Bubble tea, anyone?
I’ve been a bubble tea enthusiast since the first generation of bubble tea stores - think Milk Girl, Quickly, and Cool Station - appeared in Singapore, and I couldn’t be any happier that the craze is still going strong. And although most of that generation of bubble tea stalls have since folded, there are mainstays like Gong Cha which are still seeing roaring business.
In a recent survey conducted by Influential Brands to gauge Singapore's top brands, Gong Cha emerged as a Top F&B Kiosk Brand. Having ridden the highs and lows to remain relevant in our everyday lives, it’s no surprise that they’ve joined the cafe craze with their latest venture: Royal Gong Cha.
You might have seen Royal Gong Cha at Bugis+, but they've recently opened an outlet in Jurong Point, and have an upcoming outlet scheduled to open at Harbourfront Cruise Centre on 1 November 2015. Here are 10 things you need to know about Gong Cha's sister brand: Royal Gong Cha.
1. Try exclusive Royal Gong Cha Matcha Smoothies, Lattes, and Brewed Teas
The matcha smoothie was a very unique drink. The brain freeze, coupled with the distinctive green tea flavour, was satisfying and memorable. It’s not something you can easily find in Singapore either - a surprising thing given how hot and hazy it is recently. Royal Gong Cha serves brewed teas with exotic-sounding names like ‘Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea’, and don’t forget their house lattes either, for a milky kick in your coffee.
All these drinks are exclusive to Royal Gong Cha outlets! Be ready to capture the look of amazement on your friends’ faces when they ask you in bewilderment where you got these fanciful drinks from.
2. All drinks served here are really, really, big
Their cold drinks are 700cc, and their hot drinks are 400cc. Just for comparison, a Venti drink in Starbucks contains only 473 cc. Yes, they are that big. Now you know where to go when you get REALLY thirsty.
3. Royal Gong Cha also has desserts!
Desserts here include this ridiculously sinful Chocolate Fudge Cake. Seriously, how much chocolate can you squeeze in one cake?
You can also order tea time sets from weekdays, at 2-6pm. Nothing like some posh high tea to spend a lazy afternoon with your friends. Is high tea a British or Taiwanese custom, you ask? Now, it’s a Singaporean custom. In one word: Globalisation.
4. Enjoy your Gong Cha in comfort
Because it wouldn't be Royal if you couldn't enjoy your drink and desserts in comfort. There are seats available at all Royal Gong Cha outlets, giving you the perfect excuse to take a break from the hustle of all the walking around. After all, tea is meant to be enjoyed in peace, right?
5. Each Royal Gong Cha outlet has its own unique decor
Gong Cha in Jurong Point. You can see the storesign if you look closely enough!
Royal Gong Cha at Jurong Point shares its space with Woo Ricebox, a Taiwanese bento cafe. Mall regulations don’t allow the store to have two shop names facing the main walkway, so Royal Gong Cha had to make do with their sign pointing to the side. And because of that, many people don’t realise it’s there. So share this article with your Westie friends and spread the word!
The original Royal Gong Cha at Bugis+.
We’ve also been to the Bugis+ outlet, and to describe it in a word, it's zen. The Jurong Point outlet, on the other hand, is family-friendly. And despite being smack in the middle of Jurong Point, the wide open area will be quite a magical place to have a cup of tea at night under the stars.
6. Make your own tea at home!
These dainty tea packets are only available at Royal Gong Cha outlets. Tea varieties available include ‘Five Grains Tea’ ($11.90 for 12 sachets) and ‘Currant Fruit Tea’ ($13.90 for 12 sachets).
Hosting a dinner party soon? Pop down to a Royal Gong Cha and impress your friends with some homemade tea from Royal Gong Cha! Note: You can’t find these exclusive tea varieties on the Gong Cha or Royal Gong Cha menu.
7. Tea that's been brewed MUST be served within 4 hours
This is to make sure Gong Cha customers get only the freshest tea. Quality control is strict at Gong Cha, and no compromises are allowed. Labels are placed on tea containers to indicate the time they were made. No wonder you'll never get tea that tastes like it was made yesterday!
8. Mix and match your favourite toppings
Okay, so this isn't exclusive to Royal Gong Cha, but it's great to see that Royal Gong Cha adopts the best of Gong Cha's practices such as allowing highly customizable drinks.
If you often waste a couple of minutes every day deciding which drink you’d like, we have some tips for you. The Gong Cha product manager recommended that milk teas go best with pudding jelly, fruit teas go best with ai-yu jelly, and the honey teas with aloe vera.
Some drinks also go well as they are, such as coffee drinks and smoothies. But what about Honey Milk Tea? It can be topped up with pudding jelly or aloe vera… or even both!
9. The newest Royal Gong Cha outlet just opened at the Singapore Cruise Centre!
Fancy a fancy drink on a fancy cruise? Soon, you’ll be able to get one - if you’re taking a ferry from the Singapore Cruise Centre at Harbourfront. We heard that the new outlet will also feature a new series of desserts, so be sure to check it out if you’re in the area!
10. Get great discounts for Gong Cha and Royal Gong Cha on LINE!
LINE is a messaging app that also allows free calls. It’s the most downloaded app in more than 52 countries, with more than 600 million users, and is slowly catching on in Singapore. LINE users get lots of great discounts and freebies with Gong Cha - in the past, they’ve given away free toppings, 1-for-1 deals, and even free drinks! They get snatched up real quick so you’ve gotta be fast.
Gong Cha's lasting appeal
From old favourites like Milk Tea with Pearls to new delights like Matcha Smoothies, Gong Cha finds ways to reinvent itself for every taste bud. My colleague Chris swears by their House Special Iced Coffee, and everyone in the TSL office has their own favourite. There's something lasting about Gong Cha, and we look forward to its continued growth in years to come.
About Gong Cha
Gong Cha aims to provide only the best quality tea and beverages, fit for an emperor, to its customers. They believe in offering natural, healthy, freshly brewed bubble milk tea and a host of other beverages with a refreshing taste. All their teas and beverages are brewed daily at all Gong Cha outlets. With customer satisfaction as their goal, Gong Cha offers refreshing beverages and services that leave customers both happy and healthy.
About Influential Brands
Influential Brands is a consumer insight driven awards programme which provides a platform for brands to celebrate their achievement; for consumers, businesses and stakeholders to recognise the brands’ efforts in arriving where they are today. The study conducted by Influential Brands is purely consumer driven and the Top Brands are selected by consumers through their perception and preference, demonstrating the level of impact and influence of the brands in each consumer’s life.
Influential Brands seeks to identify consumer preferences, their behaviours, values and to understand how the ever-changing environment affects consumer experience in the purchase journey. The programme is tailored to enrich the brands’ relationship with their consumers through ongoing meaningful conversations and engagement.
For more information, like and follow Influential Brands on Facebook for more updates!
This post is part of Influential Brands 2015, where we highlight the most influential brands in Singapore.