These Pinays Reveal How Much Money They Spend On Milk Tea

How does milk tea factor into your budget?
PHOTO: (LEFT) Courtesy of Karishma, (RIGHT) istockphoto

It seems like every month, there's a new milk tea shop to be tried. With so many more to open soon around the metro, it got us thinking: How much do people love milk tea? Do they line up for hours and find a new favorite each time? And more importantly, how much money do people spend on milk tea? Six girls give us a breakdown of their milk tea habits. 

Mixi


Think back: When was the first time you had milk tea? Describe your experience.
My first milk tea experience happened in college. My mom bought me one from a store near my school. I don't like teas in general so at first I thought, "What the hell is a milk + tea combo?!" But surprise, I liked it!

What's your favorite milk tea? Describe your typical order.
I recently went to Taiwan, and brown sugar milk tea is currently "in" there. So now, I'm in search for the best brown sugar milk tea in the Philippines! So far, Serenitea Holly’s Milk at 75 percent sugar level is the best for me. I have yet to try other brands, though.

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Courtesy of Mixi Ignacio

In a week, how often do you have milk tea? How much do you usually spend?
When I was in Taiwan, I basically overdosed myself with milk tea. I had milk tea three times a day. Ever since I came back to the Philippines, I've been craving milk tea every day. I've been drinking milk tea three times a week. One day, I was surprised to find different kinds of milk tea on my desk, haha. Serenitea's milk tea is priced at P180 (with a delivery charge of P40). So that's P540.

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How about in a month?
This month I may have been intense. The grand total is P2,400.

How does your milk tea habit affect your income, if at all?
My weekly budget is usually P2,000. Now I spend more, and a big portion of it is dedicated to milk tea purchases. Is that bad? Somebody tell me!!!

Lou


Think back: When was the first time you had milk tea? Describe your experience.

I was in second year high school (2009) when I first had milk tea. Chatime at Pioneer Center seemed to be a popular hangout after class, so I checked the place one afternoon to see what the ~hype~ was about. My first drink was a regular Chatime Pearl Milk Tea — normal ice and normal sugar level. I remember enjoying every sip and wanting more. The creamy taste of the milk tea paired with the sweet and chewy pearls just went well together.

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What's your favorite milk tea? Describe your typical order.
This is a really difficult question because I love milk tea SO MUCH. But if I had to choose, my favorite would be the Hokkaido Milk Tea from Serenitea. It's got that rich, creamy, toffee, caramel flavor that I love. When it comes to taste, I like my milk tea sweet and my pearls chewy AF. I almost never adjust the sugar level and I always get an extra serving of pearls. The more, the merrier. Sinkers are a must for me! Pearls are top priority, but I don't mind having nata, crystals, or pudding, too.

Courtesy of Louise Ferrer
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In a week, how often do you have milk tea? How much do you usually spend?
I usually drink milk tea once or twice a week. From experience, the classic milk tea drinks that I order are usually priced around P80 to P100, while the more premium drinks (those with more flavor) like Coffee, Taro, and Wintermelon are priced a little over P100. My budget is around P120 to P150 per drink. TBH, it used to be P100, but since I have a slight addiction to pearls, I always end up asking for more, so there's the additional charge of P10 or P15 for extra pearls.

How about in a month?
In a month, I spend more or less P1,000 for milk tea.

How does your milk tea habit affect your income, if at all?
Although drinking milk tea has become a habit of mine, I wouldn't consider it as something that will take over my life, let alone affect my expenses. I don't really allocate a portion of my income for milk tea specifically. When I budget my income, I set aside a portion for "eating and drinking out," and it just so happens that I usually spend on milk tea.

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Andie


Think back: When was the first time you had milk tea? 
Describe your experience. 
My best friend introduced me to the milk tea craze in 2010. Serenitea had just recently opened a stall in our go-to mall, so I chose to trust her recommendation and got the same drink (Okinawa with pearls, 25 percent sugar level). I was pleasantly surprised by the smooth yet creamy flavor of the milk tea. I don't like strong tea flavors, but I'm also not a fan of anything that's too sweet, so the 25 percent sugar level was the perfect balance. Since then, milk tea been my favorite "sweet treat" on mall trips, especially during the summertime!

What's your favorite milk tea? Describe your typical order. 
Sorry, Serenitea, but first loves can die. Ever since I started working for Cosmo, I've become a huge fan of Gong Cha's Original Milk Tea with pearls. Aside from the price (P85 for a medium compared to Serenitea's P100), I prefer the flavor of their black tea—and the pearls are chewier!

