Back when I was an 11-year-old, KOI Thé (or known as KOI) introduced themselves to our little island in a heated wave of popularity, and opened my ignorant eyes to the magical world of milky teas and bouncy pearls. I have been an avid fan of bubble tea ever since my secondary school days, frequenting Sweettalk outlets ‘cos it was where all the cool kids hung out. KOI to me was a rare luxury at that time, considering how I was a poor kid surviving on a $3 daily allowance.
Today, KOI Thé is 12 years old, and it sits unrivalled on its shiny throne with competitors jostling and scrimmaging beneath its feet. Being one of the oldest bubble tea chains in Singapore certainly has its benefits, but KOI doesn’t just owe its success to its seniority, but also its dedication to quality. Unlike younger drink chains, this decade-old brand commits to perfecting every single menu item, and stays away from gimmicky flavours that pander consumers’ short attention spans.
The Patek Philippe of bubble teas, KOI remains timeless and trendy, albeit slightly more expensive. Here are some signature drinks that will justify your spending.
KOI Thé Signature Drinks
Matcha Series – Matcha Macchiato(left) & Matcha Latte(right)
Flooding feeds with their eye-catching gradients of green and white, these two new flavours were launched last year and enjoyed a period of hype. Despite rocking a similar colour scheme, these two drinks are actually pretty different.
Recommended at a 70% sugar level, the Matcha Latte is a milkier option for y’all Matchaholics. Creamy milk fills the bottom of the cup and is carefully layered on top with slightly bitter matcha. When mixed together, the milk neutralises the bitterness of the matcha, producing an overall decadent flavour that does not get old.
Also recommended by staff to order at 70% sugar level, the Matcha Macchiato is designed and created for the more hardcore Matchaholics. The beverage contains almost a full cup of Matcha, with a thick layer of frothy milk foam sitting on top. Whipped to a pillowy consistency, the cloud of cream adds a mellow touch to the overall earthy flavour and remains light on the palate. With the distinct bitter undertone standing in the limelight here, this is a cup that screams “MATCHAAA”.
Golden Bubble Milk Tea
Fact Well, just my very strong opinion lol: You are looking at Singapore’s best pearl milk tea. If you have any objections, you either haven’t tried this or may be brainwashed (only partly kidding!). KOI has fully grasped the art and expertise of cooking tapioca pearls, and theirs are the crown jewel in every KOI product. No matter the time of the day, their pearls are kept chewy and soft, bringing you a mouthful of gold when you take a sip.
Putting the pearls aside, their milk tea concoction also deserves a moment of glory. While many other brands boast a strong fragrance of tea in their milk teas, KOI’s version of it places more emphasis on the dairy flavours so that their product is milkier and creamier. This may not be for you if you’re not a fan of luscious milk teas like that.
Green Tea Macchiato
This was my very first KOI drink ever, and I’m so proud of it for still being one of the brand’s top favourites. A classic drink that has stuck with us through the ups and downs, this is not something that will knock your socks off when you take a sip, but will leave you comfortable and contented after you down the whole cup. Such an enduring flavour is probably the secret to KOI’s long-lasting success: you just don’t get tired of it.
Instead of shaking the drink and unceremoniously stabbing with a straw, cut an opening on the lid of the cup and take a sip of the cream, then let flow the cold, aromatic tea into your mouth and allow them to mix. Ahhh…this is how you enjoy the simpler things in life.
Taro Q Milk Tea
Looks exactly like the Golden Bubble Milk Tea but it is not. This is a delight unique to KOI Thé – featuring fragrant, chewy taro balls in their classic milk tea. A generous dollop of these purple balls are plopped into the cup, and one serving is enough to fill you up. Don’t worry about all the starch you’ll be consuming – the dainty taro balls are made with real yams with yam bits for you chew on. If you’re feeling ravenous, this is a sure option to occupy the void in your tummy.