Colchester Milksha bubble tea bar behind the scenes look
So, when I was offered the chance to take an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how the Taiwanese bubble tea giant makes its drinks, I jumped at the chance.
As I entered the kitchen, I was immediately overwhelmed by the aromatic, fragment smell of four separate teas brewing whilst restaurant manager, Fu, worked efficiently tending to each brew.
Fu, 30, is the site’s manager and tea brewer, who oversees quality control. A very efficient worker, who can manage several large scale brews at once, Fu has overseen two venue openings.
After training in Taiwan last year, Fu helped to open the first Milksha site in London, as well as the new Colchester venue.
The Colchester site, Milksha’s UK headquarters and research and development lab, had four teas brewing: Ruhuna, Earl Grey, Oolong and Jasmine Green tea.
With green tea the most popular at the Colchester site, manager Fu estimates the branch brews around 21 litres of the refreshing beverage each day.
Each tea has a different brewing time, with the more delicate teas, such as green, needing less time to brew, compared to the more robust flavours, such as Earl Grey.
Fu explained each tea blend has been “tried and tested in Taiwan for decades”, with each blend responsibly sourced for quality.
After each tea has been brewed, Fu adds ice and mixes, chilling the boiling beverage down, whilst fervently stirring. Once each vat of tea is finished, it is good for up to three hours for best results.
I was then shown the process of how to make the site’s famous taro balls and milk pearls. The process begins by boiling the little purple balls in a vat of water.
Taro is a starchy, purple root vegetable cultivated across Asia, which gives each sip a pleasant and chewy surprise. Apparently, it is the customer favourite at the Colchester site is the honey pearls.
I watched as Fu used an enormous wooden paddle to stir the bubbling galaxy of purple planets, bringing them to the centre to ensure they don’t stick to the side.
He offers me a go at mixing, which I attempt, at a far less efficient speed than the skilled quality control manager.
Once the taro balls have boiled for 15 minutes, Fu then mixes a sugar syrup solution, which he soaks the balls in, adding to their morish taste.
Fu then drains the mountain of purple spheres, before swirling them around in an enormous colander to ensure all the excess liquid is drained off, so they can be served to the thirsty customers.
Speaking on the venue’s opening, Fu explained the site has enjoyed steady business.
He said: “It has been pretty good so far. We enjoyed a massive opening and a steady student buzz since then.
“We are looking towards the busy summer months now, hopefully, more people will visit and try our refreshing drinks.
“We have also just released a new line of drinks, collaborating with Yakult, which we would like to welcome people to try.
“For every two drinks purchased, customers can enjoy a free, limited edition tote bag.”
Milksha is open five days a week on Head Street, in the city centre.