#QuarantitaTreats: Pinoy and proud bubble tea drinks from Boba Unibers

Rain or shine, it’s always a good time for a boba tea.

These delish concoctions can give us a much-needed sugar boost to get us going, or refresh us after a hot or grueling day.

Boba (“bubble”) gets its name from the chewy pearls made of tapioca soaked in sugar syrup that look like dark bubbles which add texture to your drink.

Boba teas originated from Taiwan in the 1980s when the smaller pearls were used for milk teas. An enterprising shop owner then decided to use larger pearls in a bid to make his offerings stand out.

Boba teas then made their way across the globe and soon established a foothold in the Philippines with new shops offering all sorts of bubble tea variants opening every month.

The newest of these boba tea shops is Boba Unibers, managed by twenty-seven-year-old Jacques Michael Buenviaje together with his partner, twenty-six-year-old Katrina Mikaela Laygo.

Boba Unibers

Both were working in a five-star hotel in BGC when the pandemic struck the metro. They decided to leave their hotel jobs and forge new paths for themselves, which, luckily for us boba tea lovers, includes launching Boba Unibers.

As you can discern from their business’ moniker, #PinoyPride infuses their business and product concept.

By incorporating local flavors and ingredients to their boba tea offerings, they bring milk tea fans like us fresh ways to enjoy our favorite drink while tapping into our sense of nostalgia (plus they also help local farmers by sourcing their coffee beans and muscovado from them).

Being good to the environment is also high on their list of priorities. Not only do they eschew the use of single-use plastics, they also made use of reusable glass jars and edible straws (made with rice and tapioca) which scored major points with my environmentally-aware daughter, #ExhibitA.

Now let’s talk about Boba Unibers’ drinks, shall we?

Wintermelon (Php75). Made with BU’s special tea blend, caramel-y wintermelon syrup, milk, house syrup and boba. #ExhibitA reserved this boba as soon as she saw it.

Boba Unibers

Taro (Php75). Made with BU’s special tea blend, taro, milk, house syrup and boba. A creamy masterpiece of a drink! (And cutely light purple too!)

Boba Unibers

Champorado (Php85). Made with BU’s special tea blend, tablea rice milk, house syrup, powdered milk and boba. Who would have thought that our favorite chocolatey breakfast item would taste so good in boba tea form? My son #ExhibitB snatched this up as soon as I was done taking photos.

Boba Unibers

Pandan Yema (Php85). Made with BU’s special tea blend, milk, pandan yema syrup and boba. A mix of the mild taste of pandan and the milky salted caramel-like taste of yema made for a candy-like sweet drink.

Boba Unibers

Salted Pistachio (Php110). Made with pistachio syrup, caramel sauce, caramel syrup, Kievit and Lipton Tea. This milky and slightly nutty drink will satisfy pistachio lovers.

Boba Unibers

Cold Brew Milk Tea (Php85). Made with BU’s special tea blend, milk, cold brew coffee and boba. This woke me right up from my mid-afternoon stupor.

Boba Unibers

These are just a sampling of the many possibili-teas that Boba Unibers has launched into the milk tea stratosphere, with more flavors to come as Jacques and Katrina continue to experiment with new flavors and ingredients.

Boba Unibers

So #quarantitas (or #quaranTEAtas?), let’s help these young entrepreneurs raise our flag and bring the spotlight to the unique flavors we Pinoys love by supporting Boba Unibers.

Boba Unibers

To order, call +63 906 3485071 or message Boba Uniberse on Facebook or Instagram. Cashless payments via GCash, Metrobank and BDO, as well as cash on delivery, are accepted. The jars of milk tea can be delivered from Cainta to Rizal and Metro Manila areas via GrabExpress, Lalamove, Mr. Speedy, Angkas and Joyride (to be shouldered by the buyer).

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Chocoholics’ delight at Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Being a chocoholic, I get all excited whenever I see chocolate bars or chocolate-based desserts.

However, chocolate can be so much more than desserts.

At Tsokolateria, for example, chocolate in the form of tablea (cacao tablets) or variations thereof, infuses almost every dish from salads, soups, kakanin (local rice delicacies), breads and main dishes, as well as, of course, desserts.

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

The cacao or cocoa plant made its way to the Philippines from Mexico in the 1700s by way of the Galleon Trade. Today, the Philippines cocoa industry is the primary producer of cocoa beans in Southeast Asia and boasts of its own rich chocolate culinary traditions.

Here in my neck of the woods, the foodie-friendly Tomas Morato area, Tsokolateria co-locates within the same premises as Pamana and Hawaiian BBQ. All three restaurants are part of the Happy Concept Group, the company owned and operated by third-generation restaurateur Happy Ongpauco-Tiu.

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

At Tsokolateria, Ongpauco-Tiu showcases the versatility of native chocolate as it serves as a main ingredient or as an add-on to various dishes – whether sweet or savory – and drinks.

I’ve visited this branch twice this week in my eagerness to sample as much of its offerings as I can. Check out what I’ve been able to try so far:

Oh My Gulay (Php200). Tsokolateria’s Bruschetta Pan de Sal topped by mushrooms, cherry tomatoes,spinach and quezong puti crumbles served with sugared kamote (sweet potato) fries and flavorful bulalo broth which was the soup of the day. For me, this is already a complete – though relatively light – meal!

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tablea Champorado (Php220 for solo | Php395 for double). This is not your normal champorado from a store-bought box. Nope, this is made the old-fashioned way: using mountain rice cooked in native tablea and served simmering-hot with adobo flakes, chicharon and crispy fish chips on the side for interesting contrasts of tastes and textures.

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Palitaw at Tablea Syrup (Php130). This flat rice cake made from ground malagkit rice got its name from the way it pops up (“litaw”) to the surface of the boiling water once it’s done cooking. The rich, dark chocolatey tablea syrup adds another dimension of taste to this classic Pinoy merienda dish.

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Churros Waffles with Strawberry Overload (Php230, good for two). Waffles made from churros batter accompanied by strawberry halves, native honey and tablea syrup.

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tsokolate ah (Php190, good for two). Hand-made hot chocolate drink made from native tablea, diluted (the “ah” comes from “aguado” which means “watery or thin”) by the addition of water and milk.

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tsokolate eh (Php190, good for two). Rich hot chocolate also made from native tablea which, because it is undiluted, is thick (the “eh” comes from the Spanish word “espeso” which translates to “thick”), has an earthier and pleasantly bitter taste and is generally considered the more authentic iteration of the native hot chocolate when compared with tsokolate ah.

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tsokolateria Signature Mocha (Php150). Native chocolate with milk and a shot of native coffee and served with a Choc Nut candy for added sweetness.

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

Tsokolateria more than establishes its creativity in crafting a menu permeated with chocolate. I think there’s a lot more to discover here and I look forward to the opportunity to taste more of its dishes.

Tsokolateria, Tomas Morato

That said, the resto should work on its queuing: on my second visit, my orders took too long to be served that my lunch break was over by the time they reached me.

Tsokolateria is located along Mother Ignacia Avenue, Bgy. South Triangle, Quezon City, open daily from 10am to 10pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 3743798.

Another branch is located at The Boutique Bed and Breakfast, 45 Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City, open daily from 9am to 9.30pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 46 4131798 or +63 46 4131885.

Tsokolateria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other dessert shops in the metro: