looloo’s Brown Sugar Milk Tea Blind Taste Test

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Brown sugar is like the Morgan Freeman of kitchen ingredients. It’s been around for an eternity but only in its old age was it able to get a piece of the limelight. And brown sugar has the milk tea trend to thank for its newfound fame!

Brown sugar milk tea is everyone’s cup of tea these days. The craze started in Taiwan and now Filipinos can’t get enough of the (brown) sugar rush either! Several milk tea places in Metro Manila have come up with their own version of the drink, making it pretty tricky to decide who did it best.

Which brings us to this looloo Blind Taste Test! We recently did one for regular milk tea and so we thought it would only be right to do one for brown sugar milk tea as well. There was no sugarcoating involved so expect the real tea…

The Rules

Our goal for this BTT (aside from getting high off of sugar) is to figure out if the popular brown sugar milk teas we’ve all been hearing about are actually worth the hype or if we’re all better off sticking to our regular milk tea orders.

The participants (from left to right): Gong Cha, Moonleaf, Happy Lemon, Yi Fang, and Serenitea

So we picked out the top 5 brown sugar milk teas that were making the most appearances on the looloo app and made them battle it out! The chosen participants are Yi Fang’s Brown Sugar Pearl Tea Latte, Happy Lemon’s Tiger Milk Tea, Serenitea’s Brown Sugar Taho, Gong Cha’s Brown Sugar Milk Tea, and Moonleaf’s Tiger Moon.

The judges (from left to right): Bella J., Roegan T., and Gwen I.

The judges strapped on their blindfolds yet again, relying solely on their sense of taste and smell to help them critique the brown sugar milk teas. They were asked to rate each drink from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) according to the following criteria: 1) Brown sugar flavor, 2) Brown sugar-to-milk tea ratio, 3) Overall flavor of drink, and 4) Value for money.

The judges getting to work

The Results

Milk Tea #1: Yi Fang’s Brown Sugar Pearl Tea Latte

Yi Fang’s Brown Sugar Pearl Tea Latte (₱140 for the large cup)

Criteria Roegan T. Gwen I. Bella J. Average Score
Brown Sugar Flavor 4.5 4 4 4.17
Brown Sugar-to-Milk Tea Ratio 3.5 3 3.5 3.33
Overall Flavor of Drink 3.5 3 3.5 3.33
Value for Money 3.5 3 3 3.17

You don’t have to try hard to taste the brown sugar flavor in this drink because the judges confirmed its strong presence. “You can definitely taste it. I can tell that it’s already watered down but you can still taste the brown sugar,” said Gwen I.

They did, however, have trouble finding the milk tea flavor in the mix which pulled down the drink’s overall score. “There’s way more brown sugar. It tasted like water with brown sugar. I couldn’t taste the milkiness. I think it should be a balance,” explained Roegan T.

Overall, the judges found the drink to be on the sweet side. Bella J. found the pearls to be a good addition though. “I like the pearls. They’re small but they’re the right texture for me. The kind of chewy without being soggy or too hard,” she said.

Yi Fang can be found at these locations.

Milk Tea #2: Happy Lemon’s Tiger Milk Tea

Happy Lemon’s Tiger Milk Tea (₱109 for the large cup)

Criteria Roegan T. Gwen I. Bella J. Average Score
Brown Sugar Flavor 3 3 2.5 2.83
Brown Sugar-to-Milk Tea Ratio 3 3 2.5 2.83
Overall Flavor of Drink 3.5 3 3 3.17
Value for Money 4 4 3.5 3.83

The judges were pretty disappointed with this drink because they couldn’t taste any trace of brown sugar. “It’s barely there. I was even looking for the aftertaste of brown sugar but it wasn’t really there. It was just the sweetness of a regular milk tea,” said Roegan T.

Because the brown sugar flavor was MIA, the judges couldn’t give it good scores for its brown sugar-to-milk tea ratio. And so it wasn’t a surprise that the average score for this category didn’t even hit a 3.

Despite the absence of brown sugar, everyone thought it was an enjoyable drink. “I like the pearls. The right size, the right consistency. On its own as a drink, it’s actually pretty good. Though if you take into consideration that it’s a brown sugar milk tea and there’s none in there, it kind of defeats the purpose,” explained Bella J.

Happy Lemon can be found at these locations.

Milk Tea #3: Serenitea’s Brown Sugar Taho

Serenitea’s Brown Sugar Taho (₱150 for the large cup)

Criteria Roegan T. Gwen I. Bella J. Average Score
Brown Sugar Flavor 4.5 5 5 4.83
Brown Sugar-to-Milk Tea Ratio 3.5 5 4 4.17
Overall Flavor of Drink 4 4 4 4
Value for Money 4 3.5 4 3.83

Serenitea’s drink earned impressive scores for having a prominent brown sugar flavor. Gwen I., who’s familiar with the taste of muscovado, identified the flavor right away. “This is actually muscovado sugar. I think this is way better since this is organic sugar. It’s really sweet so it gives that brown sugar flavor,” she said.

