Have a taste of Taiwan’s No. 1 Drink at Tea 101, California Garden Square

Milk tea fanatics have another reason to rejoice with another brand joining the milk tea fray.

Tea 101 has been hailed as Taiwan’s No. 1 Drink owing to the premium experience in drinking it. The process starts from harvesting the potent tea leaves from the heart of Taiwan, careful packaging and brewing in the traditional way without the use of metals or machines, to the mixing with various flavors and sweeteners to make Tea 101’s signature drinks.

But first, a lesson on tea history… a Tea 101, if you will… 🙂

Tea leaves are harvested from camellia sinensis, a plant that grows in tropical and sub-tropical climates. After harvesting, these are dried then packed loose or wrapped in tea bags.

Drinking tea as a beverage was first recorded in China in 10th century BC and it eventually became popular throughout East Asia by 200 BC. It spread to the rest of the world via international trade in the 19th century.

Tea was brought to Taiwan from China in the 18th century. By the 19th century, tea plantations have flourished in Taiwan with tea becoming one of the country’s top three exports.

It has also become an integral part of Taiwanese culture with most social activities involving tea service from the welcoming of visitors into a household, dinners, business meetings, weddings and funerals.

Taiwan is also the birthplace of bubble tea in the 1980s which was said to be a concoction of black tea, tapioca pearls, condensed milk and syrup.

Today, bubble tea has a wide assortment of flavors and variants from fruits, yogurt, yakult, coffee and chocolate and more, many of which are included in the menu of Tea 101’s branch in Mandaluyong.

Tea 101c California Garden Square

Tea 101c California Garden Square

Tea 101c California Garden Square

Tea 101c California Garden Square

Tea 101c California Garden Square

Tea 101c California Garden Square

Tea 101c California Garden Square

Choose your fave from Tea 101’s featured drinks:

Regular (Php85 for tall, Php105 for skyscraper, Php125 for empire sizes)

  • Milk Tea Series: includes Wintermelon, Okinawa, Pearl, Caramel, Green, Lychee, Strawberry, Taro and Matcha
  • Fruity Fresh Milk Series: includes Blueberry, Green Apple, Grass Jelly and Strawberry
  • Heal Tea Series: includes Black, Green, Yakult Green and Yakult Lychee
  • Choco Craze Series: includes Chocolate, Chocolate Mint, Choco Strawberry Milk and Choco Slush
  • Iced Slush Series: includes Green Apple QQ, Mango, Strawberry, Lemon Yakult, Taro Milk Tea, Lychee Nata and Matcha
  • Lemonade Series: includes Lemonade, Strawberry, Green Apple and Blue
  • Fruit Tea Series: includes Green Apple QQ, Lychee Aloe Vera and Strawberry Aloe
  • Freaky Milk Tea Series: includes Rocky Road, Strawberry, Tiramisu, Green Tea and Rainbow

Premium (Php95 for tall, Php115 for skyscraper, Php135 for empire sizes)

  • Taiwan Favorites: includes Milk Tea with Oreo, Chocolate Milk Tea with Oreo and Nutty Choco Matcha
  • Rock Salt Series: includes Rock Salt Milk Tea, Rock Salt Chocolate Milk Tea and Rock Salt Black Tea
  • Brown Sugar Series: includes Brown Sugar Milk Tea, Brown Sugar Fresh Milk with Grass Jelly and Rock Salt Brown Sugar Milk Tea

My personal preferences run toward the sweeter and creamier variants such as the Chocolate Milk Tea with Oreo and Brown Sugar Milk Tea.

Tea 101, California Garden Square

Tea 101, California Garden Square

Many thanks to Ms Ani Conanan of Tea 101 for the drinks and to Harvard of AlwaysHungryPH for extending the invitation!

This Tea 101 branch is located at Ground Floor, Anaheim Tower, California Garden Square, Domingo M. Guevarra Street, Barangay Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City.