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Courtesy of Andie Estella

In a week, how often do you have milk tea? How much do you usually spend? 
I'd say I get milk tea once or twice a week. Once during the work week, and once during the weekends when my family and I go to the mall. I spend between P85 to P100 for my order, since I get the basics with no extra add-ons (I find the pearls to be enough, I'd need more tea to finish an extra serving!)

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How about in a month? 
In a month, I'd say around 10 times? In total that would be around P1,000.

How does your milk tea habit affect your income, if at all?
I use Spendee, a money manager app, so I can see exactly how much I spend on all my purchases. Although my milk tea habit isn't as bad as my high school Starbucks habit (I'd get a frappucino *every* weekend, and that added up, even with the complimentary drink after earning 12 stars), that P1,000 can be used for more necessary expenses like paying for my internet or phone bill.

Karishma


Think back: When was the first time you had milk tea? Describe your experience.
The first milk tea I had was from Tokyo Bubble Tea. I remember my sister telling me that it was really good, and a lot of people were trying it. I was skeptical at first, because I've always thought that tea was bitter and unpleasant, but I ended up being obsessed with milk tea!

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What's your favorite milk tea? Describe your typical order.
Over time, I've come to enjoy the taste of tea, so I usually order Roasted Milk Tea with pearls. I have it with zero percent sugar just to get that extra bitter taste.

Courtesy of Karishma

In a week, how often do you have milk tea? How much do you usually spend?
Lately, I've been having it once a week. I'm using stress as an excuse to buy milk tea, lol. I usually spend around P100 to P120, depending where I buy it from, the flavor, and additional add-ons.

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How about in a month?
So assuming that's four times a month, I spend P400 to P480 just for milk tea. OMG. 

How does your milk tea habit affect your income, if at all?
It's doesn't affect my income that much since it’s still part of my allotted budget for food + drinks.

Paulina


Think back: When was the first time you had milk tea? Describe your experience.
If you're talking about the milk tea that people are going crazy over now, then I first had it around the time Happy Lemon opened here in the Philippines. I remember ordering the Oreo Milk Tea because it seemed like an interesting concept. It was good naman!

What's your favorite milk tea? Describe your typical order.
I usually go for more traditional flavors like Black Milk Tea, but recently, I've been ordering more brown sugar drinks because of the one I had at Chen San Ding in Taipei. Their pearls are cooked in brown sugar until they're melt-in-your-mouth soft, which I really love because I don't like it when pearls are hard and chewy. I'd say Yi Fang's is a good alternative, so I'm gonna name that my current favorite. But if you're asking me what my favorite drink served in milk tea shops is, then it would have to be Yakult green tea.

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Courtesy of Paulina

In a week, how often do you have milk tea? How much do you usually spend?
I don't have milk tea very often, so once a week is a good estimate. I probably spend P150 max per week on milk tea.

How about in a month?
Thrice a month? I spend P500 or less on it per month.

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How does your milk tea habit affect your income, if at all?
I don't think my milk tea consumption really affects my income though! But if I were to think of something better to spend P6,000 a year on instead of milk tea, it would have to be my insurance. Or I'd use it to purchase stocks if I knew how to.

Twila


Think back: When was the first time you had milk tea? Describe your experience.
I think my first milk tea experience dates back to 2012. A co-worker of mine treated us to Serenitea after a long day of work, and it was basically life-changing.

What's your favorite milk tea? Describe your typical order.
I love Wintermelon milk teas but most days, I go for anything on the menu that has lychee in it. It varies from store to store, but I usually order Lychee Fruit Tea with either pearls, nata de coco, or aloe vera sinkers.

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In a week, how often do you have milk tea? How much do you usually spend?
I order milk tea at least twice a week. Not as often as coffee but definitely a staple every week. I spend a maximum of P120 per drink which is about P240 in a week.

How about in a month?
I haven't been drinking milk tea as much as coffee lately because I've gotten busier at work but if I compute my twice-a-week habit that would amount to P960.

How does your milk tea habit affect your income, if at all?
Because I'm a lot more dependent on coffee for productivity, it's the other way around for me. My income and budget affects my milk tea habit. If I have more than enough cash to spare, I'd certainly visit the nearby Chatime for merienda as often as I could. But if I have other things to prioritize like K-pop concerts or trips, milk tea is definitely the first off my list.

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