you have more (and healthier) choices for your milk tea fix? Drop by UltraKappu to get your own ultimate cup of milk tea goodness today!
UltraKappu is located at 2nd Floor, Bali Garden Residences, Zuzuarregui Street, Matandang Balara, Quezon City, open daily from 11am to 10pm.
Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:
- Tea Bubble House, Greenhills
- Good Good, Tomas Morato
- Make Your Own Cafe, Maginhawa
- Jelly G, Thai Milk Tea, UP Town Center
- Macao Imperial Tea, SM Manila
- Coco Fresh Tea & Juice, Ugong
- Macao Imperial Tea, Timog
- Happy Cup, Tomas Morato
- Snack Attack, SM North EDSA
- Oh My Chicken, Tondo
- Yi Fang, Tomas Morato