For the record, I am a coffee person. I’d like a cup in the morning to clear out the cobwebs in my head and help me decide what to wear; I’d take another cup in the afternoon to sustain my energy all throughout the day.
I thought the entire world worships coffee the way I do. I’m not surprised that designer coffees are the status quo. Then one day, I started noticing these cute milk or “commercial” tea shops. I drink tea when I’m dieting or right after a massage. But tea on a regular day seems unorthodox for me, especially thinking about Filipinos’ appetite for coffee.
For a time I thought, people became British citizen; everyone’s having a tea (maybe Chinese?). Milk teas and specialty drink-derivatives thereof are the craze now, the way it was with pearl shakes and its early predecessors (well, prolly not), the ISKRAMBOL!
A tea shop sprouted on our office building earlier last year. I see a lot of people carrying their “cold, fancy” tea around, at any given hour. I’d usually walk all the way to the opposite side of our building just to get my caffeine fix. Why would I want a relaxing tea in the middle of my hectic day? I don’t want to doze off in the middle of a meeting! I held an opinion that people are just curious with these commercial teas and I wasn’t interested in joining their bandwagon.
One day, a friend asked me to buy her Wintermelon from the tea shop Tea Talk. Curious why she likes it when I know for a fact that she’s every bit of a coffee addict as me, I ordered one for myself too. The cold, light colored concoction is a stark difference from the hot black coffee that we usually have. At first sip, I found that that flavored tea was too sweet and very gentle for my taste buds. The soft tapioca pearls felt a little foreign to my mouth as they gracefully slid in. A little later, I noticed that our conversation over tea was slightly different, a little subdued and less high strung.
Fast forward to the following week, I found my self headed to Tea Talk for some Wintermelon — every afternoon! It’s become my mid-afternoon snack. I learned that it’s the best-selling flavor. I belatedly realized that Wintermelon is nowhere to be seen in the menu. I asked one of my colleagues and Tea Talk patron how come its popular despite its absence in the menu. Apparently, Wintermelon is a common flavor amongst these commercial tea shops. Even Chowking, a local Chinese-Filipino fast food chain, offers such drink this season (theirs tastes awful though).
I’m over the Wintermelon phase in my life. I’ve moved on to rock-salt-and-cheese mode now. I like the way the contrasting taste of saltiness and sweetness battle it out in my mouth. The liquified cheese is laid on top of the drink and they add a layer of sprinkled rock salt and cocoa (or dark cocoa). The cocoa flavor emerges as winner though as the entire drink is composed of that. I always opt to put tapioca pearls. I love having different textures and tastes in my mouth. This variant is way more filling than Wintermelon. And it gives you extra sugar rush. I remember gulping one on my way home from work and I had a hard time sleeping in.
I sometimes dream of Tea Talk. So in the morning, instead of heading out to my usual McDonald’s for a satisfying breakfast, I sometimes go to Tea Talk to satisfy my craving (deeply rooted in my subconcious).
I’ve hung out with a different sets of friends at Tea Talk instead of the usual Starbucks spot.
Yes, I’m still madly in love with my black coffee. I am still a coffee person. But now, I just have a gentler alternative to it.
Location: Upper Ground Floor Worldwide Corporate Center, Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City (this is their northern-most branch, most of their stores are in southern Metro Manila)
Contact: @teatalkcorner or facebook.com/teatalkcorner. They say they also deliver through 87878.
Date Visited: between January and Februay 2013, visited it a hundred times already