Funny again how food trends take a while to reach Singapore. In the meantime, you will start seeing a lot of bubble tea shops here selling “Brown Sugar Bubble Milk”, coining it the “latest trend in Taiwan”.
Eh… but some bubble tea shops in Taiwan have been selling it for YEARS.
If you need a recommendation, the most famous shop there for this drink should be Chen San Ding 陳三鼎青蛙鮮奶.
The trend also probably came from Hong Kong, with Tiger Sugar, The Alley, Jenjudan 珍煮丹, Milksha, and XingFuTang 幸福堂 creating ‘boba milk’ war at Causeway Bay, with youths willing to queue up to an hour for a cup.
The Brown Sugar Bubble Milk is also called “青蛙撞奶” (? x ?), literally meaning “frogs knocking on milk”, as the boba pearls supposedly look like frog eggs.
Some stores in Singapore serve it purely with milk, some as milk tea.
So I did a poll of sorts on my Instagram Stories for recommendations, and these are the following that came up.
Here are 20 Brown Sugar Milk Tea in Singapore. Can’t believe I finished ALL OF THEM. (Oh yes, before HPB hunts me down, do take these in moderation, yah?)
Capitol Singapore, 13 Stamford Road, Singapore 178905
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Tiger Sugar has already garnered a large fanbase from Taiwan to Hong Kong. Many are willing to queue up even before the shop opens.
This outlet at the basement of Capitol Singapore (previously known as Capitol Piazza) is Tiger Sugar first forray in South East Asia. It has opened 2 other branches at Orchard Paragon and Chinatown Point.
The Tiger Sugar name comes from the ‘tiger stripes’ formed when the dark brown sugar syrup interacts with the thick milk in the cup. However, the ‘tiger stripes’ will fully dissolve within a minute and consumers are urged to act fast if they want to take pictures.
Get the Brown Sugar Boba Milk ($5.30) or Brown Sugar Boba and Pearls with Cream Mousse ($5.30) which is a combination of bigger tapioca boba and smaller pearls.
I thought that the caramelised part, made up of 4 different types of Taiwanese brown sugar, was the most appealing with its distinct aroma. The boba pearls were slightly soft to the liking of some.
All-in-all, a tasty, refreshing cup. However, queuing for a long time is another question all together. Tiger Sugar Singapore (Capitol Singapore)
ION Orchard Mall, 2 Orchard Turn, #B4-29, Singapore 238801 (Orchard MRT)
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm
HEYTEA Singapore 喜茶 at ION Orchard B4 – known for their cheese teas and fruit teas, has launched their NEW upgraded versions of Brown Sugar Bubble Milk Tea – Brûlée Bobo Tea & Oreo Bobo Tea.
The “brûlée” effect is achieved by first topping the cup with smooth cream foam, sprinkled over with brown sugar bits, then torched lightly for just a couple of seconds – all to get that thin crunch and sweet sugary fragrance.
For the base of the drink, you can choose between fresh milk or fresh milk tea. The level of sweetness of amount of pearls can also be adjusted to your liking.
Between the two, I personally preferred the Fresh Milk for the taste of pure creaminess and fuller mouth-feel. HEYTEA Bobo Milk Tea (ION Orchard)
R&B 巡茶 Outlets
Marina Bay Sands, #B2-50 Canal Level (at Rasapura Masters) Singapore 018972
Marina Square @ Cookhouse, 6 Raffles Boulevard #04-101/102 Singapore 039594
Toa Payoh, 470 Toa Payoh Lorong 6 Singapore 310470
Singapore Polytechnic, Foodcourt 4 AeroHub (AE106) Singapore 139651
Oasis Terraces, 681 Punggol Drive #B1-03 Singapore 820681
R&B 巡茶, more commonly known as R&B Tea, serves up Brown Sugar Boba Milk with Cheese Brûlée (Marina Bay Sands pricing Regular $5.80, Large $6.50. Other outlets Regular $4.80).
A cup would include pearls cooked in brown sugar, poured in with chilled milk, topped with cream cheese then torched.
It is also coated with brown sugar glaze that looks like the stripes of a tiger. Thus, they gave this drink the name “老虎出巡” – which literally means “a tiger taking its journey”.
There is no ‘correct’ way to drink this, but a recommended method is to take a sip of the pearls first, to appreciate the softness and chewiness. Cooked for more than 3 hours with an in-house, recipe these are actually some of the best boba I had in recent times.
You would notice that the bottom of the cups is actually warm as you hold it, so there is some thrill in the contrast of hot and cold temperatures.
That is not all, there is a layer of smooth and savoury cheese cream on top, sprinkled with brown sugar bits then torched, for a layer of caramelized crust. R&B 巡茶 (Marina Bay Sands)
Yifang Fruit Tea
Orchard Gateway #B1-01, 277 Orchard Road Singapore 238858
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
This popular Taiwanese brand serves up two types of Brown Sugar drinks – Brown Sugar Pearl Latte ($5.30, $6.30), and Brown Sugar Pearl Black Tea Latte ($5.30, $6.30). Note that the sweetness and ice levels are fixed.
