Quality ingredients are what make OK Tea’s offerings oh-so palatable.
Contributed By Lim Bijia
Hands up, those who’ve had at least one bubble tea experience in the past 12 months. Chances are, many of you have at least dipped your toe, if not dived headlong into the wave of bubble tea shops that have re-invaded our island. Today, a whole gamut of choices beckons us, from the classic original milk tea with black pearls to more creative offerings like almond or taro milk tea with white pearls and pudding.
On top of the dizzying array of customizable options a would-be customer would face in a single average modern bubble tea shop, the bubble tea market has also been heating up with numerous competent entrants such as KOI, Each-a-Cup, Gong Cha and Sweet Talk, to name a few. Though these may be established players in the bubble tea business, there is yet another new entrant that is making inroads into the hearts and minds of the bubble tea-drinking public—OK Tea.
OK Tea, located at Clementi, is the fledgling business of Vinson Tay, 36. A graphic designer by profession, Tay believes that OK Tea is a God-given opportunity that appeared almost out of the blue. He was approached by acquaintances from Taiwan who were interested in introducing the products of a successful and popular Taiwanese bubble tea company to Singapore. However, instead of merely franchising, the company decided to participate as shareholders, thereby allowing Tay to exclusively import their specially researched and developed tea and ingredients, all the while building a separate brand name in Singapore. Sensing an opportunity in this, Tay boldly jumped at the opportunity and thus, OK Tea was born.
City New’s big question for Tay was this: “How is OK Tea different from the other more established brands?”
Tay’s immediate answer was “Quality. At OK Tea, we think that quality is the most important thing.” He pointed to the back of the kitchen where an elderly but strong-looking man was carefully stirring and tending to metal pots of simmering, freshly brewed tea made from the imported tea leaves. Nearby, attached prominently on the wall, is what he calls the “special formula.” Tay explained that it is not enough to just use the correct ingredients, but the temperature and proportions must also be carefully monitored. Keeping closely to his philosophy of quality, even the store manager is an experienced Taiwanese man who has agreed to devote the next few years in helping to set up and train OK Tea and its staff in the delicate art of bubble tea-making.
Confident and excited about the quality of his bubble tea, Tay generously offered several randomly selected choices from OK Tea’s extensive menu for a taste test. OK Tea offers seven different additions to your bubble tea—fen tiao (a chewy delight that comes in elongated strands), han tian (the jelly-like substance often found in energy packs commonly sold in Taiwan, perfect for the busy individual who wants nutrition on the go, in an easy-to-digest form), nata de coco (fermented coconut water), the classic black pearls, white pearls, aloe vera and pudding.
The first cup I had was the classic 3Q Milk Tea (S$2.60) with han tian, black pearls and fen tiao. It was, even to a seasoned bubble tea drinker such as me, exceptional. Imagine a heady mix of the earthy aroma of good quality tea, perfectly sweetened and blended in perfect proportions with the smooth creamy taste of milk. This was nicely punctuated with the sweet chewiness of the fen tiao, the slide-down-your-throat goodness of the han tian and of course, the black pearls that have just the right amount of chewiness.
If the Original Milk Tea were like snuggling into Egyptian cotton sheets on a rainy day, then the Cranberry Black Tea (S$2.90) would be a refreshing shower after a long jog on a hot afternoon. The natural tartness of the cranberry melded wonderfully with the slight mellow presence of the sweet tea. It was a drink that was hard to put down.
Next up was the OK Tea’s Almond Han Tian (S$2.40). Somehow, there was something nostalgic about the experience as it was reminiscent of the almond desserts I used to enjoy as a child … only better. For me, it was a delicious beverage, dessert and a trip down memory lane all rolled into a convenient bubble tea form.
Last but definitely not least was their specially imported Taiwanese Ovaltine (S$2.90) drink which was chocolatey yet refreshing. Add OK Tea’s wonderful pearls to the mix and I had the perfect pick-me-up in a cup. However, for those who prefer a thicker chocolate taste, I suggest OK Tea’s Chocolate Milk (S$2.90).
All in all, my OK Tea experience was short but memorable, and I look forward to my next visit. For the health-conscious, OK Tea offers a choice to reduce the amount of sugar in your drink. So the next time you crave for a yummy drink, or if you are in the area, why not mosey on down, and taste firsthand the results of OK Tea’s commitment to quality.
Clementi Ave 3, #01-261
+65 6774 4420