As someone who considers milk tea a comfort drink, I’m always curious about new flavors and how various shops make their drinks memorable. There’ve been a lot of trends in the past few years—from the obsession with boba to the incorporation of Thai milk tea in menus.
So, what’s the next big thing? Prediction: Milk tea with brown sugar syrup.
Last month, Taiwan-based Tiger Sugar opened their first shop in BGC. They’re known for their “Brown Sugar Pearl Series” which are drinks made with green or black tea, fresh milk, brown sugar boba pearls, topped with a cream mousse, and of course, the brown sugar syrup (some call it “black sugar syrup“). Or, in Filipino terms, it’s arnibal.
Another milk tea place that serves this drink is YiFang, which is a stall I found tucked along Lane P in BGC. Their “Brown Sugar Pearl” series includes fresh milk with boba, tea latte, and oolong tea latte with the signature syrup.
This type of milk tea seems to have been popularized in Taiwan. However, its origins are unknown since you can mostly find this in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China. As for me, I first tried this at The Alley in Shanghai.
Aside from the drinks being Instagram-worthy, the flavors are also quite different because the tea base doesn’t taste sweet right off the bat which is what most of us are used to. You have to shake your drink first so that the syrup is incorporated equally and not just sinking at the bottom. If not, all you’ll get is a mouthful of brown sugar.
With the opening of the two shops I mentioned, it’s possible that more will follow suit or that existing shops will add brown sugar syrup drinks in their menus. That said, though, expect a lot of people to line up to get a taste of it.
Photo by Jacqueline Arias
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