Bubble Tea Revival: A Roundup Of All The New Bubble Teas On The Block

Remember how we used to be so obsessed with bubble tea back in the early 2000s? Stores were popping up everywhere, on every neighbourhood corner, and we uttered strange ingredients we’d never think about anywhere else, things like ‘champagne grape’, ‘strawberry red tea’ and ‘oreo ice blended’. Yeah, we thought we looked cool slurping on murky ice and artificial flavouring — though in our defense, it was often just $1.50 for some sweet satisfaction (or maybe $2.20 for an oreo mint, you rich kid).


The extreme hype for bubble tea though died down soon after — you can say that its bubble burst — but our collective love for flavoured tea and tapioca balls (called “pearls”) never went away. Along came the likes of Koi and Gong Cha, which got us unfortunately hooked for years more. Trust us, people get downright obsessive about it.

The mention of the words ‘bubble tea?’ in our office will be met with euphoric shouts of approval all around, and incite immediate cravings that need to be satiated on the spot, lest it fester into a “Pearl Milk Tea, Large, 100% Sugar” kinda deal. Unhealthy, fattening and way too sugary for our diet? We don’t care! It’s a treat, a mid-week (realistically, multiple times a week) indulgence.

And as part of its ever-evolving journey, we’re here to announce this: bubble tea’s new revival.

R&B Tea’s Roasted Oolong Macchiatea with Tea Cream, $4.50

Gone are the days of cheap, sometimes fake-tasting tea — we’re now getting premium innovative blends with quality ingredients, where you get to customise everything from the amount of sugar, to the quantity of ice you want in your cup. Some of these additions include top-grade matcha powder, fresh milk, or unusual ingredients such as avocado and cheese; the last one sits atop your tea as a layer of thick, creamy froth. And come on, who can say no to handmade pearls, made perfectly chewy and in particularly, not irritatingly hard at their core?

HeeTea Signature Super Fruit Tea
HeeTea’s Super Fruit Tea

Drinks are going down the healthy route too. We’re getting all-natural ingredients, claims of “no preservatives or artificial flavouring”, and most recently, fruit teas that do away with the old tapioca pearls for freshly brewed tea topped with chunks of fresh fruit for good measure. Basically, things that’d convert even the most staunch bubble tea haters (we’ve yet to meet one though).

Now that we’re done with our ode to the drink that changed our lives, here’s a roundup of all the new, popular bubble tea chains you shouldn’t be missing out on:



Totally biased opinion here, but we consider this the best of the new bubble tea brands, simply because the Taiwanese franchise has managed to perfect the most important part of the drink (see, very biased): the pearls. These come in unique flavours such as burnt caramel, black sesame or limited edition matcha pearls, which are softer and more chewy than usual because they’re handmade.

Pop by any PlayMade outlet and you get a glimpse of the whole process; you’ll see staff kneading these massive blocks of specially-churned flours by hand before feeding them into a pearl-making machine. Talk about performance art!

PlayMade Matcha Latte
PlayMade’s Matcha Latte

As for what’s on the menu, the usual suspects of brewed tea or milk tea are there, though we’d argue that it’s really the match-up that matters. For a familiar taste of Japan, try the matcha latte (not green tea latte, they’re different) with black sesame pearls, which has become a go-to in recent months; we also like the Tieguanyin Milk Tea (a premium oolong tea) with the same pearls, or you can opt for something refreshing, like the fruit teas with Pink Cactus Pearls.

Try: Matcha Latte with Black Sesame Pearls ($5) ; Burnt Caramel Latte with Burnt Caramel Pearls ($5.10)

PlayMade Menu


  • Tampines 1; 10 Tampines Central 1, #01-59, Singapore 529536
    Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm, daily
  • Depot Road; 108 Depot Road, #01-03, Singapore 100108
    Opening Hours: 11am – 8pm, daily at Depot Road

Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.


