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Jakpost Taste Test: Bubble drinks

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, September 8, 2017  /  01:35 pm
Jakpost Taste Test: Bubble drinks

For this first edition of Jakpost Taste Test, we included Quickly and try two other popular bubble drink brands, the easy-to-be-found Chatime and one of the newcomers in Indonesia, Coco. (JP/Devina Heriyanto)

Bubble drinks, also known as bubble tea, are arguably among the most popular beverages in Indonesia. They boast various flavor infusions and have chewy bubbles (tapioca pearls or boba) that can be addictive for some people.

There are several versions regarding the history of bubble drinks. Regardless of who actually invented them, Food & Wine states that the trend of drinking them started in the late 1980s in Taiwan. At the time, both shaved ice and tapioca balls were already popular as local desserts. One day, amid the sizzling summer weather, one seller combined tapioca pearls, shaved ice and milk tea to create what we currently know as bubble drinks.

In Indonesia, one of the pioneers of this beverage was Quickly, which opened its first store in 2000.

For this first edition of the Jakpost Taste Test, we’ve included Quickly and tried two other popular bubble drink brands, the easy-to-be-found Chatime and one of the newcomers in Indonesia, Coco.

TASTE PANEL

  • Devina Heriyanto: Community officer at The Jakarta Post, who loves coffee and eggs. Pretty brunches and cafes are her houses of worship on Sundays.
  • Liza Yosephine: Journalist at the Post, who is a proud non-foodie and enjoys the occasional homemade avocado on toast.
  • Ni Nyoman Wira: Reporter at the Post, who, despite only having two categories for food -- tasty and very tasty, can be very picky if necessary.

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DRINKS

Quickly's jasmine milk tea with egg pudding

Quickly's jasmine milk tea with egg pudding.Quickly's jasmine milk tea with egg pudding. (JP/Devina Heriyanto)

Price: Rp 25,000 (US$1.87)

Note: We chose egg pudding because the store we picked had run out of bubble pearl.

Devina: "The drink had a strong jasmine taste that overshadowed the milk part. Since it was a milk tea, I expected the drink to have a bit of viscosity, but Quickly's was very thin. The egg pudding was actually nice -- silky and not too sweet, but it did not go well with the drink since the liquid was not creamy enough."

Tasty meter:

Liza: "I think the drink was too sweet and gave a somewhat artificial aftertaste. Between the milk and tea, overall it just didn’t blend well. Perhaps it was also caused by the egg pudding that might have added the unnatural flavor to the beverage."

Tasty meter:

Wira: "The egg pudding was too mushy for my taste; almost melted in my mouth. Also, the jasmine tea's taste was too strong, but fortunately I liked it because it tasted fragrant."

Tasty meter:

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Coco's milk tea with pearl

Coco's milk tea with pearl.Coco's milk tea with pearl. (JP/Devina Heriyanto)

Price: Rp 23,000

Devina: "I might be biased since Coco is one of my favorites in the milk-tea/bubble drink category. The drink felt smooth and did not leave a weird, sticky aftertaste in your throat. The bubbles were chewy and soft. However, with the bubbles, the drink may have tasted too sweet. I usually opt for the low-sugar version; sweet and refreshing, suitable for an afternoon treat."

Tasty meter:

Liza: "It seemed that too much milk was added into this beverage. It was just too milky for my taste. The bubbles were also slightly too chewy for me."

Tasty meter:

Wira: "The bubble pearls were too smooth and too sweet, but it was not as sugary as Quickly’s. I also thought the drink had a balanced ratio of milk and tea. The price was worth it and it is recommended for those who want to try a bubble drink for the first time."

Tasty meter:

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Chatime's milk tea

Chatime's milk tea.Chatime's milk tea. (JP/Devina Heriyanto)

Price: Rp 28,000

Devina: "This drink was the most difficult to describe; on one hand, the quite bitter tea taste was strong, but it still had a milky consistency that was much thicker than that of Quickly. If you like such an intensity from your milk-tea, this is your drink. The bubbles, on the other hand, were inferior compared with Coco's. Sometimes the bubbles were hard, sometimes too gooey, but if you're lucky, the bubbles could be just right."

Tasty meter:

Liza: "I liked this. It had a balanced ratio of tea and milk. Also, the bubbles were just the right consistency. Although personally, I would have preferred it without sugar."

Tasty meter:

Wira: This drink tasted less sweet than the other two brands; the tea was powerful but not as strong as what I found in Quickly and the milk tasted almost the same as Coco’s. However, the bubbles did not come in a perfect round shape; they tended to stick to one another.

Tasty meter:

WHERE TO BUY

The outlets of all three brands can be found in many shopping centers across Jakarta. (kes)