Tea and Coffee Lovers Unite at Macao Imperial Tea
They have really pretty sodas too!
Macao Imperial Tea
780 Banawe Street, Quezon City
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m.
(SPOT.ph) In the same way that some folks prefer dogs over cats, some also like tea more than coffee. It isn’t so bad, until you find yourself the only tea-drinker in your group of coffee lovers. But what if you didn’t have to choose between having your favorite beverage and hanging out with your coffee-loving friends? Macao Imperial Tea is one of the newest global tea brands to come to the Philippines, but they are more than just milk tea.
“For me, it’s a place for all tea lovers and for all coffee lovers,” says Avin Ong, who is one of the franchisers of Macao Imperial Tea. “We don’t just offer one type of drink. Dito kasi sa Pilipinas you would usually see coffee shops, tea shops or milk tea shops, but here in Macao Imperial Tea, we have everything for you.”
Avin is a self-confessed coffee lover, and he shares that Macao Imperial Tea’s first Philippine branch is a combination of all the things he loves from his favorite cafés. “We made sure that there are a lot of sockets,” he shares, “And we’re going to provide WiFi connection and snacks so you can stay the whole day if you want.”
But the space, Avin shares, is just the way Macao Imperial Tea branches look all over the world (currently, the brand has around 200 branches worldwide). “If you go to Macao Imperial Tea branches all over the world, you’ll see the bricks look like this talaga,” says Avin, pointing to a set of red bricks arranged with deliberate randomness. The bare concrete walls coupled with wood shelves and plush couches make the café feel rugged but also cozy. “This is the look na gusto talaga nilang ipalabas,” Avin shares. Still, Avin and the rest of the team added their own unique touches to the café’s signature look, like corkboards filled with postcards, and sticky notes and markers for customers to leave their own messages on the walls.
The menu is mostly similar to the one in Macau, but with little additions to make it uniquely Filipino. For one, the coffee selection was expanded to include classics like Americano (P130/14oz hot, P130/16oz iced, P145/24oz iced) and Cappuccino (P140/14oz hot, P140/16oz iced, P155/24oz iced) as well as an entire line of Mpresso or espresso-based drinks. “In Macau, their coffee series is di ganoong ka-wide,” says Avin. “Pero here in the Philippines, everyone loves coffee. After lunch, after dinner, they want a cup of coffee. So yung Coffee Series is something na ayaw namin ma-miss out.”
For You and For Me
If there’s one coffee drink you shouldn’t miss, it’s For You (P195), which is Macao Imperial Tea’s version of an iced caramel macchiato. It’s milky and has just the right amount of sweetness, but perhaps the best part is the container it comes in—an adorable and, not to mention, reusable tumbler that comes with cute mouse ears. While it can be ordered by itself, it’s actually usually ordered with the matching For Me (P195), which is iced strawberry milk.
Cream Cheese Series
Cream Cheese Milk Tea
Cream Cheese Uji Matcha
Cream Cheese Cocoa
Cream Cheese White Peach Oolong Tea
But of course, while Macao Imperial Tea offers a wide selection for coffee lovers, milk tea is still the star in this café. Avin shares that they particularly pride themselves in their Cream Cheese series, which is perfect for those who like their drink a richer and frothier. Macao Imperial Tea’s Cream Cheese Milk Tea (P120) isn’t overly sweet, letting the natural slightly floral flavor of the tea shine (they use jasmine tea). If you enjoy the stronger earthy-yet-sweet flavor of matcha, Cream Cheese Uji Matcha (P130) is a must-try. Tasting like chocolate milk, Cream Cheese Cocoa (P120) is perfect for chocoholics and those who enjoy the nostalgic comfort a good chocolate drink brings, while those who like their tea fruity and summery will enjoy Cream Cheese White Peach Oolong Tea (P120).
Kitten Milk Tea
Macao Imperial Tea also offers warm drinks. The Kitten Milk Tea (P130) is their original milk tea served hot, and with a marshmallow shaped like a kitten’s paw on top—the over-all effect feels like a warm hug. Extra soothing is the Ginger Milk Tea (P195), the spiced notes of the ginger a great help if your throat needs some TLC.
Blue Curacao Soda and Over the Rainbow Soda
Staying true to their word that they have all kinds of drinks, Macao Imperial Tea also offers sodas they make in-house with their own syrups, and they’re the most picture-perfect drinks of the bunch. Strawberry and lemon syrup not only give Over the Rainbow Soda (P145) a sweet candy-like flavor but also a super pretty gradient that we can already forsee taking over your Instagram feed. The bright Blue Curacao (P145), on the other hand, has a strong zest that’s just refreshing in warm and humid Philippine weather.
Macao Imperial Tea neatly solves the problem of choosing between tea or coffee (or even soda)—why choose when you and your friends can have all three in one convenient place? Plus, soon they’ll also be offering snacks—a Philippine exclusive—and while we can’t reveal specifics yet (though we’ll give you a hint: There’s Taiwanese sausage and chicken chops involved), we can tell you that what they have planned will surely keep you coming back.
Photos by Vincent Coscolluela