HeeTea Takeaway

Sure, LiHo kinda introduced cheese tea to the masses here, but it’s been a trend in China since like, forever. So, of course, HeeTea, which hails from China, prides itself in the whole cheese tea trend — that is, rich cheese milk foam that sits atop your regular tea blends, including green tea, red tea and fragrant pu-er tea. The slightly savoury taste and the creamy texture of the cheese has been a hit here since.

HeeTea’s Mango Cheese Tea

There’s been a slight confusion about HeeTea’s similarity to the cult tea brand HeyTea — another famous establishment where people were willing to queue for hours — but despite the hazy history, people are still flocking to the stores at Singpost Centre and Chinatown Point for a taste of some legit-tasting bubble tea. They use better-grade high quality tea, and natural rock sugar instead of artificial sweeteners, all to retain the “genuine flavour of tea” — you ought to taste the difference.

Try: Mango Cheese Tea ($6.90) ; Super Fruit Tea ($5)

HeeTea Menu


  • Singpost Centre; 10 Eunos Road 8, #B1-147, Singapore 408600
    Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm, daily
  • Chinatown Point; 1133 New Bridge Road, #B1-46, Singapore 059413
    Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm, daily

Follow them on Facebook.

R&B Tea

R&B Tea

Here’s another brand that started from China, and you’ll do well to trust anything from there because they’re just so darn innovative with their tea concoctions. Instead of a music reference though, “R&B” really refers to the initials of Taiwanese owners Rex and Bruce, who started the brand simply because they missed bubble tea while living away from home, a feeling we totally understand. It’s then brought here thanks to a joint venture by foodcourt operator Koufu.

R&B Tea 2
R&B Tea’s Brown Sugar Boba Milk (left & right) and Devil’s Booster (middle)

While R&B Tea’s fruit beverages have been doing well — including Mighty Luffy, a Hawaiian fruit tea with chunks of tropical fruits — we’re quite won over by their more milky or creamy drinks. Take for instance, the Roasted Oolong Macchiatea with Tea Cream, a brew of premium-grade oolong tea topped with what their signature tea-infused milk foam, a first here. Sounds good huh.

There’s also the Brown Sugar Boba Milk, now a hot trend in Taiwan that centres around the most delectable tapioca pearls. These are cooked for more than 3 hours in an in-house brown sugar recipe, which then infuses them with a distinct caramel flavour. Fresh milk is then poured over it as a creamy addition that balances out flavour of the drink as well — we tried it and can personally vouch for the silky smooth texture, as well as the depth of flavour of the pearls, aromatic without being overly sweet.

Try: Brown Sugar Boba Milk ($3.80) ; Mighty Luffy ($6.80) ; Roasted Oolong Macchiatea with Tea Cream ($4.50)


  • Marina Square @ Cookhouse; 6 Raffles Boulevard, #04-101/102, Singapore 039594
    Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm, daily
  • Toa Payoh; 470 Toa Payoh Lorong 6
    Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm, daily

Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Bobii Frutii

Bobii Frutii

Sitting pretty and totally Instagram-worthy, you might think these drinks seem kinda shallow, but mind you, they’ve got layers — literally. Oh okay, you’ll definitely first be drawn to how meticulously crafted each one looks, bubble tea layered like a dessert, which signals the collective whipping out of our phones for a quick Instagram snap. However, you’ll soon get to discover its beautiful core; each drink is made with quality ingredients, tea leaves from Taiwan, fresh milk, and the promise of no artificial flavourings, preservatives or essences.

A matcha-based drink, the Uji Snow for instance, uses top-grade matcha powder from Uji in Japan, while there are also more unique concoctions made from the indigo-tinged butterfly pea, yuzu and brown sugar. You can also opt for butterfly pea pearls for that pop of blue in your drink.

Bobii Frutii Mermaid Tears
Bobii Frutii’s Mermaid Tears
Bobii Frutii Don't Want To Work
Bobii Frutii’s Don’t Want To Work

The popular Taiwanese bubble tea chain has several other things going for it too: for one, the franchise here has got the celebrity backing of brand ambassador and Creative Director Nat Ho, so you know the fans will be lapping it up, and well, the whimsical names of Bobii Frutii’s signature teas do intrigue us. Mermaid’s Tears is an ice blended drink with mango, lemon, honey, milk and indigo-tinged butterfly pea, while Don’t Want To Work happens to be a pleasing blend of oolong tea, milk and blue bobii (or, pearls). Now, tell us you’re not keen on trying them too.

