Chatime & Gongcha – The Latest Craze In Malaysia – Pearl Tea

If you’ve been to any of the major shopping malls (1U, Mid Valley etc.) or even some of the minor ones (SSTwo Mall) in the last month or so you may have noticed some small stalls with obscenely long queues.

I have to admit it piqued my interest, I thought WTF is that all about – must be some new craze! Remember the whole donuts thing and the crazy queues. Anyway I had a look, and it was a pearl tea stall called Chatime. I also noticed almost everyone on Twitter raving about it – with all kinds of people addicted to it, craving it every day.

Being the curious soul that I am, I couldn’t proclaim it a fad or scold them for being sheep without actually trying it myself. So that I did, I was out on a mission one night collecting a bottle of Glenfiddich 15 year old that a friend had got me duty free when I decided to try Chatime on the way home.

We popped into SSTwo Mall as we suspected it would have a lot less queue than other places we’d seen (Mid Valley was INSANE).

Chatime Perpetual Queue

There was a small queue, but nothing too bad. I went for number 1, one of the recommended choices – Roasted Tea and I added pearls. It was RM5.90 for the large side, with an extra RM1 for the pearls. So almost RM7 for a tea……ok I thought to myself. Give it a chance!

Bear in mind I can get myself a small bottle of beer for RM7!

Honestly I was expected something amazing the way people have been raving about it, I expected to hear angels trumpets when I took my first sip.

Did I get that? No I did not.

Chatime Roasted Pearl Tea

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad – it is nice. But is it that nice? No. Would I go out of my way to get a taste of it? No. Does it cost too much? Yes.

KL people have fairly advanced palates, so honestly I expected more from the ranting and raving. But then again, it’s just a difference of taste. Different people like different things.

It’s like when you go to see a movie that everyone has been raving about, or it won an Oscar or something…and then it’s like a 4/10. It’s that kind of disaappointed feeling (There Will Be Blood comes to mind).

It is decent tea, it has no ice in it (which is good), it doesn’t have the powdery pasar malam pearl tea taste (but then some people like that) and they are generous with the pearls.

But the best pearl tea I’ve ever had is from the Taiwanese restaurant at One-stop, Pulau Tikus – Penang.

There are plenty of other options around too, there a shop in Tropicana City Mall on LG floor that has no queue, tastes just as good and is about half the price of Chatime. I also like the tea from Little Taiwan (this one was from Tesco Kepong) for RM3.50. They have a promo at the moment, their tea without pearls is only RM1.80!

Little Taiwan Pearl Tea

Anyway that’s my 2 cents on the whole Chatime thing, if you’ve tried it and you love it. Tell me why and which flavour you love, I’ll probably give it another chance one day – so I’m open to suggestions.

If you’ve tried it and feel the same as me, let me know too.

That’s all for now!

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24 Responses to Chatime & Gongcha – The Latest Craze In Malaysia – Pearl Tea

  1. ken June 6, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    title is “chatime & gongcha” so i was expecting some comparison between the 2.. :)

    i had gongcha actually, never tried chatime before.. i loved the drink, could be a little pricey though :)

  2. KY June 6, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    the fad will go away in 6-12 months, just like donuts before it, and cha chan teng even before that.

  3. suanie June 6, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    the one at TCM LG is Each A Cup. It has seen its crazy days too

  4. Tan Yee Hou June 6, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    I disagree on your statement that KL people have advanced palates, yeah we do have a lot of good eateries offering great stuffs.

    If you’d actually look at the way they herd themselves to certain brands (like Chatime and Gongcha, which admittedly I haven’t tried) they go for it based on brands and fads.

    This and you see some people saying “omg omg this is t3h b3st sh!+” to have your expectation crashed.

    Alot of good stuffs are ignored while favouring places like…Starbucks.

  5. kimberlycun June 6, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    supposedly the pearls taste better. i beg to differ, it’s as tasteless and boring as EVERY establishment.

  6. michellezyenn June 6, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    Not forgetting, Yippee Cup @ SS2!

  7. blogjunkie June 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    I think it’s an interesting fad for sure but I think the price is acceptable, considering a tall latte at Starbucks will set you back RM10. Will get my wife who’s always raving abt pearl tea to try the others you’ve mentioned, though I wonder if they are implicated in the recent pearl tea scare..

  8. eyeris June 6, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    I’ve said this countless times before and I’ll say it again (and again. and again):

    It’s just TEA. With SUGAR.

  9. Nava Krishnan June 6, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    becoming very popular these day and so many other variants also can be found.

  10. Shirlexia June 7, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    Yeap it is too expensive and I wouldn’t go for it all the time but people seems to like it a lot and still giving them businesses! Honestly I still like it but I just cannot afford to have too much of it…

  11. walauwei June 7, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Milk Pearl Tea or Bubble Milk Tea was a craze back in the early 2000.

