It was about in the early 2000 when iced milk teas were introduced in the country. It became all the rage, with tapioca pearls of varying sizes to complement the numerous tea (and non-tea such as fruit-, chocolate- or coffee-based drinks) concoctions. Eventually, even the choices for sinkers expanded to include grass jelly, coffee jelly, and nata de coco. Filipinos loved iced milk teas (sometimes called bubble teas), owing perhaps to our love affair as well with the ubiquitous sago gulaman samalamig.
Competition sprouted left and right, and even imported names from Tokyo, Taiwan, and Hong Kong were setting up shop in every available corner. Longevity or staying power in the business then became the one true test to gauge a milk tea brand’s success.
Serenitea, a homegrown milk tea brand, is marking its 10th anniversary this year—a feat amid the ever-changing domestic consumption demand.
“When we introduced the milk tea concept back in 2008, most people were predominantly into coffee. And some people thought that tea was about tea bags dipped in hot water. We wanted to change that perception so we made sure that the taste of our milk tea suits the Filipino palate,” said Serenitea owner Juliet Chen.
Serenitea currently has 52 branches across the country, all company-owned. And while most of its branches are in Luzon, it has presence in Cebu, Bacolod, and Iloilo in Visayas and in Davao in Mindanao.
And as a way to give thanks to its loyal customers over the past decade, it has partnered with Carmen’s Best Ice Cream, a boutique ice cream company known for crafting the best flavors out of the freshest natural ingredients, to create two ice cream variants based on Serenitea’s bestsellers: Okinawa Milk Tea and Hokkaido Milk Tea. For emphasis, that’s a milk tea-flavored ice cream that will be used to add creaminess and flavor to your favorite milk tea. And these two ice cream flavors will be exclusively available in Serenitea branches only.
According to Chen, Serenitea teamed up with Carmen’s Best last year with the latter’s ube ice cream. “The ube-flavored milk tea with Carmen’s Best ice cream became one of our fastest moving products,” she said.
“But this is the first time we’re doing something this big, coming up with milk tea-inspired ice cream flavors in time for our 10th anniversary. We want our customers to have the best and come back to the best.”
“This commitment is what Serenitea and Carmen’s Best are known for — offering quality and innovative products because our customers deserve only the best.” Joyce Babe Panares
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