A good alternative to KOI Cafe18 August, 2010 by Yan
With KOI Cafe fueling a new wave of the bubble tea craze in Singapore, one could expect that there would be new tea shops sprouting across the city right under noses (Happy Lemon was one of them). This time hailing from Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Gong Cha (贡茶) is one of the upcoming faces in the bubble tea competition which in my opinion produces some very unique concoctions.
Since bubble tea originated from Taiwan, I would have rather high expectations that Gong Cha would fulfill its mission in bringing high quality milk tea to our doorsteps. It might not be best to strictly call Gong Cha a bubble tea shop, for it is not exactly what one will expect it is to be. Of course, they do serve bubble teas if anyone desires but their signature beverage is a rather interesting twist on how people perceive milk tea as it is.
Other than milk teas, Gong Cha serves a large variety of other drinks that range from traditional Chinese, drinks with a Japanese twist, or simply weird beverages (you could say that their non-milk tea selection is wider than their milk tea selection).
Taking a look at their recommendations, other than their signature Gong Cha the rest of the recommendations are actually traditional Chinese/Taiwanese drinks. So for those who are just interested in drinking milk tea, will this shop fulfill your satisfactions?
I would say that Gong Cha takes their teas seriously. In addition to serving the usual Red and Green milk teas, one can also find Oolong milk tea and the very special Alishan milk tea. Having tasted all of the above varieties of tea offered, I can safely tell you that each tea’s aroma and flavor is uniquely its own. One will not be disappointed in trying out their stuff.
The drinks were priced between $2.50 to $3.60. Compared to the prices at KOI Cafe, it is definitely cheaper. Just bear it in mind that all their drinks comes in a standard size. Unlike most bubble tea shops where all the drinks include the addition of pearls (tapioca balls) by default, Gong Cha’s pearls are part of the “extra options”. One will need to opt for some extra toppings (and pearls) at a small price.
For first timers, go ahead and try their signature Gong Cha. For those who are lactose intolerant and still yet eager to try something from the shop, I would recommend their roasted melon lemon tea.
I went ahead and ordered one of their signature drinks, the Oolong Gong Cha, just to showcase the beforehand mentioned “interesting twist on milk tea”. To break the mystery, their signature drink is actually freshly brewed tea with an addition of what I think is cream cheese/heavy cream on the top of the drink. Without stirring the drink, one could just drink the beverage from the cup and enjoy the 2 different dimensions of the taste that it offers. After that you can decide if you want to finish off the drink that way or mix everything up into the usual milk tea.
Taste is a very personal thing and so my take on their trademark Gong Cha could be vastly different from other people’s point of view. I do admit that I liked their take of their milk tea and would really recommend everyone to at the very least give it a try.
With so many other different drinks to choose from, I would definitely recommend Gong Cha to those who would otherwise pass by their not-so-conveniently located stores @ City Square mall and Novena Square 2. Gong Cha is still a fledgling tea shop, so do give them a chance and test out their concoctions to see if it goes by your taste buds.
Gong Cha’s homepage can be found over here but known that Mandarin is a prerequisite to navigate through those traditional Chinese words.
Addicted to film, Yan shoots with a black Nikon Fm3a. For special occasions, Yan shoots with a Mamiya Sekor TLR.