Other branches are located at:

  • Hole in the Wall, Fourth Floor, Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue, Barangay Poblacion, Makati City
  • Ground Floor, South Wing, SM Mall of Asia, Mall of Asia Complex Pasay City

Tea 101 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with fellow food bloggers, I attended this resto’s grand opening where drinks were served to enable us to sample the fare and to facilitate honest reviews. Said drinks were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

Well, here’s some good news for milk tea lovers: Australian milk tea brand Gotcha Fresh Tea has set up shop in the country.

In a small cafe outside Virra Mall in Greenhills, milk tea lovers can drink their fill of Gotcha’s offerings which include signature milk teas, premium milk teas, healthy fresh milk, black sugar, maple sugar, cheese foam teas, collagen teas, coldbrew and yogurt teas.

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

Taking pride in its slogan “We farm our own tea,” Gotcha handcrafts and brews its drinks made from a single tea plantation in Mount Alishan Taiwan in its bid to guarantee product consistency and quality.

It also champions earth-friendliness with its reusable cups, a worthy advocacy in my book.

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

During the shop’s Grand Opening, I was treated to one of Gotcha’s drinks, the Oreo Cheese Macchiato (Php145) in which the tea flavor is tempered by the creamy milk, with added mild saltiness from the cheese topping as well as sweetness and texture from the crushed Oreo cookies.

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

As far as dessert drinks to go, this was ok but not particularly exceptional.

My friends, on the other hand, were able to try out other flavors such as:

Strawberry Yogurt (Php130).

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

Peach Collagen Tea (Php140).

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

Taro Milk (Php135).

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

There was great variety when it came to drink options but given its cafe setup, offering food items would be a good move.

Thanks to Kian of Kian Ventures for extending the invitation for this event!

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

Gotcha Fresh Tea is located at Ground Floor, V-Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center, Greenhills, San Juan.

Gotcha Fresh Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with fellow food bloggers, I attended this resto’s grand opening where drinks were served to enable us to sample the fare and to facilitate honest reviews. Said drinks were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

A fresh take on milk teas at Brown Cafe, BGC

It sure looks like the milk tea craze is here to stay, if the sheer number of stores opening in the metro offering copious varieties of the drink is any indication.

And then another milk tea brand joins the fray: Bangkok’s very own Brown Cafe has opened a take-out counter in Serendra, BGC to give the locals fresh and exciting choices for our milk tea.

Its menu simply teems with crave-worthy drinks: from original milk tea, fresh milk lattes, cheese macchiatos and more, choices abound for milk tea lovers ans connoisseurs. Each cup is made from freshly brewed tea leaves and its wondrous array of bubbles – which includes flavors such as original, collagen, brown sugar, peach, strawberry, mango, lychee, rainbow low cal and exclusive-to-the-Philippines ube – are all made inhouse.

Among Brown Cafe’s claims to fame are its Rainbow Low Cal Bubble Teas, made with fruit-infused teas accompanied by its colorful Rainbow low-calorie bubble sinkers.

Brown Cafe, BGC

The Anchan Strawberry Latte (Php140 for cup | Php155 for reusable tumbler) features a combination strawberry with the edible blossom anchan, more commonly known as the butterfly pea in a creamy latte.

Brown Cafe, BGC

The Melon Niu Niu Latte (Php140 for cup | Php155 for reusable tumbler), on the other hand, is a taste of summer with a sweet melon flavor that flavors the creamy milk.

Brown Cafe, BGC

So if you find yourself in BGC and want to try something new to quench your thirst, pop by Brown Cafe’s take out counter and treat yourself to one of its milk teas.

Brown Cafe, BGC

Brown Cafe, BGC

Brown Cafe is located at Ground Floor, Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, open daily from 10am to 10pm.

Brown Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: I visited Brown Cafe during its mini blogger get-together where drinks were served for free to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

Bench Cafe opens newest branch in Trinoma

The clothing brand Bench has been around for as long as I can remember. One of the “proudly Filipino” enterprise success stories, it has been a major player in local fashion and has even expanded its sphere of influence to that of a lifestyle brand with its personal care producrs, skin care services and hair salons.