There were different opinions though when it came to the drink’s brown sugar-to-milk tea ratio. Roegan T. and Bella J. found it difficult to spot the milk tea flavor but Gwen I. thought it was perfectly balanced.

Overall, the judges found the drink delicious though a little overwhelming because of all the things in it. “I enjoyed it because I like taho. Though it can get kind of confusing because there are so many things going on. So many textures,” explained Bella J.

Serenitea can be found at these locations.

Milk Tea #4: Gong Cha’s Brown Sugar Milk Tea

Gong Cha’s Brown Sugar Milk Tea (₱121 for the large cup)

Criteria Roegan T. Gwen I. Bella J. Average Score
Brown Sugar Flavor 4.5 5 5 4.83
Brown Sugar-to-Milk Tea Ratio 4 5 4 4.33
Overall Flavor of Drink 4 5 4 4.33
Value for Money 4.5 5 4 4.5

Gong Cha’s drink got nearly perfect scores for both its brown sugar flavor and brown sugar-to-milk tea ratio. “It’s definitely there, said Gwen I., referring to the brown sugar flavor. “Also the milk and the tea. I like the fact that you can taste the brown sugar first and then the milk in the middle, and then you have the aftertaste of the tea,” she added.

Bella J. also thought this drink had the best proportions of the bunch, saying: “There’s definitely more brown sugar than the actual milk tea. Compared to the others though, it’s the closest to being balanced.”

As a whole, the drink was to all of the judges’ liking, with everyone saying that they would buy it again with their own money (though they would get it in the regular size because they found it pretty sweet!)

Gong Cha can be found at these locations.

Milk Tea #5: Moonleaf’s Tiger Moon

Moonleaf’s Tiger Moon (₱140 for the large cup)

Criteria Roegan T. Gwen I. Bella J. Average Score
Brown Sugar Flavor 2.5 3 3 2.83
Brown Sugar-to-Milk Tea Ratio 3 2 3.5 2.83
Overall Flavor of Drink 3 3 3 3
Value for Money 2.5 3 2.5 2.67

Moonleaf’s drink left all the judges puzzled because of its peculiar flavor, explaining the low scores that were given to it. “It’s like a caramel milk tea. You can’t really taste the brown sugar. Its sweetness is entirely different from brown sugar. It doesn’t taste bad but after tasting 4 other milk teas, it tastes different,” said Gwen I.

Bella J. supported Gwen I.’s statement by saying: “I got confused. The sugar in the other drinks tastes the same but this one tastes like caramel popcorn. It’s like Chef Tony’s popcorn soaked in water. But I appreciate the fact that it’s there instead of just getting plain milk tea.”

Roegan T. had his own issues with the drink, adding: “It’s like a caramel frappe. I’m not a big fan. The pearls are raw and stiff. It’s not an enjoyable drink. This is the sweetest.”

Moonleaf can be found at these locations.

Let’s wrap up this sugar fest, shall we?

Criteria Yi Fang Happy Lemon Serenitea Gong Cha Moonleaf
Brown Sugar Flavor 4.17 2.83 4.83 4.83 2.83
Brown Sugar-to-Milk Tea Ratio 3.33 2.83 4.17 4.33 2.83
Overall Flavor of Drink 3.33 3.17 4 4.33 3
Value for Money 3.17 3.83 3.83 4.5 2.67
TOTAL SCORE 14 / 20 12.66 / 20 16.83 / 20 17.99 / 20 11.33 / 20

Coming in at last place is Moonleaf with 11.33 points. Don’t get us wrong–it’s a delicious drink! It just doesn’t taste like brown sugar which is kind of the point of this whole thing.

Happy Lemon lands at 4th place with 12.66 points. Again, an enjoyable drink but it didn’t quite give the judges enough of a brown sugar flavor.

The 3rd place finisher is Yi Fang with 14 points. This drink definitely came through with its brown sugar flavor! The judges barely tasted any milk tea in there though.

Serenitea bags the 2nd spot, finishing with 16.83 points. The muscovado sugar they used for their drink totally won the judges over!

Aaaaand Gong Cha has done it again! Garnering a total of 17.99 points, they’re the winner of the looloo Brown Sugar Milk Tea Blind Taste Test! Nope, we’re not sponsored by Gong Cha or anything (we wish). They’ve just been really killing the milk tea game!
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About Author

Denise Jose

Denise is a recovering food addict. She distracts herself with photography and keeps off the pounds by doing pilates. She is still struggling, however, and has occasional relapses. Her food comas are mostly induced by oily burgers and chocolate desserts.