Filipinos’ love affair with milk tea shows no signs of stopping, as another new brand called The Alley — It’s Time for Tea is about to open at SM Mall of Asia in Pasay later this spring, in May.
The Alley was founded in Taiwan in 2013 and its stores have quickly spread to other countries, such as Vietnam, Australia, and Hong Kong. It’s about to open in Coconuts sister city Singapore, too, at Jewel Changi (a new offshoot of Singapore’s international airport), in a few weeks’ time.
It’s being brought to sunny Manila by a company called AslanQuality Trading, fronted by the husband and wife team of Howell and Eunice Cua.
In a phone interview with Coconuts Manila, Eunice told us that they thought of bringing The Alley to the Philippines because the brand offers a slew of drink options that might be appealing to Manileños.
“While some brands are just known for their brown sugar milk tea or their cream cheese tea, The Alley offers several types of drinks that people will like,” she said in a mix of Filipino and English.
“It’s also similar to Starbucks that in the future, we will also sell food, making our place a bit like a cafe.”
The Alley founder, Chiu Mao-Ting from Taiwan, will also be in Manila for the store’s May opening (exact date TBD).
“There’s art in every drink he creates. And they taste good, too. He also keeps innovating The Alley’s products,” she said.
She said that, despite the abundance of competitors in this city, it still makes sense to sell a new milk tea brand here because Filipinos are just so passionate about it. “It’s no longer a trend, actually. People love to go to the mall and when they walk around, they like to chew on something.”
Milk tea, according to Eunice, is perfect to meet that need. “…Milk tea isn’t something people easily get tired of,” she said.
Manila is currently having a love affair with brown sugar milk tea, and The Alley takes care of that by selling their own version called Brown Sugar Deerioca series (PHP120-PHP140/US$2.27-2.65). People passionate about tea topped with cream cheese can try their Snow Velvet series (PHP120-PHP130/US$2.27-US$2.46), which includes their bestseller — a tea latte with brown sugar pearls topped with cheese foam.
Another must-try, according to Eunice, is the Aurora series (PHP180/US$3.41), which are refreshingly light tea-based drinks bottled in made-for-Instagram glass containers.
The tea leaves, as well as the other core ingredients for all drinks, are sourced from Taiwan.
While the Mall of Asia store hasn’t opened yet, Eunice says that The Alley team here in the Philippines is already planning to open future stores at O Square Two in San Juan, Podium Mall in Pasig, SM North EDSA in Quezon City, and SM Sta. Mesa in Manila.
Dates are not definite yet, but she said they’re all planned to launch later this year.
The Alley — It’s Time for Tea
Ground floor, SM Mall of Asia’s main mall,
Seaside Blvd., Pasay City, Metro Manila