For the cup, you can experience ’gao gao’ (rich) brown sugar that doesn’t overkill on the sweetness level.
The way to take the perfect Instagram shot, is also to invert the drink over, and for the brown sugar to form patterns as it ‘waterfalls’ down.
Nayuki – Vivocity
Vivocity, #01-207 1 Harbourfront Walk, Singapore 098585 (Harbourfront MRT)
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
With over 180 stores across China and well-loved by celebrities, this flagship at Vivocity is Nayuki’s 1st overseas outlet.
Nayuki’s version of Fresh Milk Black Pearl 鲜奶黑珍珠 ($4.50) comes in a sleek bottle.
What you get is fresh milk topped with chewy tapioca pearls steeped in rich brown sugar. It is recommended to first take sips of the pearls to experience the aromatic caramelised brown sugar first before shaking.
There are pros and cons of this being stored in a bottle. While it is convenient for storage, people may have the perception that it is not as “fresh” as those made on the spot.
Bedok Mall, 311 New Upper Changi Road, #01-94 (Bedok MRT)
Opening Hours: 9am – 11pm (Mon – Sun)
Not every store serves the boba pearls warm, but MuYoo+ does.
There are three recommended ways to have this “Dirty Drink”. First, you suck up the brown sugar cooked pearls from the straw, and experience the warm, chewy sensation.
Then, you take a sip of the milk and enjoy the contrast of hot-boba and cold-milk.
After which, you mix it all up and relish the milk with the caramel-like sweetness.
The brown sugar drink here hits the right notes, but I personally wished that the cup was bigger so that there would be a higher drink to boba ratio. MuYoo+ (Bedok Mall)
KOI Thé Singapore
48 Branches. Brown Sugar Series currently only available at Seletar Mall, Boon Lay MRT, Tampines MRT, Ang Mo Kio MRT, Takashimaya S.C
KOI has also launched a Brown Sugar series, called “Okinawa-style” available only at limited outlets such as Ang Mo Kio MRT and Takashimaya basement.
Ordered via an electronic kiosk, you can choose your ice, sugar level, and bubble portion for the Brown Sugar Fresh Milk ($4.70).
KOI uses golden pearls instead of the usual tapioca pearls, which are translucent yellow, moderately smaller, soft yet with a bouncy bite.
Sugar levels are only available at 100% or 70%. Even though I chose the ‘lowest’ at 70%, I wished it was just a tad less sweet. But I must say that the drink overall was smooth and rather pleasurable.
9 Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk #01-75, Singapore 039596
Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm Daily
SuperTea is slightly off the radar, possibly because it has only one store at Millenia Walk. Few also know it is sister company with R&B 巡茶.
The Brown Sugar Boba Milk features caramelised pearls simmered in brown sugar imported from Taiwan, added to chilled fresh milk.
The brown sugar at the bottom would be what you would describe as ”gao gao” thick, which has that obvious rich flavour which would send thrills.
Eat 3 Bowls 呷三碗 福利社
Blk 462 Crawford Lane #01-161 Singapore 190462
Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
The only non-bubble tea shop in this list.
While Eat 3 Bowls 呷三碗 is famed for its Lu Rou Fan and Taiwanese Mee Sua, another new find was the Brown Sugar Pearls with Fresh Milk ($3.80). A plus point is that the café has a Taiwanese classroom setting, so got-the-feels.
Enjoyed the chewy sweet pearls, and the cup was overall not too sweet. The drink was actually not bad, and not just there to accompany the food. Eat 3 Bowls (Crawford Lane)
Kurotaki Chabann 黑泷太郎
180 Rangoon Road, Singapore 218442
Opening Hours: 10am – 2:30pm, 3:30pm – 7:30pm, 8:30pm – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
(Another branch at Citylink Mall)
Founded in the south of China in 2014, the Kurotaki Chabann chain has several hundred branches in China itself, and offers a wide range of beverages. However, it is not as “hot” in Singapore, possibly due to its location (I had it after Bak Kut Teh) and lack of marketing and awareness.
It is famed for tea infused with Taiwanese brown sugar, made using “ancient sugar-making technology”.
The two signature drinks are the Brown Sugar Milk with Pearl ($3.90) and Brown Sugar Jelly Milk Tea ($3.50).
The brown sugar here did feel ‘legit’ – possibly the most fragrant and gao-gao of the lot, with a pleasant, caramelised lingering taste.
True Boss 醋頭家 Singapore
Northpoint City B2-134, 1 Northpoint Drive, Singapore 768019 (Yishun MRT)
Opening Hours: 10:00am – 10:00pm
True Boss 醋頭家 is the first fruit vinegar specialty tea shop in Singapore, a brand which hails from Taiwan.
The popular chain store which originated from Tainan specialises in fruit vinegar, bubble tea, fruit smoothies and vinegar yogurt.
So for something non-vinegary, GET the Brown Sugar Bubble Milk ($4.40, $5.40) in which the brown sugar used is specially imported from Taiwan.
For that lovely deep caramelized flavour and smooth milk.
Hey Long Cha 黑龍茶
Changi City Point #01-K11, 5 Changi Business Park Central 1, Singapore 486038
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm
(Also available at Century Square)
Taiwan Oolong Tea franchise chain Hey Long Cha 黑龍茶has arrived in Singapore, said to offer tea that is “natural, pure, and healthy”.
Their Signature Bubble Milk Tea ($3.50, $4.80) contains boba pearls cooked in brown sugar, which will impart that distinct sweetness.
Compared to other tea brands I am more familiar with, I would rank this somewhere in the middle. It is actually not bad and under-rated, though I wished there was more “oomph” in the drink.
Various branches in Singapore
LiHo continues to introduce weird flavours to stay ahead of the game.
Their two earlier creations include Brown Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk which combines warm brown sugar Pearls with cold fresh milk; while the Brown Sugar Pearls Fresh Milk Party features peanuts, Oreo cookies and cream cheese. CREAM CHEESE.
There was also the Salted Egg Lava Brown Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk, which I didn’t touch. (Calorie-watch, so was it worth it?)
The LiHo team also recommended stirring the drink a total of 8 times to enjoy the lightly flavoured brown sugar fresh milk by shaking it up 8 times. The marketing team deserves a big clap.
Bobii Frutii Singapore – Suntec City
Suntec City Mall #02-375/376 West Wing, 3 Temasek Boulevard, Singapore 038983
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Bobii Frutti (with Nat Ho as one of the local co-owners), has a Brown Sugar specialty drink called “Childhood Memory” ($4.80). (I don’t recall having that much brown sugar as a child though).
While they are proud of their muah-chee like texture for their bobii, I found them way too soft without that pleasurable chew or bite.
The brown sugar here was more subdued, not as rich and strong as one would expect. Good for those who prefer a more mellow take. Bobii Frutii (The Clementi Mall)
218 Balestier Road #01-01, Value Hotel Balestier, Singapore 329684
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 9:00pm (Mon – Fri), 8:00am – 9:00pm (Sat – Sun)
The café is opened by the team behind Living Botanica – a fruit tea shop at Marina Bay Link Mall, but seems to have gone almost completely unnoticed.
As for the “star” of the place, the Brown Sugar Milk Tea ($3.50) was unfortunately way too sweet for me, and bubbles could have been softer.
It is tough striking a balance with all the caramelised sweetness and yet you still want to savour the delicate flavours of the milk and tea.
133 New Bridge Road #B1-46 Chinatown Point Singapore 059413
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
HeeTea is located at an inconspicuous corner at the basement of Chinatown, so people may just missed it.
The shop has also got on the bandwagon, and is currently offering Brown Sugar Bobo Milk Tea, Zang Zang Bobo Milk Tea, and Brown Sugar Bobo Fresh Milk Drink (Each $3.50 medium or $5.00 for large).
While the bobo pearls are considered chewy, it was also unfortunately too sweet without a distinct caramel flavour. The milk (not sure what’s the brand) tasted ‘thin’ and could have been fuller and creamier.
TaiGai @ NEX
NEX Serangoon, #B2-34, Singapore 556083 (Opposite BreadTalk)
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
[Not available yet] Instead of the usual black boba pearls, TaiGai offers translucent golden-yellow tapioca pearls with their milk tea. These pearls are somewhat smaller with a springier bite.
A special feature of the drink is the “Beary Cute” cup with the bear-ear lid. TaiGai 台盖 (NEX)
Tea Tree Café
Several branches including: Kovan Heartland Mall, ITE College Central @ Ang Mo Kio, Kallang Wave Mall, Suntec City Mall, Singapore Technology of Institute Temasek Polytechnic, Fusionopolis Connexis 1
Tea Tree Café with 7 branches in Singapore, calls their drink Tiger Macchiato ($4.50). Interestingly, they used to serve up “Kokuto Fresh Milk” which is made with a type of Okinawan brown sugar.
However, I thought that this Tiger drink was way too sweet, and lacked in that aromatic brown sugar fragrance.
The Centrepoint #B1-K3
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm
Tai Croissant which offers Taiyaki with croissant-like crispy texture, has also served up Brown Sugar Milk drinks ($3.50).
Let’s just say that bubble drinks are not exactly their forte, and so the pearls turned out being rather hard (in contrast) without that obvious sweetness.
Their other drinks such as Iced Green Tea ($1.50), Iced Black Tea ($1.50), and Iced Green Tea Latte ($2.00) are considered quite inexpensive for a kiosk in town area.
The Alley (opening soon in Singapore)
Their Brown Sugar Deerioca Series includes Brown Sugar Deerioca Milk, Cocoa Milk Matcha Milk and Crème Brulee.
Of all the Brown Sugar Milk I tried in Taipei, I would place theirs among the Top 5.
They make their own sugar cane syrup, and boil sugar canes in-house to create sweetness that won’t be overpowering.
Also they make their “Deerioca” (tapioca pearls named after their iconic deers) from scratch, from making the dough, kneading and rolling into small balls.
The process is said to create better texture and aroma for the tapioca pearls.
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