|Coinciding with the onset of the hottest season of the year, this month is all about that sweltering heat, Kenting beach and brain freeze from the icy summer sips—bubble tea, cocktails and beers.|
Hot sultry summers are best enjoyed on the rocks. Enter the tea shop, a casual take on tea houses à la Chun Shui Tang (春水堂)—the birthplace of the pearl milk tea. Now ubiquitous across much of the island, tea shops provide the single best solution for those melting from the heat; iced, hand-mixed drinks ordered to-go. But don’t you hate it when you order a beverage out of curiosity—its name sounded exotic and you were feeling adventurous—only to find it’s nothing you imagined to say the least. No one simply has the patience in this kind of temperature, and the level of frustration is made exponentially worse in the heat. Thankfully you can now avoid that entirely with this list of our recommended drinks from each tea shop.
Customers never have to worry about a disparity between the various branches of Taiwan’s most popular tea shop thanks to the chain’s strict quality control. 50 Lan’s tea selection may be considered rudimentary—black, green, oolong, nothing too fancy—but the shop is considered the definitive tea shop, offering the tea shop “essentials”. It’s practically impossible to go wrong here—the pearl milk tea is always a solid choice—but drinks tend to be on the sweet side so it’s not unusual to reduce the sugar dosage.
image via solmag
Known primarily for its fruit-based, “clear” drinks, Coco has expanded to several countries around the globe since it was founded in 1997. Coco’s milk tea is pre-mixed, making for a different taste from other milk teas. The store only offers pearls in the large size (boba).
With roots tied to the birthplace of pearl milk tea, Chun Shui Tang—apparently founded by an ex-employee—Tea Patea offers a cheaper alternative to the former. Tea Patea is known for its high caliber teas, as well as their strong flavor.
image via Tea Patea
When life gives you lemons, you make Lemon Green Tea. That’s KingTea’s motto, well, we sure think so. KingTea has so perfected the zesty beverage that it lays claims to a golden ratio of lemon juice, green tea, ice and sugar syrup. A sight for sore eyes in the urban metropolis—light green walls, orange brick counters and baskets of fresh limes laid out on the side of the road—KingTea has solidify its place as the number one lemon green tea store in all of Taiwan.
image via Kingyo
Oregin is a bit of an insider secret. With fewer storefronts than other tea shop chains, Oregin serves up amazing tea—brewed in low temperatures to preserve its essence—in innovative, minimalistic packaging. Drinks come in two sizes, the regular L and XL, a square-based one-plus liter bottle with a screw-on lid that will quench the thirstiest of drinkers. The reusable, especially-designed and limited edition bottles has tea lovers and collectors coming back again and again.
image via Oregin
Presotea rejects the usual high-temperature, high-pressure bulk brewing techniques of most tea shops, opting instead to brew each order with individual tea bags. And the results are evident; the flavor of the tea really comes through, not the least overwhelmed by the taste of the various flavorful additions.
image via terbaru
Comebuy takes the typical menu selection and adds a quirky spin to it with out-of-the-box combinations you won’t find elsewhere. The shop uses loose leaf brewing technology, and drinks are brewed to order.
image via ddmap
Chingshin’s polystyrene cups and green plastic bags made up the childhood memories of many a 90s kid. Formed in 1987, the age-tested chain has the most branches in Taiwan and remains a throwback to the traditional local Taiwanese lifestyle with its retro metal counters and no-frills decor and packaging.
Tenren’s dedication to quality has cemented it as both a premium tea supplier as well as an established brand. Drinks tend cost a bit more than those at other stores, but all for good reason. You can truly taste the quality of the Chinese tea leaves, and every sip is a treat for your palate.