Thirty-six kilos. That’s how many honey pearls Brisbane’s new bubble tea store Milksha went through each day in its opening week. The Taiwan-born brand (a spin-off of bubble tea chain Milkshop) opened its first Australian store in Melbourne in 2019 and expanded into Brisbane in early April, bringing its signature milk teas to Albert Street.
Milksha Australia’s director Sheng-Chieh (Jeffrey) Lin tells Broadsheet the buzz so far has been “beyond expectations”. The brand, founded by a third-generation dairy farmer from southern Taiwan, now has more than 200 stores around the world. Its hook? Using local cow’s milk instead of powdered. Melbourne’s stores use milk from St David Dairy in Victoria; in Brisbane, the milk is supplied by Maleny Dairies.
“Most of our products are [made] with full-cream fresh milk, which is why we have to pick a good quality milk,” Lin says. “It brings out the creamy, rich flavours [of the tea].”
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Jasmine tea, oolong and Earl Grey (among other flavours) are shipped from Taiwan; customers choose which brew they want in their order, as well as how much sugar and ice. The taro milk, Valrhona cocoa and Earl Grey latte varieties have become fast favourites in the Brisbane store, often with the addition of the brand’s signature honey pearls – tapioca pearls steeped in honey rather than the brown sugar used by most bubble tea shops.
Non-dairy alternatives come with soy milk or as fruity teas like orange and mango puree green teas. There’s also a range of cold coffees made with St Ali cold brew.
The brand is working towards becoming a more eco-friendly business by using paper bags and biodegradable bamboo fibre straws that don’t get soggy and break – highly important when slurping up the chewy tapioca pearls. “Right from the beginning we wanted to do the right thing,” Lin says of the focus on sustainability, which has been a part of the business since expanding to Australia.
He says the Brisbane store’s fun fit-out is a step up from its predecessors, and reflects the brand’s pursuit of quality cow’s milk with bright greens, crisp lines and grass-like features.
2/115 Albert Street, Brisbane
Sun to Thu 11am–8pm
Fri & Sat 11am–9.30pm