Some years ago, a hype for bubble milk tea have hit our country by storm and built an empire of tea merchants. Even youngsters who never tasted true teas have become fanatics of milk tea shops that have popped up in every corner of neighborhoods. I found it ironic really, from drinking ready to mix iced tea to having it with milk and pearl sinkers was absurd. Well, what most us knew as tea, is practically made up mostly of sugar than the tea itself.
The first time I had tea was when my parents made me try a freshly steeped tea, not sure what type, and way back then, we only knew one kind. Boy, the experience was so traumatic. I found my first sip awfully bitter and my tongue got burned. I was a tweener then and I made up my mind to list it as the worst drink ever, and from then on I never had it. Until I got older and learned that one of the reason why Chinese people have fair and really smooth skin is by drinking it regularly. Darn! There goes my chance of getting that flawless skin.
However, even before the hype, I have learned to treat tea drinking as an altrenative way to get healthy or get cure from stomach illness, though it's evidence was still unclear to me. So, eventhough foodies and regular drinkers raved about it, I still didn't find the appeal to join the bandwagon. Another reason was that I wasn't a milk drinker either and I'm afraid that I might waste my money buying a cup just by being adventurous and being at trend.
But when I read a post from one of my favorite food writer, Smarla, and how she managed to come up with a list of her go-to places for milk teas, I became really, really curious, until I ended up trying some of the weirdest flavors she had, except the one with Yakult. Now, I'm glad I did!
Tea drinking had been part of my lifestyle, in fact I have alloted a big part of our pantry for my tea collection, and yes, top on my list of pick-me-upper is the cold pearl milk tea, replacing fraps and cold blended coffee, and my favorite tea place is nonetheless than TWG and some well-known milk tea joints.
But you know, not all tea places are alike, each one have a unique touch and characteristics. Notice also how they lure the customers with play of colors, lovely interiors and with "personalizing" your milk tea concotions. You, may never realize how each one differ, case in point, where they get their tea leaves from or how they come up with flavors and how they wish to reach out to their customers. Touchy? Yes, most of the milk tea places I know advocates wellness and health in leisure. Owners have scoured high points of Taiwan and the valleys of India just to offer us sips into wellness.
One tea place with branches mostly located in malls, Jelly-G, had its owners travel to Thailand who then have decided to bring Thai milk tea back to Manila. After trying out one milk tea after the other in the streets of Bangkok, the owner said she had to have Manila enjoy this kind of tea sensation without travelling all the way to Thailand.
So what's up with the brand with a grass clinging on its name? To none tea drinkers or eaters who despise and avoid green on their diet, grass jelly may be yucky. But why not? In Thailand, people eat them like how we eat watermelons or mangoes during summer. Thailand can be so hot most of the time and people there would grab anything that has grass jelly with it. It is traditionally known to cool down body temperatures making it medicinal during fever, helps in lowering down blood pressure and aids in digestion. Grass jelly happens to be made up of herbs, cousins with mint, the stalks and leaves of mesona chinensis is oxidized and cooked with starch to form into a jelly. Known as chao kuai it is usually served diced with iced milk and milk tea.
If you are still unaware, most of the milk tea places in the metro came from Taiwan's boba or bubble tea concept. Jelly-G adapted the Thai milk tea, also known as "cha yen," which has higher concentrate of black tea, whereas most of the milk teas around has higher sugar and milk consistency than the tea ( talking of the steeped tea here).
However, if you happen to have the true Thai milk tea experience, you might find Jelly-G a tad different in the sense that they have blended the tea with the ice, while the Thai's like it poured on cubes of ice, coz that's how we Filipinos have grown accustomed with.
Most of their branches are stalls only on select malls, but at certain stores they serve it tables and chairs with a good line up of menu to pair your milk teas with.
Aside from teas they also sell packed imported Thai delicacies such as these spicy dried mangoes and preserved tamarinds which I found very addictingly yummy without having to crash your healthy lifestyle. They also have flavored toasts topped with scrumptuous ingredients.
To be honest, compared to other milk tea places I usually go to, I never really frequent buying from Jelly-G but afer this sort of reseach I did and some information given by the marketing personnel of Jelly-G, Ms. Joy Manalang, I think they have gotten my approval. I have tried before their Thai Milk Tea, and I was pleased with it, as you will really taste the tea and all it's bitter after-taste which eventually goes well with the milk in your every sip. Thai tea uses Ceylon or Assam tea varieties which have noted flavors of star anise, orange blossom water, crushed tamarind seeds and sometimes spices. (Info lifted from Wikipedia)
They serve a plethora of tea flavored with chocolates, fruits and even ice cream. If you want a different tea, that's hot, you may opt to get hot Jasmine Green tea or Thai Milk tea where you can top with mini-mallows, crushed oreos and cheese. One of the fruit tea I've tried is their Mango Milk tea with grass jelly and I'm in love with it!