One has to be specific with the names right to get the order right. Quickly and Come Buy call it bubble milk tea while Chatime calls it pearl milk tea. The very first bubble tea franchise, if I remember correctly, that captured the palate of milk tea lovers was Quickly. It was cool and smooth on the tongue with each sip and bite of the sago (the gelatinous ball). Then the novelty eventually wore off. Quickly is still around but its market has shrunk compared to the new milk tea store that has overtaken Quicky’s lead in the milk tea race. Chatime, admittedly a favourite of mine, is enjoying its lead with its sheer volume of milk tea drinkers. Then the unthinkable happened. The outlet I’ve been visiting, Chatime at Metropolitan Mall in Bekasi,  had been running out of key milk tea items, at first, like sago (Chatime calls it pearl) and coffee jelly bits, two are my favourite ingredients.  I learnt that it was a perennial problem that lasted for weeks, which eventually was resolved until a new problem cropped up.  Now, the two outlets I frequent, including the one at Kota Kasablanka Mall, have taken to posting Out of Stock signs at the cashier. This time the milk tea has ran out. If Indonesia was like Singapore in size, it wouldn’t be taxing to go around the island for my milk tea fix, but it’s not.

Bubble milk tea without sugar - my anytime pick-me-up drink.

Bubble milk tea without sugar – my anytime pick-me-up drink.

Comes Come Buy, the latest milk tea seller to set up in Indonesia. I stumbled upon this bubble milk tea store at Kota Kasablanka some time back, tried it, but traipsed back to Chatime. Disappointed with Chatime I turned to it again – the service was faster due to lack of zigzagging queues and no Out of Stock sign up.

Prices are competitive too – Rp20,000 at Quickly, Rp21,000 at Chatime (it becomes Rp24,000 for extra sago, rainbow jelly or coffee jelly) and Rp19,000 at Come Buy.

Verdict: Come Buy is good alternative to Chatime especially because of the sugar level is much lower than Chatime. While the sugar content of Chatime’s pearl milk tea goes down considerably when I specify no sugar, there’s still a hint of sweetness unlike Come Buy’s version, sago and all. Quickly, on the other hand, seems adulterated. It’s too thin and watery for milk tea.

Now, drink up!


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