Try: Mermaid’s Tears ($5.90) ; Uji Snow ($6.50) ; Don’t Want To Work ($4.50)

Bobii Frutii Menu

  • The Clementi Mall; 3155 Commonwealth Ave W, Singapore 129588
    Opening Hours: 11am – 9.30pm

Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.


Teafolia Signature Fruit Tea
Teafolia’s Signature Fruit Tea

Maybe you’re not one for creamy cheese or over-the-top flavours — we’re not judging! After all, Singapore gets ridiculously hot sometimes and we often need something refreshing to cool us down. Then you’ll probably like the just-as-photogenic fruit-based blends from Teafolia, known for their fruit tea infusions and smoothies. Everything is prepared daily, made fresh, and using natural ingredients, so you can be rest assured of the quality of your drink.

Teafolia Lemon Levity & Kiwi Karate
Teafolia’s Lemon Levity & Kiwi Karate

You can fuel up with the Signature Fruit Tea, made with premium four seasons tea with pineapple, while also paired with fresh fruits that you can happily munch on with a fork. Alternatively, the Strawberry & Peach Duo, of royal ceylon black tea and premium peach sauce, or Kiwi Karate, with mashed kiwi fruit, make for healthy options too. If you’re more adventurous, you can try the “Stirring Milk” range that infuses fresh milk with ingredients such as steamed taro cubes, pudding or house-made bubbles and sauces — we felt the Chocolate Buddies Stirring Milk wasn’t as impressive as their fruit teas though, so you might wanna stick to those instead for starters.

Try: Signature Fruit Tea ($5.90) ; Kiwi Karate ($5.80)

teafolia menu
Teafolia Menu

  • Tampines MRT Station; 20 Tampines Central 1, #01-29/30, Singapore 529538
    Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Sun to Fri); 11am – 10.30pm (Sat)
  • Bedok Mall; 311 New Upper Changi Road, #01-K1, Singapore 467360
    Opening Hours 11am – 10pm, daily
  • Northpoint City South Wing; 1 Northpoint Drive, #01-154, Singapore 768019
    Opening Hours 11.30am – 10pm, daily

Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.


PARTEA’s Rainbow Tea Series

Now here’s a reason why we won’t be parting with our tea any time soon — PARTEA and their menu of over 30 types of Chinese tea blends, whether it’s trendy fruit-infused ones, cheese teas or cold brews. Yep, Chinese tea just got real interesting, and this time they’re not coming served in traditional porcelain cups. The most popular drinks have to be the Rainbow Tea series, with four choices of tea (green tea, black tea, Sijichun / four seasons tea, or Gaoshan oolong tea) served in XL 1-litre cups and with fresh fruits so you’ll definitely hit your recommended daily dose.

PARTEA’s Fluffy Cloud Tea Series

The whole traditional tea with a twist concept comes by way of founder Alex Xiang, who’s from China but has been based in Singapore for over 10 years; essentially, he was looking for an alternative to the sweet, sugary bubble teas of the past, and catering to older customers who might prefer healthier options. He also ensures that the tea leaves, from Taiwan and China, are of a certain standard, and makes it a point to educate customers on each tea’s health benefits; Sijichun Tea, for example, is said to aid weight loss, while Ruby Black Tea is high in antioxidants, and is good for upset stomachs and relieving stress. See, we did say bubble tea got way healthier right!

Try: Rainbow Tea: Black Tea + Fruits ($6.80) ; Fluffy Cloud Tea: Jinfeng Tea + Cheese ($4.90)


  • Suntec City Mall; Suntec City Mall North Atrium, #02-470, Singapore
    Opening Hours: 11am – 10.30pm (Sun to Thurs); 11am to 11pm (Fri & Sat)

Follow them on Facebook.