Move aside Chatime and Gongcha… This is a new era of bubble tea. So many new bubble tea shops have popped up all over Melbourne with their own take on this much loved drink. Bubble tea is huge overseas in Asia, and we first saw the famous Hey Tea when we were in Shanghai last year and witnessed just how popular beverages can get (some people queued for a whole hour just to order, and another half hour to receive it).
This year, we feel like Melbourne is finally catching up with more variety than before. There have been several different chains that have opened in the city in the past year or so, but for this post we decided to try out just two places we’ve been eyeing: Gotcha Fresh Tea and One Zo.
Gotcha Fresh Tea
Gotcha Fresh Tea recently opened on Elizabeth St and are advertised to farm their own tea. We unintentionally arrived before it opened at 12pm and were second in line (hence, the empty interior pic). This was a rather good mistake as it filled up with people and a long queue formed out the door mere seconds after we ordered our drinks. They only offer their top 20 drinks so we decided to try no. 1 – Black Sugar Fresh Milk ($6.40) and no. 18, the Gotcha Signature Fruit Tea ($7).
The service was friendly, the only downside we experienced was that we saw drinks at stand for a few minutes before our number was called. This is something to improve on, and it would be even better if soy was offered in lieu of regular milk. Also note that if you’re picky about your sugar levels, you can’t alter this with some drinks like the Signature Fruit Tea.
The shop was small but clean and pretty. And we just adore the interior design! The peachy pink accent wall tied in perfectly with the periwinkle seating area 😍. However, as the seating area is quite small it seems like it’s more used for people waiting for drinks than those actually sitting down to enjoy. If you wanna pop by for a drink, we suggest to come early (even 2 mins before opening will make a big difference) or be prepared to queue.
The Black Sugar drink (right) was pretty damn good. We read some nightmare reviews how it just tasted like overpriced Woolies milk ft. barely any black sugar, but luckily this wasn’t the case for us. The milk they used was super creamy and fresh, and there was just enough black sugar without the taste being overbearing. Some may say it’s too little boba for a drink this size but it was just the right amount for us (otherwise we’d burst out of our pants, no joke). The pearls were chewy, slightly sweet, and we can’t find a fault with this drink – it was quality. We would definitely order this again next time (pls… @ Gotcha if you see this… give us some soy options 😭😭😭).
Although we’re not too fond of fruity teas, the Signature Fruit Tea ( left) was surprisingly good. It had slices of strawberry, apple and orange in it – which probably served no purpose except to look pretty – and is topped with just the right amount of foam. We’ve never thought foam would pair so well with fresh tea. It adds a little creaminess to the tea and gives it a smooth texture. The tea itself wasn’t too sweet nor too bitter. It had the perfect balance of the subtle sweetness and flavour of fresh fruit, and the deep bitterness of the tea. We can definitely see ourselves ordering this again in the summertime for a quick refresher!
One Zo is a Taiwanese brand that specialises in tapioca pearls and hand makes them from scratch in Melbourne. The store definitely stand out with its 6 different pearl flavours like matcha ( where are our matcha lovers at!), buckwheat and caramel. Not only are the boba flavours interesting to try, but they make any drink look more elevated (especially the pink or purple). This definitely gives them an edge over other shops and we’ve heard this place can get really busy in Summer.
A good thing about One Zo is that they offer soy for free of charge. However, not every drink can be substituted for soy. When we ordered the Genmaicha milk tea, we were sadly informed that only the latte drinks can be made with soy milk. Nonetheless, this is still pretty good as there are quite a few latte drinks on the menu.
The interior was pretty as well, but we don’t recommend sitting in the shop in Winter unless you’re bundled up snuggly. The space is quiet small and can get cold pretty quick as the door is left open to welcome customers, so you do get the occasional Winter wind across your face #struggles.
After much deliberation, we decided to order the Honey Assammu Tea Latte ($6) and the Grapefruit Green Tea ($7.20)
The Honey Assammu Tea (left) was absolutely delicious, it had such a rich and smooth tea flavour! We added purple pearls to the drink, which tasted just like regular black pearls but made the drink look super pretty. We were a little disappointed as we couldn’t really taste much of the honey flavour at all – we could only guess that the sweetness of the drink was coming from the added honey. However, in general this was a really yummy drink which had a unique flavour from the Assammu tea used.
We ordered the Grapefruit Green Tea (right) with no ice, half sugar and white jade pearls. We could barely taste the sugar and the green tea flavour was really strong. But we like the bitter taste of tea so didn’t mind it. If you prefer something sweet, asking for full sugar might be better! The pearls had no flavour, just chewy goodness and made tea look like an orange gradient. The tea was a bit overpriced tbh, but it’s expected of a boba place in the CBD.
Gotcha is super good but very busy. It’s better to visit it a few weeks later when the opening hype dies down a bit more. Hopefully, they’ll offer soy in the future. The interior is gorgeous in Gotcha but if you’re looking to sit down with friends and have a chat, One Zo is more suitable since there are better seating and bigger tables.
One Zo drinks are also pretty good! The pearls instantly elevate the drinks even though they don’t taste any different (though this might not be the case for caramel and matcha). We definitely give them extra credit for providing soy – it’s rare to find a bubble tea place that offers soy for free and for more than one product. However, One Zo is quite expensive when compared to Chatime and Gongcha, so our budget friendly readers might need to keep this in mind!
What’s your favourite bubble tea flavour? We hope you enjoyed reading about our boba adventure. Until next time!
C & B ♡