We tried Selftea, the Manila milk tea stand that prints drinks with customers’ selfies on top

Photo: Kaka Corral
Photo: Kaka Corral

Having a milk tea in hand has been second nature to Manileños whenever out and about on a hot day. We can’t help ourselves — it’s yummy, refreshing, and dare we say, addicting.

There are tons of milk tea stores in the metro, but none quite like Selftea, which, as its pun-ny name suggests, tops its drinks with a selfie of each customer. It’s not just a plastic lid, either — it’s edible. Customers can legitimately drink their faces off.

We recently visited the branch in Quezon City’s SM North EDSA mall, which opened in September. It’s a small stall, and does not have tables and chairs for its patrons, but was decked out in really bright lights and neon fittings to get the attention of passerby.

Photo: Kaka Corral
Photo: Kaka Corral

Apparently the process of “printing” a selfie onto the surface of a drink is a lot simpler than we’d assumed. Customers upload a photo from their phones to the stall’s computer, which is connected to a printer that contains edible ink.

The photo doesn’t even have to be a selfie. It can be a photo of friends, a pet, your celebrity crush — anything at all. Those who don’t have a photo on hand can also freestyle and take a photo on the spot.

Photo: Kaka Corral
Photo: Kaka Corral

When we did it, we experienced a minor hiccup because the stall’s phone was an Android, and our iPhone couldn’t send photos through Bluetooth. So, we ended up using their Android to snap a photo of the saved images on our phones.

A compromise in image quality was inevitable, we know — but, seeing as how we’re just gonna mess up the images by eating them soon, we were OK with that.

Photo: Kaka Corral
Wintermelon milk tea. Photo: Kaka Corral

Customers can order anything available on their iced milk tea and premium blended drinks menu.

Once the drink has been mixed, customers can take a look at how the printer works, which prints the edible ink on a layer of whipped cream.

Watching them even out the whipped cream using a spatula is satisfying AF. Might want to stick around to watch that part.

The whipped cream spread on top. Photo: Kaka Corral
The whipped cream spread on top. Photo: Kaka Corral

And voila, a selfie on a milk tea. In our case, our Coconuts coconut on a milk tea.

The edible Coconuts milk tea. Photo: Kaka Corral
The edible Coconuts branded milk tea. Photo: Kaka Corral

Those who are in a rush need not worry, because the selfie milk tea’s longevity game is strong — it won’t break while on the go. It will, however, lose its form as soon as it’s sipped.

Here are our printed drinks, the Oreology (PHP90/US$1.71 for 16oz) and the iced Wintermelon (PHP85/US$1.62/22oz) milk tea.

Not too shabby. Photo: Kaka Corral
L-R: The Oreology and the Wintermelon milk tea. Photo: Kaka Corral

The Oreology drink was delicious — the blend of the chocolate and the cream, and the sweetness levels, were just right. The taste of Oreo was consistent throughout. The only downside was that they only offer one size (160z) for their premium blended milk teas, and we wanted more than that.

Winter melon milk tea is a classic — unfortunately, the shop ran out of pearls, pudding, and coconut jelly when we were there, but we found that the drink could stand on its own.

It was creamy with just the right amount of sweetness.

The aftermath. Photo: Kaka Corral
The aftermath. Photo: Kaka Corral

We never thought getting our faces printed on milk tea would be something we’d be into, but once we tried it, we found ourselves enjoying the experience a lot. It’s nice that it’s pretty affordable too. Prices on all drinks on the menu range from PHP65 (US$1.24) to PHP100 (US$1.90) each.

Selftea opened its first branch in September 2017 in Biñan, Laguna. The brand now has over 15 mall branches all over Luzon. It opened its first branch in Metro Manila in April in Festival Mall in Muntinlupa City, then in October in SM Manila.

The Selftea Lab is at the U/G floor of SM North Annex, Quezon City
Open Monday to Sunday, 10AM10PM
Phone: +63 9177951915

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