    Good to see it is back again! LOL!

    I prefer Gong Cha over Chatime anytime! No doubt that Chatime is sprouting like mushrooms everywhere! 7 locations at the moment compared to Gong Cha with only 2 locations.

    Chatime is overrated! That’s my POV. :P

    The only drink that I go for is the Milk Pearl Tea! Great drink to sneak into cinemas… :P

    Oh ya!

    Forgot to mention… Gong Cha’s white pearls are AWESOME! Too bad it has been sold out for more than 2 weeks! The pearls are imported from Taiwan!

    Check them out next time you visit Gong Cha!

  12. Lainie June 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Trick is to find a place that uses decent tea, good milk and doesn’t overload the sugar.

  13. Tien Soon June 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    I can’t understand why are there so many ppl raving about these 2 brands lately.. They don’t taste exceptionally good (like you said, “no surprise”), and yet it’s not cheap.

    RM11+ for a pint of frozen-mug beer at Chili’s during happy happy, is much better :p haha

  14. Nicholas June 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    I agree with walauwei that Chatime is overrated. It’s nothing special IMO and expensive. I like Gong Cha more where the milk tea is kinda different as the separation of layer of milk and layer of tea are kinda special. =D

  15. Cailie June 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    It’s totally overrated!! The tea is totally tasteless when you reduced the sugar by more than half!! Zing tea with no tea taste/aroma?! Then the pearl is too Q for me, not that Q is not good but I think there’s optimal level of Q-ness to give best taste. And the price for something that I will vomit after half cup due to continuous chewing of pearl that literally will cause me jaw-drop. Really jaw dropping drink and queue. I prefer each a cup and best is Koi in SG!! :D no harsh feelings for Chatime addicts. Or ‘what-others-say-nice-i-must-say-nice-also’ addicts. Sorry if I hurt any of your feelings but I don’t care cause it’s only bubble tea, no big deal. Cheers!

  16. winnmill June 8, 2011 at 12:36 am #

    i’m a fan of chatime!!! i guess it depends on what flavours u choose . i like their mango green tea , honey lemon aloe and grapefruits green tea. and i usually opt for wihout sugar.
    their pearls are far better than little taiwan or blog queen ( yucks)…give it another chance. there are so many to choose from.

  17. Blurcheryl June 9, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    One thing for sure. I will NOT stand in long queue for things like this. Chatime from Taiwan so what? Chatime is new here so what? Chatime is nice so what? Its just ridiculous to me. Even the donut rave before, I didn’t even bother to look and buy any. haha

  18. JD June 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    I have had both and find that Gong Cha’s Winter Melon Tea is pretty good. Chatime on the other hand is nothing special.

  19. alex June 10, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    i think there’s so many ppl due to the 50% deal they are offering online

  20. whimsicaljottings June 11, 2011 at 1:57 am #

    I like Green Tea flavoured pearl tea, but I’ve read of these stuff containing cancer-causing agents due to all the artificial flavouring, so I cut back :/

  21. ShaolinTiger June 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    ken: Well it seems like quite a lot of people prefer Gongcha but Chatime is still most popular.

    suanie: Hmm yah, never seen a queue there tho.

    Tan Yee Hou: Yah too many sheep.

    blogjunkie: I think they are pretty safe, worth a try if you are a pearl tea lover I guess.

    walauwei: Haven’t tried Gongcha yet – will have to check it out.

    Tien Soon: Damn straight – beer FTW!

    winnmill: Yah blog queen is the absolute worst, will give it another try some day I guess :)

  22. Tasya July 21, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    I sincerely prefer chatime not that i have anything against gong cha but the original pearl milk tea taste better in chatime, the tea is fresh brewed and it taste rather pure. The pearly is super chewy too!

    In other hand, gong cha offers a smaller kind of pearls and also their 2/3 layer milk tea where it has this milk topping on top, i give that credit to gong cha.

    It really depends on what you are craving for!

  23. Sandy July 21, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    each a cup is not nice, just the price is cheaper. chatime is nice, but the price is quite expensive, almost double of each a cup.

  24. twice August 11, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    currently phenomena among youngster in KL with trend of those Taiwanese style drink and dessert, it seem too many choices and new shop open at area surround Subang and Klang valley…still remember trend of snow flake? i like it but only persist for few month,because u will feel nothing much special afterward and quality of the dessert is just soso …compare between Chatime vs Snow Flake, i like Chatime most, because the quality of the pearl better,wide choices,taste better ..recommend : green-tea red bean, aloe lemon tea ,plum tea …btw,dont know Chatime can make me fancy it for how long time ,and perhaps have better innovative new product and better taste ‘s dessert/drink..any how, it can urge competitive advantage in the market wat??