Showing posts with label Bubble tea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bubble tea. Show all posts

CoCo Fresh Tea and Juice (Toronto)

As a teenager, I thought drinking bubble tea would be a fad. Just like Orbitz, a juice with small spheres of fruit floating throughout, its popularity would wane once consumers got over the novelty of having food in their drinks. Yet, my psychic abilities are non-existent, thankfully, and consumption is still going strong.

Although the drink didn’t arrive in Toronto until the mid-1990’s, it was developed in 1988 when a product development manager at Chun Shui Tang (a Taiwanese teahouse) added sweetened tapioca pudding to their tea and the company loved it so much they started selling it!

For those not in the know, at its simplest, bubble tea is the combination of sweetened tea with a food additive, which isn’t necessarily tapioca (although it’s the most popular choice). In fact, the “bubble” in the name has nothing to do with these pearls, but rather the foamy bubbles floating on top that’s developed through the shaking process. 

Nowadays the drink and topping options seem endless. At CoCo Fresh Tea and Juice, refreshing juices are added in the base and even chopped fresh fruit on top. Nevertheless, there’s something about the tried and true ingredients that still draw people in. Over March, as fans were voting for their favourite drinks, with the exception of passion fruit juice, the winners had scarcely a fruit in sight.

Although a little sweet at first, despite getting the drink at 50% sugariness, the Bubble GaGa ($4.20 for regular or $4.70 for large) is rather refreshing with its passion fruit and green tea base. It’d be great for the warmer months as one begins to crave something tropical since it also incorporates coconut jelly with the tapioca.

But my favourite has to be the 3 Guys ($5 for regular or $5.50 for large), a simple milk tea with three toppings: tapioca, pudding and grass jelly! The tapioca provides that requisite chewiness and the grass jelly an interesting herbal property to the tea. Yet, it’s the pudding, an ingredient I’ve never tried, that’s most surprising adding a silky creaminess when you get a bite with the drink.

The longevity of bubble tea is outstanding, so much so, that the global CoCo franchise turned 20 in April. During this milestone, they’re offering their patrons a few perks:
  • The two top drinks noted above are on sale for April where you can get the large for just $3.80.
  • During April share a photo of CoCo’s tea using hashtag #CoCo20th on any social media platform and that’s your entry towards their contest for winning one month of free CoCo products (that’s one a day)! There will be five winners and to help you along the way, CoCo has photo booths set up in Ontario locations.
Happy birthday CoCo Fresh Tea and good luck to all. May the bubbles be with you.

Disclaimer: The above drinks were complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada

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Coco Fresh Juice and Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Just look at Chatime's new twilight teas & Baker Siu's macarons

When Chatime came onto the scene there was tons of hype, but I had doubts whether they could take on the bubble tea behemoths like Ten Ren who have dominated the Toronto drink scene for so long. After five years in Canada, it’s safe to say they can certainly dominate and don’t rest on their laurels -  Chatime regularly innovates their stores by incorporating them with Bake Code bakeries and most recently started partnering with Masterchef contestant Baker Chris Siu. Siu is known for his delicious desserts and soon participating establishments will carry macarons, including one incorporating Chatime’s famous roasted milk tea ($2.60).

For those who like something different, try the lap cheong maple macaron ($2.60). Made with the Chinese preserved sausage, which is already slightly sweet and savoury, candied lap cheong is mixed into a maple syrup buttercream so the pastry is still sweet but has a hint of saltiness.

Nonetheless, the chain doesn’t simply rely on adding food items to menus. Recently, they have launched a new line of drinks that aim to be colourful naturally. Butterfly pea tea is used in most of the drinks as the base – its flower long used in Southeastern Asian cooking as a natural food colouring, adding a royal blue hue that even Kate Middleton would love. When combined with something acidic (like lemon or lime), the tea transforms into lovely violet, with other hibiscus flowers the drink can turn red.

One uses hibiscus tea instead, which has a lovely fuchsia colour and tastes fruity and tart like cranberry.

Named the “Twilight” series each drink resembles a time of the day:

Grapefruit Blush: When the sun first rises and the sky transforms from red to blue. The drink is the prettiest in the line with three different jewel toned colours. It’s citrusy but still sweet, a nice “lighter” one if you’re not in the mood for strong flavours.

Coconut Daydream: As the day enters into afternoon the sky (assuming it’s a sunny day) is a vivid blue capped with puffy white clouds. Here the butterfly pea tea is void of acid so stays blue. Of all the drinks this is the richest (on account of the coconut syrup and fresh milk) and could even resemble a cold latte. Trust me; if you’re a milk tea fan, this is one to try.

Hibiscus Sunset: A gorgeous red and orange to replicate the sun setting. Although it doesn’t use any of the butterfly pea tea, it’s one of the fruitiest drinks with passion fruit and lychee flavours. For those who like fruity green teas (mango green is one of my favourites), this is an ideal substitute.

Starry Lemon: The darkest of the drinks resembles looking into the evening sky … dark but with some blue and clouds shining through.  As indicated in its name, this drink is tarter due to the lemon and one of the most interesting because how it looks has no resemblance to its taste. Woah… mind games!

Sure, the teas look gorgeous, but the best part is that they can look tropical without relying on dyes. Chatime wants customers to be able to order something that looks cool but is natural and benefit from the antioxidants found in colourful teas. Don’t worry about the drinks getting jostled: it will combine into one colour when stirred, but then separates into distinct layers after the liquid settles – just imagine the fun children will have with these!  

They do have some suggestions to tea fans that tend to customize their drinks:
  • There’s already limited syrup used in the drinks, so you don’t need to go half sweet. Anything less and you’ll likely not get much sweetness at all.
  • You’ll want to ensure there’s ice in the drink (this is to the “no ice” fans). You need some of the coldness and they expect some dilution. Otherwise, it may alter the taste of the tea.
  • Lastly, they suggest not adding anything into the drinks (i.e. tapioca, QQ jelly, etc.) The ingredients have added sugar and syrup, which may not taste the best with the Twilight series.
I applaud the inventive step and am glad to see Chatime’s a company that continues to innovate to stay relevant. However, I personally think the Hibiscus Sunset would pair so nicely with tapioca – I ALWAYS get tapioca in my bubble teas. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’ll have to go back and do some experimenting … all in the name of food science, right? 

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 169 Enterprise Boulevard

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Chatime Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato