Chatime vs Gong Cha vs Ochado: Pearl Milk Tea Battle

I’ve been a bubble tea fan since my university days a few years back.

Well recently, the bubble tea business came along in Malaysia – mainly Chatime and Gong Cha. With the emergence of these franchises, Malaysians seem to crave for bubble tea drink every now and then.

bubble tea pearl

What makes it special is undoubtedly the chewy balls made of tapioca starch, which we refer as “pearls”. It’s the reason why I drink it, but not often – no thanks to the price.

For just a cup that mainly consist of water and starch balls, it costs no less than RM5.90.

bubble tea price

To me, it’s significantly expensive. But most people don’t mind. “RM6 only mah!”, some would say. You rich lah, I know.

But did you realize with RM5.90, you can already get a bowl of tummy-filling Snowflake, the Taiwanese dessert, instead? At almost the similar price, a bowl of desserts is better than a cup of drink.

chatime queue

Just look at the queue at Chatime The Gardens Mall – it’s as long as Rapunzel’s golden hair. Possibly the trendiest casual drink in town, they could patiently queue and wait. But when queuing elsewhere, they bising and complain inefficient.

Anyway, with bubble tea stores sprouting like mushrooms, I can’t help but to wonder – which is the best? There are some noteworthy ones, but it boils down to the 3 main contenders – namely Chatime, Gong Cha and Ochado.

bubble tea battle

My mission was to visit Chatime SS2 Mall, Gong Cha The Gardens Mall and Ochado Tokyo Street Pavilion, order my usual Pearl Milk Tea (one of the “Best Seller” for all 3 franchises) and decide on the best one.

After all the struggles, difficulties, sweats and tears, it was a successful mission. By evaluating on the taste of the milk tea and the pearl, the conclusion was made and I’ll now reveal the highly-confidential results…

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At 3rd placing (also known as the last), Ochado Pearl Milk Tea.

ochado tokyo street

It taste okay, but definitely can’t oust Chatime and Gong Cha. The milk tea tastes ordinarily mild and the pearls are soft and sloppy – feels like chewing watery balls. From what I observed, the staff actually scooped the pearls from a large container of pearls soaked in syrup.

Perhaps that explains the terrible pearls.

ochado bubble tea

It’s not tantalizing and conclusively just average. At Ochado, the level of sugar can be chosen and I went with the recommended level.

Ken Wooi’s Recommendation: Please proceed reading for better ones.

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At 2nd placing, Gong Cha Pearl Milk Tea.

gong cha the gardens

One thing I surely love about Gong Cha’s milk tea is its aromatic flavor. It tastes like earl grey tea, fragrant and nourishing – like those you get from a classy teahouses.

However, if it isn’t because of the pearls, Gong Cha would have been the best. Their pearls, unfortunately, are stiff and starchy in the middle and aren’t perfectly chewy. They taste alright nonetheless, but the texture was the deciding factor.

gong cha bubble tea

As for drink preference, Gong Cha’s customers have the options to select the level of sugar and also the amount of ice.

Ken Wooi’s Recommendation: Pleasant aromatic milk tea.

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Finally, the champion is none other than Chatime Pearl Milk Tea.

chatime ss2 mall

Chatime’s Pearl Milk Tea scored better than Gong Cha all thanks to their perfectly-crafted pearls. The pearls are consistently chewy, smooth and have a delightful flavour in each bite.

Although it doesn’t stand out against Gong Cha’s aromatic flavour, their milk tea tastes typically good – almost like English breakfast tea.

Chatime doesn’t allow personal preference for ice and sugar level. Apparently, according to readers, you can pick the sugar level but the cashiers don’t normally ask. Nevertheless, their standardized allocation is good enough.

chatime bubble tea

From an overall point of taste, the Pearl Milk Tea from Chatime is the most satisfying drink. Definitely my personal favourite.

Therefore, with the best combination of conformable milk tea and delicate pearls, I hereby award Chatime the “Ken Wooi’s Best Pearl Milk Tea Award”! A thunderous round of applause! *applause*

Ken Wooi’s Recommendation: Need I say more?

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So yeah, despite the exorbitant price (okay maybe not, reasonable only for rich people), it’s occasionally nice to have a cup of bubble tea while strolling in the shopping malls.

shopping mall escalator

It’s a lot cheaper than Starbucks and you definitely don’t shop with a bowl of Snowflake in your hands.

*End of Report*

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Footer: This research costs me RM20.70 in total. So, who wanna buy me a bubble tea drink and earn the “Ken Wooi’s Most Generous Reader Award”?



50 Comments for Chatime vs Gong Cha vs Ochado: Pearl Milk Tea Battle

  1. but they all are still overpriced!!!

    • the price is still average..and they serve a good drink compare to Little Taiwan ..the drink is below average..

  2. I agree that buying a bowl of Snowflake is more worth it than spending it on a cup of Chatime, but once in a while it’s okay I guess. You should try Chatime roasted milk tea, I think it’s not bad too HEH

  3. u must try YOYO but only available in sabah. the best bubble tea ever!!!

  4. Luckily I am not into all these bubble and pearl milk teas. I still prefer Snowflake!! : )

  5. Nothing BEATS Snowflake!!! I can shop with SNOWFLAKE in my hands yo! hahahaha…

  6. I still prefer Gong Cha :D

  7. what about yippie cup and each a cup? lol

  8. haha.. nice one! just tried chatime original the other day. and to my surprise the taste is superb. so i sokong u-lah. Chatime peral milk tea is the best. but i never taste the other 2 though. but how about choc-blog? can find it in tesco…

  9. Chatime is my all time favourite! :)

  10. You can select the level of sugar at Chatime. It’s just that their cashiers don’t bother to ask.

  11. Only rich ppl can afford pearl milk tea XD

  12. i no like chatime, ochado so so only, i only go for wintermelon white pearl milk tea at gongcha… i still prefer snowflake! :D

  13. nice meh bubble tea?? not a big fan of bubble tea…
    rm6 for some tea of starch balls is expensive k

  14. Dont like to take much of bubble tea or ice.. That much sugar and only cost me FAT.. haha

  15. never buy this things here.. at Sabah,we normally call em YoYo.. there are 1 shop selling this bubble tea with pearl named yoyo.. so,afterward,all the same type of stall named yoyo.. ha ha ha.. we called the drinks itself as yoyo.. deng.. wanna try here at the Garden.. It only stay down there from my opis.. thanks.. wanna try now.. if U want si AKi to spend U,come here in 15 minute.. ha ha ha..

  16. A bowl of Snowflakes is now RM6.90, no?

    I never order the black pearls from Chatime or Gong Cha. I usually go for the herbal jelly aka cincau and Gong Cha’s cincau is better than Chatime.

    :D

  17. Cha Time is my current favorite.. gotta try Gong Cha when I find one! :P

  18. Tried Chatime milk tea yesterday and it had terrible effect on me i had sleepless night :-( too much caffeine?? i never had tea and coffee for ages and tried this tea yesterday.

  19. hehe i prefer gongcha ler! xD

  20. hahah I wrote a post on this as well, but I went a little bit more controversial by finding out whether pearl milk tea are HALAL or not.

  21. I’ve not tried the other two, but since they are no better than Chatime, don’t think I should waste my money trying out. Thanks!

  22. Walawei. Quite expensive leh. Poor people like me cannot afford. But once in a blue moon can lah. But now that you’ve done your surveyed, I’m so tempted to go get a taste. The Chattime cafe should pay you for this coz I’m sure you’ve just and gonna earn them a number of customers.

  23. all also overpriced….there are many other companies note-worthy as well…such as each-a-cup which i prefer over chatime and also the new sharetea in sungai wang n times square..i guess that’s the name…however, none can beat the pearl milk tea i had 8 years ago at Summit USJ which had now closed down…that time, that’s the only place i could find serving good bubble tea and sadly, not much ppl actually go for it due to its location..

  24. whoooaaa i like this post. But Ochada shouldn’t be in the list. SNOWFLAKES maybe. They got pearls also.

    Write an entry on top desserts among Malaysians bro. =)

  25. LOLx~ “Ken Wooi’s Most Generous Reader Award”? I guess the founder of Chatime would be willing to buy you a drink.. ^.^

  26. haha! i like chatime too! :)

  27. LOL…you are so easily to pleased ah? one cup of buble tea kau tim.

    Hope the Chatime boss sees this then give you a lifetime supply of bubble tea. Then you can belanja us also la.

  28. -.-” I couldn’t agree you more. I don’t get it why people queue for it! :/ got sooo nice meh?

  29. bubble milk tea in pasar malam is the cheapest one! :D so my advice is: Don’t drink bubble milk tea at Cha franchises like those~

  30. ZenQ got the biggest size of pearl milk tea but with super disappointing pearls that have super variation of shape, you can even find a flat pearl inside (did they still call them “pearl” when they are flat?). But they are so smart that they served it in opaque container, so you no see the pearls! :D

  31. looks nice indeed..
    is it halal ?

  32. There is a newly open 18°C in Ipoh, at Jalan Yang Kalsom or at the First Garden pasar malam there is the best ever. Because they used fresh ingredient and fresh milk for their tea and the price is cheaper compared to those in KL. And many new flavor choose from. Must try if you go back Ipoh..

  33. I like both Chatime and Gongcha but there’s usually such a long queue at Chatime that I didn’t bother and just go to Gongcha instead! :)

  34. Like this review..although i nvr try the other two..but im greatly addicted to chatime..chatime can choose ice level too..
    anyway, u seems to like snowflake..but i prefer UFO(ss2) than snowflake..maybe u can made a comparison thr too XD

  35. I LOVE chatime. Have yet to try Gongcha but will do so soon coz I’m curious if it’s as good as chatime or better :)

  36. lol. i still can remember my fren said the milk tea macam teh tarik only. =.= lol

  37. Maybe you should do a review on Taiwanese desserts :)
    There are lots in Ss15, SS2 and one more in Sunway Pyramid.. teehee

  38. I’m a big fan of bubble milk tea and a tea lover..jus my opinion..I think that ochado taste better than Chatime.. I had never tried gongcha before.so i got no comment for that..but some Chatime outlet brew lousy teas…It’s like…things always get worse when it is too ‘commercialize’/'overly franchise’. I had tried Ochado in Setapak….the tea taste good and soothing..probably it is still new.. at least I saw the tea being brewed out FRESH..chatime used to do that but as business gets better, the tea is being stored in a container..so tea isn’t that fresh anymore.

  39. You should try the Par Tea Time in ss15 subang. Above 3 listed can’t be compared with this.

  40. Chatime’s pearls are 4/5 layers tall
    kinda scary to me
    therefore i prefer ones with nata de coco or aloe cubes

  41. You should try the pearl milk tea in mr wish.. is really awesome so far no on can compare with this.. my personally point of view

  42. Something is wrong with this review. From my 4 cups per week on average milktea addiction in the last 6 months..

    I would say,

    1. Ochado – for the unique tea flavor
    2. ComeBuy – for strongest tea flavor, and cheapest pricetag
    3. GongCha – for the unique milk flavor
    4. Chatime – for giving u diluted tea with sugar!

    I have drink more than 40 cups from Chatime alone in various outlets to come to a conclusion that their has drop significantly since their 1st branch.

    One thing i do agree tho.. Snowflake is much more value-for-money compare to all these milktea..

  43. can anyone let me know any sites or articles that have bubble tea consumption details? chatime especially. Thank you!

  44. Agree with CK’s comment… As someone who has strong addiction for milk-tea, I would say no way that Chatime’s pearl milk-team comes on top. Yes, the pearls are slightly more chewy than Ochado and Gongcha (the latter actually prides itself for its white pearl, not normal pearl), but they simply don’t make up for the deteriorating quality of all the random branches set up.

    Nevertheless, going for the Roasted Milk Tea instead (and add pearl) in Chatime will help as it gives a better tea flavour than the usual milk tea.

  45. Do you know that some use powdered flavorings? Some of you might remember the best bubble teas were served by Little Taiwan (1Utama, e@Curve, Summit USJ, The Sphere, Alamanda, UOA Bangsar) or Taiwan Recipe (Midvalley near cinema, Pearl Point, IOI Mall, Sg Wang). They didn’t join the fight but you’d be surprised what you’ve been missing out when you take your first sip! Another hidden treasure I’ve discovered again

  46. Should try bubble tea from The bubble Tea Shop. Really fresh and the pearl are chewy also cost at RM4.00 only. Saw the prepare tea every 4hour.

    Small shop located at Taman Salak Selatan.

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