It even ventured into the food business, notably with the opening of the first branch of its eponymous restaurant Bench Cafe last year.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Fast forward to today and Bench Cafe has already opened its fifth branch at Trinoma Mall in Quezon City. Such speedy growth is proof that its concept of combining traditional and modern takes on Filipino food works and has found its place in Metro Manila’s highly competitive food scene.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

The cafe held a special preview for bloggers the day before its Grand Opening. Together with my fellow foodies from #WeLoveToEatPH, I got a taste of how Bench Cafe’s Chef Carlo Miguel melds local flavors together and updates classic Pinoy favorites such as:

Binagoongan Ceasar (Php149). Romaine lettuce with dilis and croutons tossed in a creamy dressing made with bagoong (shrimp paste) and queso de bola.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Tinapa Cones (Php129). Homemade lumpia wrappers formed into crispy cones and filled with tinapa (smoked fish) mousse and salsa.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Gising Gising (Php195). A spicy dish of chopped beans cooked in coconut milk and chilis.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Sisig Skillet (Php249). Pork cheeks and belly cooked in two ways and served topped with calamansi foam.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Fried Chicken (Php480). Whole spring chicken fried to a golden brown with crispy flavorful skin and juicy meat served with a honey patis sauce.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Dancing Fish (Php400). Crispy butterfly tilapia doused in escabeche sauce.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Pancit Guisado (Php239). Stir-fried noodles with shrimp, meat and chopped vegetables.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Silogs (from sinangag or “garlic rice” and itlog “egg”) are breakfast staples for many Filipinos. Bench Cafe serves these with garlic rice, fried egg and homemade atsara. The silog variation we’ve tasted here is the Tendon Silog (Php199) made with melt-in-your-mouth beef tendon in pares sauce.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bongalmusal (Php349). If you’re ever at a loss on what to have for brekkie, this hyped-up silog meal serves up everything you could want! Spam, US beef tapa, tocino, daing (dried fish) and corned beef. Best of all, this dish is good for two so do share it with someone special.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe also introduced Bench-Tos which are glamourized takes on the fare available at a Pinoy turo-turo. This small roadside eatery is where diners point out the food they want and a serving is placed on their plates. Bench Cafe updates this concept by merging it with the Japanese bento – the chosen viand is served on a tray along with vegetables, homemade salsa and atsara as well as steamed Ifugao rice. Variations of this offering that we tasted include the Bagnet Kare Kare (Php339) which has a rich peanutty sauce that has no need for bagoong to have flavor, and the Inasal Liempo (Php299) which is Bench Cafe’s take on the Visayan grilled pork belly.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

To cap out meal, Bench Cafe serves up its own takes on dessert classics with the smooth and creamy leche flan it dubbed Flan B (Php185) topped with macapuno and Classic Turon ala Mode (Php49).

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench also applied its own twists on the popular dessert called Halo-Halo, which consists of sweetened fruits and other fixings topped with shaved ice and served with milk. Its variations include White (Php85 for 12oz | Php129 for 16oz) made with coconut shaved ice with garbanzos, caramelized banana, leche flan, nata de coco and coconut ice cream; Mango Otap (Php90 for 12oz | Php109 for 16oz), mango shaved ice with crushed otap, mango puree, cream and fresh mango cubes; Ube (Php95 for 12oz | Php149 for 16oz), ube halaya and palm beans added to the White Halo Halo; and Mais con Hielo (Php60 for 12oz | Php100 for 16oz), corn- flavored shaved ice with milk and kernels of sweetcorn.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

I had a great time discovering fresh ways to enjoy the food that I grew up with at Bench Cafe.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Many thanks to the management and staff of Bench Cafe for having us and to EJ of #ILoveToEatPH for extending the invitation.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

This Bench Cafe branch is located at Ground Floor, MRT Wing, Trinoma Mall, Bagong Pagasa, Quezon City, open daily from 10am to 9pm.

Other branches are located at:

  • Second Floor, Bench Flagship Store, Bonifacio High Street, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
  • Level 2, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Greenbelt, Makati City
  • Ground Floor, Padre Faura Wing, Robinsons Place Manila, Ermita, Manila

Bench Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other foodies, I attended a foodie meetup held here wherein food and drink items were served to allow us to sample the fare. These were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Cherry blossoms and tea at Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

If you ever felt the need to flee from the hustle and bustle of the metro and escape to Japan so you can be surrounded by cheery cherry blossoms, well, here’s the next best thing: a tea sojourn at Sakura Hanami in the foodie haven area of Maginhawa.

