Now, Chatime might not seem like the most appropriate outlet to review at the moment. After all, it's already a global phenomenon by "milk tea chain" standards, and the Milk Tea Craze in the Philippines has long since fizzled out. Still, judging by the number of people who flock to its 30+ branches all over Metro Manila, it'll take a long time before the iconic Milk Tea completely vanishes from Filipino pop culture. Also, Chatime has no less than THREE limited edition products out for Christmas 2015, so that's worth mentioning too.
Anyway, on to the review!
Since this is, after all, a blog about Makati, it's only natural we review an outlet based in that city. Specifically, we'll discuss the branch in Cash and Carry Mall, which we've also reviewed before. As of this writing, Chatime's other Makati branches are in Landmark Mall, Alphaland Southgate Mall, Century City Mall and Valero. However, as Cash and Carry is (in this writer's opinion) one of the most underrated places to visit in Makati, we decided to focus on that branch in particular.
Unlike many Chatime branches, Cash and Carry's is in an open area near the entrance facing South Superhighway (a.k.a. "Osmeña Highway"). That's a pretty strategic location, considering how exhausted shoppers can just put their bags down, relax and enjoy a quick sip before heading home!
The outlet itself, however, is a different story. There were more than a handful of flies swarming around the chairs, which ruins the teahouse experience somewhat. Granted, they did have personnel assigned to clean up after customers, but they could still do a better job with sanitation.
Apart from that, the place is quite comfortable. You can even bring your laptop and surf the Internet via Wi-Fi while waiting for your order!
As mentioned earlier, Chatime has three new offerings specially made for Christmas: Choco Chip Cookie Milk Tea, Caramel Milk Tea and Crème Brulee Roasted Milk Tea. You can order them in regular or large sizes, with varying sugar levels, and with the topping of your choice.
Also, they come with one Deka Wafer Roll of your choice: Milk Vanilla, Cheese and Cheese, and Choco Nut. The best part is these wafer rolls are free!
The moment she sipped the milk tea, however, she can't help but feel a little disappointed. While the Crème Brulee isn't a "bad" flavor by any means, it's still a little too reminiscent of the usual milk tea fare. Perhaps it was too much to ask for something new?
Anyway, this writer still finished the whole thing. The pearls did take a little more time to consume, since they all settled at the bottom of the cup. Overall, the drink's flavor contrasted well with the crunchy sweet taste of the free Deka Choco Nut wafer roll.
For the most part, Chatime lives up to its international reputation. It's hard to say at this point, but it's probably one of the pioneers of the Milk Tea Craze in the country. In fact, this writer had a hard time finding a seat even in the relatively obscure Cash and Carry branch, because the outlet was almost full of customers! (Then again, maybe the scarcity of seats was a contributing factor too.)
Based on this writer's experience with the Cash and Carry branch, the overall rating is 4 out of 5 stars. The service is just as great as the food, but the staff could do a better job with upkeep. After all, it won't be fair for customers to form an impression of a global teahouse chain based on just one branch, right? So we won't do that in this review.
Instead, we'll say that Chatime should keep doing what it does best: producing quality milk tea for all types of palates (Filipino or otherwise). The café is by no means perfect, but it's still a good example of how a so-called "fad" business can survive long after the fad is gone.
Following mall hours, Chatime's Cash and Carry branch is open from 10 A.M. to 9 P.M. You can "Like" their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/chatimephilippines/.