Best Milk Tea in Taiwan + Kaohsiung Bubble Tea Shops

Two things are overflowing in Taiwan: the sea of scooters on the road and milk tea shops. I’m not kidding when I say there is at least one milk tea shop on every single block! After all, Taiwan is the birthplace of bubble tea. Righteously, Taiwanese are milk tea snobs. And just like  beef noodle soup, everyone has an opinion about which one is the best.

When you visit Taiwan, it’s almost mandatory to try as many milk tea as possible. Only then, you can decide your own best milk tea.

To assist you with your quest to find the best bubble tea in Kaohsiung, I’d like to introduce a few of my favorite local milk tea shops. This list also includes brown sugar bubble tea shops, which is a hot trend now in Taiwan (and other Asian countries), as well as Taiwan’s best milk tea brands with the Kaohsiung branch

Pro Tips: Milk tea has many different names – bubble tea, boba tea, pearl tea,  and tapioca tea. They all refer to the same drink. It is often accompanied by chewy tapioca balls, called boba or pearl(珍珠), in the drink.

UPDATE: 10/03/2019. The article was originally published in 2018.

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Best Milk Tea in Kaohsiung, Taiwan | The Famous, The Old & The New | www.chloestravelogue.com

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>> Before Your Arrival: Get inspired by my Kaohsiung Itinerary. Learn how you can use public transport in Kaohsiung.

>> For foodies, you will appreciate my updated list of Kaohsiung restaurants & bars only locals know. 

Brown Sugar Bubble Tea

Brown sugar bubbles in fresh milk cream are all the rages now. In this updated post, I’ll introduce and compare three popular brown sugar bubble tea shops in Kaohsiung. Each shop has its unique selling points, so if you can, try all three of them! 

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Best Milk Tea in Taiwan (Kaohsiung) | A local’s guide introduces famous milk tea in Taiwan + local Kaohsiung bubble tea shops + Brown Sugar Bubble Tea, which is a hot trend in Asia right now! | #Kaohsiung #Taiwan #Milk-tea #bubbletea #bobatea #pearltea #brownsugarbubbletea

Tiger Sugar Kaohsiung

Originated from Taichung – the birth city of bubble tea, Tiger Sugar (老虎堂) is currently one of the most hyped brands in the bubble tea industry. It has been expanding its footprint to Southeast Asia – including Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Kaohsiung also got one store, too. 

Dark brown sugar syrup is first poured along the side of a cup, then fresh milk cream (instead of regular milk or powder milk) is added. This process creates the brand’s iconic tiger stripes inside the cup, hence the name. 

While you cannot adjust the sugar level at Tiger Sugar, you can select the size of bubbles – between boba (波霸; large) and pearl (珍珠; small). (Although both boba and pearl usually refer to the same tapioca bubbles, Tiger Sugar decided to differentiate as such in their menu.) Once you decide on the bubble, you can choose your drink bases among fresh milk cream, black tea, green tea, or coffee. 

Although I do think Tiger Sugar’s brown sugar pearl milk is tasty, I cannot say I’m a big fan of this shop for the following two reasons: 1) I find their menu super confusing. Besides the inadequate English translation, two Taiwanese and I couldn’t figure out the differences among so many similar drinks in its Chinese-language menu. 2) To make things worse, the servers in the Kaohsiung branch were impatient and unworldly rude with no intention to help customers. 

Regardless, I am not doing justice if I exclude this brand in the best bubble tea in the Kaohsiung list because the drinks are, in fact, excellent. I will let you decide after you try it out yourself. 

Location: Open Google Map

Hours: 11 am – 10 pm 

Tel: 07-272-3522

Xing Fu Tang Kaohsiung

With the recent craze over brown sugar bubble tea, Xing Fu Tang (幸福堂) is here in Kaohsiung! Xing Fu Tang is a new bubble tea brand that already has more than 60 stores in Taiwan alone since its launch in 2018. 