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

Sakura refers to the cherry blossoms in Japan that come into full bloom in the spring. Considered as Japan’s national flower, the cherry blossom has come to symbolize a time of renewal and the fleeting nature of life.

Hanami, on the other hand, translates to “watching blossoms.” It is the tradition that grew out of the practice of holding parties amd get-togethers under cherry blossoms in full bloom.

Sakura Hanami seeks to recreate the experience of tea drinking under cherry blossoms. From the cherry blossoms that adorn its ceiling and walls, to its dainty tea sets and furniture, as well as its kawaii-themed merchandise and curios, Sakura Hanami aims to evoke a feeling of life in full bloom.

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

During a recent visit to this tea shop together with fellow bloggers, I discovered that even Sakura Hanami’s concoctions are unique and meticulously designed to give homage to the culture that inspired its name.

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

Check them out and see which one fits your mood today:

Blooming Ethereal Flower Tea (Php195). A hot tea infused with edible flowers which you can sweeten with honey according to your preference. It’s perfect for the times you want to pretend you’re a geisha performing an intricate tea ceremony.

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

Cherry Blossom Fizz Tea (Php115 regular | Php155 large | Php175 extra large). A clear, mikdly sweet and refreshing soda drink with some fizz and edible flowers.

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

Hanami Dream Tea (Php105 regular | Php175 large | Php195 extra large). A drink that bursting with color and flavor, especially with those yogurt pearls.

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

Red Velvet Cheesecake Milk Tea (Php115 regular | Php155 large | Php175 extra large). A drink that incorporates the richness and dessert quality of red velvet cheesecake into a drink.

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

Lava Pearl Latte (Php99 regular | Php140 large | Php180 extra large). A milky concoction that incorporates pearls cooked in rich brown sugar.

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

Matcha Creme Milk Tea (Php115 regular | Php175 large | Php195 extra large). For matcha lovers out there, this is the drink that will sate your craving.

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

Pink Rose Milk Tea (Php105 regular | Php155 large | Php175 extra large). Premium black tea infused young rose buds and a splash of rich creamy milk.

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

Sakura Signature Bubble Tea (Php99 regular | Php140 large | Php180 extra large). The store’s premium black tea accompanied by its signature black pearls.

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

White Sakura Milk Tea (Php105 regular | Php175 large | Php195 extra large). A light cherry blossom white tea which is heavenly when combined with delicate sakura pudding.

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

These drinks just go to show that the peace and joy that cherry blossoms bring can be experienced even by those stuck in the metro. All they have to do is find the time to drop by Sakura Hanami.

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

Many thanks to the crew of Sakura Hanami for the delish drinks and to Midz of GastronomidaPH for extending the invitation!

This Sakura Hanami branch is located at 168 Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City, open daily from 10am to 12 midnight.

Another branch is located at 1021 P. Ocampo corner Arellano, Sampaloc, Manila.

No time to visit the stores? Have your drink delivered to you via GrabFood! Get a discount on your first GrabFood order when you use my code: GRABJELLYBEANS.

Sakura Hanami Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with fellow food bloggers, I attended a foodie meetup held in this restaurant. Food and drink items mentioned here were served to enable us to sample the fare to facilitate honest reviews and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

Teals & Tea Cafe, Santa Lucia

If we ever need proof that the milk tea craze is stronger than ever, we only need to look at the number of tea shops sprouting all over the metro, and not just in malls, mind you, but also in middle class neighborhoods such as mine.

As of my last reckoning, both entrances to my subdivision have a combined milk tea establishment count of eight.

One of these neighborhood milk tea joints is Teals & Tea Cafe.

Teals & Tea, De Castro

Situated at the former location of my daughter #ExhibitA’s preschool, it stands out from the other milk tea joints in the neighborhood by having an actual teal-colored sit-in cafe. (Yep, the color theme is reminiscent of a Tiffany box.)

