For those tea enthusiasts looking for a new adventure, look no further! 

Malaysian franchise Taste of Tea has found a second home at the Aman Hills Shop House, Sg Tilong with an even fresher look. 

Upon entering the cafe, your eyes are easily drawn to the wall of the old vintage bottle caps and the stripped-down look of exposed bricks gives off more of an industrial look, making the interior set up have an eclectic kind of mood. 

There is a pleasant ambience permeating throughout Taste of Tea; it is warm, welcoming  and coupled with the minimalistic vintage theme of the cafe, it is surprisingly a very ‘grammable’ place to be. 

It has become the perfect spot to hang out with friends or to do work, due to its relaxing atmosphere and comfortable seats.

Taste of Tea has been in operation since 2012 and is still relatively new to the bubble tea scene with a few locations in Miri, Limbang, Bintulu and now, Brunei Darussalam.

The Malaysian franchise initially opened early last year at its first location, Higher Point Complex in Kiulap, however, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the first owner had to shutter their doors.

Image: Fazizul Haqimie

“When we heard the current Brunei owner wanted to sell his franchise license, we decided to give it a try,” said the current co-owner of Taste of Tea Brunei, Ummi Hani Abdul Halim, who is running it with a business partner. 

“It is more of a learning curiosity. The bubble tea business seems to be expanding very quickly. We have been looking at options for franchises but all the start-up capital was not within our budget,” she added. 

Yet, their first interaction with the franchise was a game-changer, as both business partners were impressed by the quality and variety of Taste of Tea’s beverages. 

Image: Fazizul Haqimie

“We don’t drink bubble tea much, but when the owner made for us some drinks to try out before making our minds up, we actually really liked the distinct taste of tea,” she shared.

“It wasn’t just boba pearl, cheese and creamy tea, we actually liked the spread of choices that could cater to everyone’s taste buds. Be it the young or the elderly. The variety of choices actually won us over,” she added.

Despite the hopeful beginning, however, the initial journey was anything but smooth sailing as the challenge of opening an international franchise came down to importing the ingredients, said Ummi.  

Image: Fazizul Haqimie
Image: Fazizul Haqimie

Adding to COVID-19 restrictions, operations from the shipping of ingredients to training, got delayed, she added.  

Image: Fazizul Haqimie
Image: Fazizul Haqimie

“The main challenges are bringing in the ingredients. The ingredients come from Taiwan, then arrive in Miri, where our franchise master will allocate each branch their respective ingredients. Then it takes another few weeks to actually import the ingredients into Brunei,” she explained.

“Another challenge we had was the training. We did our training via Zoom as our franchise master was not able to come due to COVID. Fortunately, the previous management had already done a quality control check on the taste,” continued Ummi. 

They were also forced to improvise with what they had, while still maintaining the integrity of their beverages by making quality and freshness a top priority.

Image: Fazizul Haqimie

“We ensure the taste of their beverages are always of top quality and up to standard,” she said.

When asked about future plans for the franchise, Ummi said that they are eyeing extending its seasonal menu and expanding the brand in the country by opening more branches in the future.

Image: Fazizul Haqimie

What’s on the menu

The brand introduced 10 crowd-pleasing series in the local market namely; 

Regular Tea Series, Milk Tea Series, Health Series, Cheese Creamy Series, Smoothies Series, Hand Made Black Sugar Series, Dirty Milk Series, Soda Fresh Lemon Series, Fresh Fruit Tea Series and Dream Series.

Customers can expect to get their hands on the bestsellers, including their Belgium Chocolate Milk Tea, Rose Tea, Soda Blue, Rose Garden and so much more.

Image: Fazizul Haqimie

The franchise is popular for its seasonal Avocado Smoothie, the ultra-creamy and fulfilling drink that has the perfect texture to fuel your breakfast or for an afternoon drink.

Their Rose Tea also comes highly recommended by Taste of Tea regulars with its delicate floral notes of flavour without being perfumey. Overall, the drink is deliciously satisfying and refreshing.

Not only that, but the franchise also features a limited-edition menu, the fan-favorite Biscoff Milk Tea that features a generous amount of lotus biscuit crumbs and biscuit spread.

Image: Fazizul Haqimie

This article was first published on January 23, 2021 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 125

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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