It’s best known for its “stir-fried” Brown Sugar Pearl Milk (黑糖珍珠鮮奶; NT $55 for iced, NT $65 for hot). The bubbles are made in the traditional way and steeped in caramelized brown sugar. When you order your drink, you will get to see the server scoop the stir-fried brown sugar bubbles directly from a giant wok in display at the store. 

Besides the presentation, what separates Xing Fu Tang from other brown sugar bubble tea brands is the caramelizing process. After adding milk and cream on top of the drink, the server sprinkles brown sugar and torch it to caramelize the top. Who can resist the aroma of burnt sugar? 

While Brown Sugar Pearl Milk is my no.1 pick, Xing Fu Tang offers variations of brown sugar drinks – including Brown Sugar Pearl Milk Tea (黑糖珍珠農奶茶; black tea base), Brown Sugar Pearl Black Tea Latte (黑糖珍珠紅茶拿鐵) and Brown Sugar Pearl and Herbal Jelly Milk (黑糖珍珠仙草鮮奶). Strawberry Pearl Milk is also one of the brand’s popular drinks. 

Location: Xin Jue Jiang Location (Open Google Map); Sizihwan Location (Not on Google Map but next to Ok Mart); Ruifeng Night Market Location; Fengshan Location

Hours: 2 pm – 12 am (Sat. & Sun. 12 pm – 12 am); Check different hours at other locations.

Tel: 0908-971-068

Jen Ju Dan Kaohsiung

Jen Ju Dan (珍煮丹) is the latest addition to Kaohsiung. While Jen Ju Dan’s Brown Sugar Bubble Milk looks plain without the tiger stripes, it is my favorite because this is the only brand of its kind, letting me adjust the sugar level

Hey, I might be drinking brown sugar, but half the sugar, half the guilt! Even if you ask for the half sugar, you can still enjoy the strong brown sugar tastes in Jen Ju Dan’s bubbles. (I now go for 30% sugar.) 

The brand also lets you choose the ice level. My advice is to get less ice for the undiluted taste.

Other than its signature Brown Sugar Bubble Milk (黑糖珍珠鮮奶; NT $50 for M or NT $70 for L), Jen Ju Dan offers many unique brown sugar drinks that its competitors don’t provide. While taro milk, winter melon lemon tea or pudding milk are all common in Taiwan, Jen Ju Dan turns them into their specialty drinks by brilliantly adding brown sugar. 

There is also a range of tea lattes, matcha with red beans (宇治抹茶紅豆; NT $65 for M, NT $85 for L) and honey chrysanthemum tea with lemon (蜂蜜檸檬菊花茶; NT $50). Toppings like bubbles, red bean, pudding, coconut jelly, and grass jelly can be added to any of the drinks at an additional fee (NT $5-10 each).

Location: Jen Ju Dan is not on Google map. Here is the location.

Hours: 9 am – 10 pm (Fri. & Sat. Open until 11 pm.)

Tel: 07-221-0289

Pro Tips for Brown Sugar Bubble Tea Virgins

 

1. Make sure you stir well before sipping on the drink. I took this advice lightly and got a disappointing result. Your drink will taste much better after proper stirring (or shaking) as brown sugar will evenly dissipate.

2. I recommend brown sugar milk rather than the tea mix. Once you add tea, brown sugar flavors will be significantly diluted.

3. In Kaohsiung, head to the bubble tea hot spot in Xin Jue Jiang (near Kaohsiung MRT Central Park Station). All there brands introduced here are located on the same block along the Xin Tian road (新田路).

Classic Kaohsiung Milk Tea

Best Milk Tea in Kaohsiung, Taiwan | Classic Kaohsiung Bubble Tea: Shuang Fei #Kaohsiung #Taiwan #Milktea #bubbletea #bobatea #pearltea

Shuang Fei Milk Tea 

Shuang Fei Milk Tea (双妃奶茶) is probably the most famous locally-owned milk tea shop in Kaohsiung. This shop has its own unique system to prepare beverages. Black tea, green tea, and oolong tea are brewed and made in barrels. Then, they add fresh milk (instead of creamer) and boba to the customer’s liking. They don’t add ice to keep the flavor consistent. Each tea has four different menus based on the sweetness; you can choose from these menus to adjust your drink’s sugar level.

LocationGoogle Map

Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.  

Tel: 07-521-8300

Best Milk Tea in Kaohsiung, Taiwan | Classic Kaohsiung Bubble Tea: Lao Jiang Milk Tea (24 Hours) #Kaohsiung #Taiwan #Milktea #bubbletea #bobatea #pearltea

Lao Jiang Milk Tea 

Lao Jiang (老江紅茶牛奶) is the place for people who like an “old-school” milk tea. Since 1953, this place has been serving milk tea. For some locals, this is a nostalgic place from their youth.

What makes this shop even more special is that they are open for 24 hours and serve breakfast all day long, except for omelet only available until noon My favorite menu here is Omelet with Dried Pork Floss (肉鬆蛋餅), but other omelets and butter toast taste great. To keep the flavor consistent, this shop insists on its own milk tea recipe with a fixed amount of sugar and no ice.

Location: Multiple locations. One near MRT Formosa Station.

Hours: Open 24 hours.  

Tel: 07-287-7317

Best Milk Tea in Kaohsiung, Taiwan | Classic Kaohsiung Bubble Tea: Kaohsiung Milk King (24 Hours) #Kaohsiung #Taiwan #Milktea #bubbletea #bobatea #pearltea

Kaohsiung Milk King 

Since its establishment in 1966, Kaohsiung Milk King (高雄牛奶大王) has been a local staple. Papaya Milk is the best in town!

This shop uses fresh seasonal fruits instead of the frozen kind with flavored syrup. Once the fruit is out of the season, it is off the menu. But not to worry. The selections are extensive from papaya to mango to watermelon. If nothing at all, peanut milk is always “in season.”

Location: The original one near Central Park

Hours: 24 hours  

Tel: 07-282-3636

Famous Milk Tea in Taiwan

Best Milk Tea in Taiwan | Milk Shop Taiwan #Kaohsiung #Taiwan #Milktea #bubbletea #bobatea #pearltea #MilkShop

Image Credit (Drinks on the right): Milk Shop official website

Milk Shop 

With the green grass-theme interior, Milk Shop (迷客夏) has a fresh, healthy vibe. Milk Shop only uses fresh milk in all of its drinks, sourced directly from their own farm. Their specialty drinks, such as Taro Milk (大甲芋頭鮮奶) and Strawberry Milk (出雲抹茶鮮奶), are made with fresh ingredients and delicious! Milk tea here is tasty as well.

Location: Multiple locations. One near MRT Yan Cheng Pu station. 

Hours: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. (closes at 10:30 p.m. on Fri. & Sat.) 

Tel: 07-521-8860

Best Milk Tea in Taiwan | Chun Shui Tang Taiwan #Kaohsiung #Taiwan #Milktea #bubbletea #bobatea #pearltea #ChunShuiTang

Chun Shui Tang 

Originally from Taichung, Chun Shui Tang (春水堂) is the most famous milk tea shop brand in Taiwan. Many say this is the brand that first created the original boba. Their boba pride is so great that sometimes the staff refuses to serve the drinks without boba. 

Unlike many other take-out shops, table service is available, as well as snack foods. The store is always crowded with locals and tourists. It’s worthwhile to visit to experience its famous original Pearl Milk Tea (珍珠奶茶).

Location: Multiple Locations. One near MRT Culture Center station.

Hours: 10:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.  

Tel: 07-223-1436

Best Milk Tea in Taiwan | 50 Lan Taiwan #Kaohsiung #Taiwan #Milktea #bubbletea #bobatea #pearltea #50Lan

50 Lan (50)

50 Lan (50) is the largest milk tea chain in Taiwan and has 20+ stores in Kaohsiung. You can’t miss this shop. 50 Lan is like Starbucks here. It seems to pop up everywhere and can’t really go wrong. But if you appreciate more unique places, this might be too boring for you.

When you ask for milk tea, this shop serves the drink with creamer as default (奶茶奶精). If you prefer fresh milk, be sure to choose from their Tea Latte menu (拿鐵鮮奶). You can adjust sugar level to from no sugar at all to 30%, 50%, 70% or 100%, and ice level from no ice to regular amount.

Location: Multiple locations.

Hours: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.   

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Best Coffee Shops in Kaohsiung

Best Coffee in Kaohsiung, Taiwan | 3D Latte Art, Cat Cafe, Modern and Eclectic Cafes | www.chloestravelogue.com

Coffee Culture in Taiwan

Taiwan has a strong tea culture, and it is deeply integrated into the daily lives. Nevertheless, coffee is also a popular choice of drink.

In other cultures, people drink coffee for the caffeine boost in the morning. Interestingly, I noticed that not many coffee shops open in the early morning, especially in Kaohsiung. Maybe it’s a reflection of the laid-back southern lifestyle. But my theory is that Taiwanese go to a coffee shop to meet people during the day, rather than grab one on the go for the caffeine fix. It’s a good idea to check business hours before you hit the road.

Pro Tip: Typically, there is a minimum order per person and maximum time to stay at coffee shops in Taiwan. Some are more strict than others. Even for a group, everyone is expected to order a drink.

Gavagai Cafe

Gavagai Cafe is my new favorite cafe in Kaohsiung. And here’s why.

First, their coffee is excellent. Gavagai has a great selection of coffee beans and does in-house roasting. The aroma of coffee in this place is fantastic! The moment I saw the barista, I had a feeling that he knows what he is doing. (It’s a very subjective observation.)

Second, their baked goods are delicious. In Kaohsiung, I’ve had difficulty finding a coffee shop that does both coffee and cakes right. Gavagai’s pound cakes are yummy.

Lastly, the zen environment at Gavagai makes me feel calm. I love the natural wood bar, tables, and chairs. In the back, there is a seating floor where you can read books. If it wasn’t for the hot weather, I wanted to check out the cute outdoor garden behind the seating area.

Location: Open Google Map

Hours: 12 – 11 pm. Closed on Wednesdays.

Tel: 07-395-8857

Stain ()

In the heart of Kaohsiung’s Museum District, there are many excellent cafes I like. But they are almost always busy and crowded. If you need a moment of inner peace, check out Stain. This quiet, secluded cafe is the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon.

Stain is a modern, cozy coffee house, serving specialty coffee and desserts. The baristas provide excellent service and coffee. Desserts are carefully displayed in a glass case like the ones you see in a high-end jewelry shop. 

My philosophy on a coffee house is that the interior does 80% of the job. Coffee tastes a lot better if I enjoy the atmosphere. Stain fits the bill in my book. It’s up to you to agree or disagree. 

Location: Open Google Map

Hours: 10 am – 7 pm

Tel: 07-552-8175

Best Coffee in Kaohsiung, Taiwan | CandyFloss Flower & Cafe, when flowers meet desserts | #Kaohsiung #Taiwan #Coffee #Dessert #flowercafe

CandyFloss Flower & Cafe

When flowers meet desserts, the result is every girl’s dream come true. Candyfloss Flower & Cafe (棉花糖花藝·甜點) is a flower + desserts hybrid shop by a Taiwanese florist who learned flower arrangements in Germany.

This dreamy place is elaborately decorated with flowers. From the floral arch and a giant flower wall to over-the-top unicorn merry-go-round, and desserts garnished with edible flowers, everything in this shop calls for Instagram. Their super cute desserts, paired with coffee or tea, are yummy for the tummy as well. 

At the flower shop, you can purchase flowers. They also offer wedding decorations and other flower-related services. One time, I participated in a one-hour dry flower arrangement class (at a fee) to craft a mini dry flower bouquet card. (Look out for the class advertisement in store.)

Location: Open Google Map

Hours: 1-9 pm

Tel: 07-338-1493

Booking (Cartoon Cafe)

Do you like a bookstore? How about cartoons? Brunch? It might sound a bit quirky to put all of the above together, but they best describe Booking.

At first sight, Booking looks like a book store. You will soon realize it’s more a cozy cafe where you can read books over coffee. You can order a drink or food (minimum NT$120) and read all the magazines, comic books, and other books.

Be warned, though. The shop has a limited range of books for Chinese illiterates. On the other hand, Booking is an ideal place to work or read. After all, you don’t need to read Chinese to scan through the collection of lifestyle magazines. Or, bring your own book.

While this place is not a library and chatting is completely ok, it is not a coffee shop to chat and laugh loud with friends. Most of the people here are reading something – whether that’s cartoons or books.

Location: Open Google Map

Hours: 11:30 am – 7 pm. Closed on Wednesdays.

Tel: 07-561-2220

Best Coffee in Kaohsiung, Taiwan | 3D Latte Art, Cat Cafe, Modern and Eclectic Cafes #Kaohsiung #Taiwan #Coffee #LatteArt #CatCafe

My Cofi (3D Latte Art)

Who cares about the boring leaf when you can have your dog art in 3D on your latte? This tiny shop takes it to the next level with the customizable 3D latte art. The award-winning barista takes time to design your latte with skillful hands. 

As if this cute art is not enticing enough, the coffee here is excellent! For non-coffee drinkers, 3D latte art is also available with other drinks such as Japanese brown rice tea or hot chocolate. 

You can choose from their two designs for an additional 100 NT, or a customized 3D latte drink for 600 NT total. The store also has a wall of the 3D latte art gallery to inspire you!

Location: Google Map

Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed on Thursdays. 

Tel: 07-222-0101

Best Coffee in Kaohsiung, Taiwan | 3D Latte Art, Cat Cafe, Modern and Eclectic Cafes #Kaohsiung #Taiwan #Coffee #LatteArt #CatCafe

Cuiqi Coffee 

Cuiqi Coffee (奎克咖啡) has a modern and westernized vibe. Entering through the frameless glass door, the open-floor concept feels airy and clean. One can choose to chat on the comfortable couch, work on the communal table with plenty of power outlets, or chill-relax in the garden area. The coffee selection is excellent. Salad and other cafe foods are available. This cafe attracts many expats and locals.

Location: Google Map

Hours:  9:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. 

Tel: 07-557-0977

Best Coffee in Kaohsiung, Taiwan | 3D Latte Art, Cat Cafe, Modern and Eclectic Cafes #Kaohsiung #Taiwan #Coffee #LatteArt #CatCafe

Miao ToGo (Cat Cafe)

You may have heard about animal-themed cafes in Asia. This one is for cat lovers. The entire cafe is designed with cats in mind. There is a long “skywalk” across the room all the way to the ceiling. Cats freely roam across the worn-down couch, on which they probably sharpened their claws. They are not shy and come to greet customers. Whenever they feel like to eat, they nibble on the cat food. 

This cafe is super cute with a pink neon sign and chandelier; coffee is served in a pink mug. Boys, you’ve been warned!

Location: Google Map

Hours: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed on Thursdays.

Tel: 07-261-2066

Best Coffee in Kaohsiung, Taiwan | 3D Latte Art, Cat Cafe, Modern and Eclectic Cafes #Kaohsiung #Taiwan #Coffee #LatteArt #CatCafe

Q Garden Cafe

Located in the Kaohsiung’s Museum of Fine Arts area, Q Garden looks like an arboretum from the outside. The vibe continues inside with the Baroque-style garden theme. The cafe is so unique and eclectic that you either love it or hate it. At the end of the day, you really go here for the ambiance. But girls need at least one of those places on her list. Why not?

Location: Google Map

Hours: 11 am – 10 pm  

Tel: 07-550-5628

Taipei Itinerary: What to do in Taipei for 3 Days | Planning a trip to the capital city of Taiwan? Experience the best of Taipei in 3 days with this detailed insider’s guide. See local restaurant and hot spot suggestions by a Taiwan resident. | #Taipei #Taiwan #TaipeiItinerary #TaipeiThingstoDo #TaipeiTravel

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