Gong Cha & Chatime

MerlinFan and I were dying of thirst after shopping this afternoon, so we decided to stop by for some bubble tea.  We love bubble (aka pearl) tea and have been drinking it for years.  Now there has been a surge of chain bubble tea spots popping up in recent years, so rather than going to our old trusty friend Lucky Cup, we decided to try two of the newer competitors, Gong Cha and Chatime.  

Both stores were founded in Taiwan and have hundreds of branches all over Asia yadda yadda yadda - I'm sure you just want to know if it's nice or not, so I'll save the snoozefest lecture (you can read more accurate info on their website).

Gong Cha
231 Swanston St, Melbourne 3000
Date visited: 30th March 2013

Stop one.  

The queue was long.  Interestingly, they had a list of Top 10 Best Sellers to guide you.  You could also choose your level of sweetness and ice.  

MerlinFan had a Royal Pearl Milk Tea with standard sweetness and ice. 

Royal pearl milk tea $4.70 
Both MerlinFan and I love chinese milk tea.  Although quite nice, MerlinFan felt it was really watery and could have been milkier.  The pearls were nicely done, however MerlinFan also commented that they were smaller than the average pearls.

Gong Cha on Urbanspoon
<a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/71/1721227/restaurant/CBD/Gong-Cha-Melbourne"><img alt="Gong Cha on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/link/1721227/biglink.gif" style="border:none;padding:0px;width:200px;height:146px" /></a>

77 Swanston St, Melbourne 3000
Date visited: 30th March 2013

There was a much shorter line in front of Chatime.  

Same as before, you could choose your level of sweetness and amount of ice - I chose standard.  I tried one of my favourite flavours, Lychee milk tea with pearl.

Lychee milk tea $4.50 add pearl $0.50
It smelt really good through the straw, so I took a sip expecting to be wowed.  I frowned, took another sip.  And I then offered it to MerlinFan to see what she thought of it.

As soon as MerlinFan took a sip, she turned to me and said "it tastes like vom."

She stole the words right out of my mouth.  There was just something not quite right about the way it tasted - the milk tea was quite watered down, and it was as though the lychee flavour wasn't strong enough or didn't quite blend with the tea, so it just came through as a sourish aftertaste, which was not pleasant.  The pearls on the bright side, were nicely done.

Verdict on Gong Cha and Chatime?

I don't know, man.  I guess it all comes down to personal preference and I'm not sure I can pass judgement on these two places based on one cup of bubble tea each, but as long as Lucky Cup is around, I'd return for my old favourites - and the lychee milk tea... minus the vom aftertaste.

Chatime on Urbanspoon
<a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/71/1605727/restaurant/CBD/Chatime-Melbourne"><img alt="Chatime on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/link/1605727/biglink.gif" style="border:none;padding:0px;width:200px;height:146px" /></a>


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