Here, milk tea lovers can hang out as they enjoy their tea-based concoctions in a comfortable and Instagrammable location.

Teals & Tea, De Castro

Teals & Tea, De Castro

Teals & Tea, De Castro

#ExhibitA has been keen to try this place out for several weeks now so, recently, we dropped by this store while we were on out way home.

Teals & Tea’s drinks are all freshly made from brewed tea leaves (no powders here). My daughter and I brought these home as our milk tea treat.

Teals & Tea, De Castro

Teals & Tea, De Castro

Milk Teas with Black Pearls.

Classic Milk Tea (Php68 for 16oz | Php78 for 22oz). For my yaya.

Teals & Tea, De Castro

Rocky Road Milk Tea (Php78 for 16oz | Php88 for 22oz). For my little boy #ExhibitB.

Teals & Tea, De Castro

Milk Teas with Black Pearl and Cheese Mousse.

Hokkaido Milk Tea (Php98 for 16oz | Php108 for 22oz). For #ExhibitB.

Teals & Tea, De Castro

Salted Caramel (Php98 for 16oz | Php108 for 22oz). For me.

Teals & Tea, De Castro

I’m glad that my kids and I have more choices whenever we’re struck with a craving for milk tea!

Teals & Tea Cafe, De Castro

Teals & Tea Cafe is located at No. 1 Sampaguita Street, De Castro Subdivision, Sta. Lucia, Pasig City.

Teals & Tea Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

Got my Tiger Sugar hassle-free, thanks to LalaFood

Tiger Sugar has been in the country since last year but I haven’t been able to have a taste of this much lauded milk tea brand. The long lines when its first stores opened as well as my busy schedule precluded me from going out to get myself a cup or two.

Until now, that is.

I recently downloaded the LalaFood app which opened up a world of possibilities when it comes to food choices. Whether I’m at home, at work or out with friends, I can satisfy my cravings just by having my food delivered to me.

I’m on a mission to taste milk teas with cheese foam topping (yeah, milk tea plus cheese, can anything be yummier?). One particularly hectic day at the office, I decided to order a Brown Sugar Boba + Pearl with Cream Mousse (Php120) through the LalaFood app which I recently downloaded on my phone.

Tiger Sugar is famous for its brown sugar boba milk drink which is easily identifiable thanks to the “tiger stripes” along the sides of the cup. These come from the brown sugar in which the boba are cooked, giving the pearls a more intense caramelized flavor.

My drink, for instance, was made by lining the cup with brown sugar syrup, dropping the bobas at the bottom of the cup, adding fresh milk and topping the drink with the non-salty cream mousse.

Tiger Sugar usually advises buyers of this to shake the cup 15 times to make sure that the brown sugar is well distributed in the drink and to cool the still warm boba so they achieve that signature chewy texture.

I think the trip from the Tiger Sugar branch in Trinoma to my office in Tomas Morato may have already shaken my drink up as the brown sugar stripes were already faint by the time my drink arrived no more than 40 minutes after I placed my order.

Tiger Sugar, Trinoma

The milk drink was creamy and refreshing, made even richer by the cream mousse, with the chewy bobas adding some bite and texture to each sip.

Tiger Sugar, Trinoma

If I’m not careful, I just might find myself just keying in my orders for my foodie adventures soon! (I can really get used to the convenience that LalaFood brings!)

Want to give in to your food craving without having to leave your home or the office? Download the LalaFood app on Google Play or App Store today. Use my code BEINGJMR53 and get a free delivery coupon.

This Tiger Sugar branch is located at Food Choices, Second Floor, Trinoma Mall, Bagong Pag-asa, Quezon City, open daily from 10am to 9pm.

Other branches are located at:

  • Quezon City: Eastwood Mall, Robinsons Galleria, SM North EDSA
  • Mandaluyong: SM Megamall
  • Taguig: Bonifacio High Street
  • Makati: Glorietta 4
  • Pasay: SM Mall of Asia
  • Las Pinas: SM Southmall

Tiger Sugar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints: