The Milk Tea Trend Is Alive And Well In 2019—With Tiger Sugar Just Opened In BGC
Crazes come and go, but one seems to be here to stay—and its next player has just entered the market. Tiger Sugar, a famed milk tea brand from Taiwan, has just landed in Manila—at Bonifacio High Street to be exact.
Tiger Sugar first went international when it opened in Hong Kong earlier this year, and made its Southeast Asian debut in Singapore last October. Since then, the brand has set up shop in Malaysia, Vietnam, and of course, the Philippines, with more branches soon to open in Macau and Indonesia. Needless to say, Tiger Sugar works fast, wasting no time between each debut, and for good reason— wherever Tiger Sugar goes, long lines inevitably follow.
The newly opened branch across Fully Booked in Bonifacio High Street
What exactly is it that compels people to stand in these often hour-long queues, when other milk tea stores are right around the corner? Maybe it’s curiosity—just to see what all the hype is about—but if that’s the case, why have these long lines remained for months on end?
Perhaps the differentiating factor between Tiger Sugar and its counterparts is the tireless diligence behind each cup. The boba pearls are cooked one small batch at a time throughout the day to ensure their freshness, and although you can’t pick your sugar level, they guarantee that each drink is meticulously calibrated to just the right level of sweetness.
A Tiger Sugar drink’s main ingredients: brown sugar, black tea, boba, milk | (Photo by Shani Samtani)
Upon receiving it, you’ll find your drink to be ice cold, but your boba still warm—the perfect indication of a freshly-prepared drink. Finally, each person is advised to shake their drink 15 times, which achieves a total unification of the caramelized brown sugar and fresh milk. Order their bestseller—the Brown Sugar Boba Milk with Cream Mousse—for added silky texture.
Brown Sugar Boba Milk with Cream Mousse | photo courtesy FB: Tiger Sugar Philippines
If you’ve seen the flood of photos on Instagram, you’ll realize that no two orders of Tiger Sugar are identical, as the caramelized brown sugar permeates the sides of the drink in a slightly different manner each time, creating countless unique patterns. This, without a doubt, is the brand’s claim to fame, as these patterns—which are meant to resemble tiger stripes—help Tiger Sugar stand out aesthetically from its competitors. Not too far from any Tiger Sugar stall, one can find a flock of people taking photos of their drinks before the brown sugar stripes dissolve into the milk, giving the brand automatic and abundant social media publicity.
The distinctive “tiger” stripes on Tiger Sugar’s signature boba milk teas
Having heard and seen so much of Tiger Sugar’s rise to fame, what many people don’t realize is that things weren’t always this way. In fact, Tiger Sugar began as a humble milk tea stall called San Yuan, where its founders studied the Taiwanese milk tea market and executed improvements to their handcrafted beverages over time. Through this experience, they were able to create a successful business model for Tiger Sugar, accounting for the enormous amount of success it has garnered in just over a year.
Prepping milk tea drinks on demand | Photo by Shani Samtani
With respect to Manila’s milk tea scene, Tiger Sugar appears to fit right in. Almost every popular milk tea brand across the metro has its specialty beverages—such as Gong Cha’s Wintermelon Tea, Dakasi’s Okinawa Milk Tea, and CoCo’s Panda Milk Tea. Now, Tiger Sugar joins the roster with its Brown Sugar Boba.
Of course, if brown sugar is just not your cup of tea, Tiger Sugar has a variety of other tea beverages in store for you: with pearl, as tea lattes, or simply black tea or green tea.
Tiger Sugar, 11th Avenue, Bonifacio High Street (in front of Fully Booked), Bonifacio Global City, IG: @tigersugarphilippines