I put a pause to ChaTime despite their opening promotion of Buy 1, Free 1. I heard the crowd was unbelievable during the first week of opening. Well, I think its the QUEUE rather than crowd. There is only about 6-8 tables which only seat a small crowd. ChaTime is situated in a small corner lot in Greentown, same with Berlin Bier House.
ChaTime has been mushrooming in the Klang Valley area since its first outlet in Pavillion KL. With a young CEO and aggressive marketing and promo using models/artists, the Taiwanese drink franchise has been blooming and the craze has finally spread to Ipoh (during the DEHP scare of tainted beverages from Taiwan). Not serving any food, you will be kinda dumbfounded, gazing at the menu of a variety of drinks. Yes, it happened to me. I couldn't make up my mind on what to other from the Iced Tea, hot beverages, Milk Tea, Pearl Tea, Ice Blended/Smoothies to mention a few. Price of the drinks here is somehow standard, RM5.90 for regular, RM6.90 for large. Apart from the wide flavours in the menu, you can customize your drink in degrees of sweetness and amount of ice! I was a bit amused when you can opt for No Sugar, 50% 70%, 100%, and another degree exceeding 100%. =.=
Else, you can add on extra toppings like grass jelly, coffee jelly, pearls, etc for an additional RM1. Yup, despite having red bean as topping for my Matcha Blended, I topped up RM1 for pearls. After all, its somebody's treat after all. The pearls were like usual, gummy and bouncy. The drink itself is not TOO sweet for me, though at 100% sugar (original sweetness tasted just right for a sweet toothed me!). Green tea was erm.... as expected, flavoured from powder? Some people argued that ChaTime goes as natural as possible, brewing beverages from tea leaves. I'm a bit skeptical after seeing containers after containers containing flavoured beveragers powder. That's why I was never a fan of the Taiwanese Milk Tea, though I really love the pearls.
Hence I couldn't really be in a position to evaluate distinctively whether ChaTime really stands out from the beverages from pasar malam. Skeptics/Non-fans like me would think its just the environment, more of the "in" factor. To support this hypothesis, you can see for yourself, 90% of patrons and youngsters, 100% are Chinese to be exact. Fans (or rather fanatics) would argue that the drinks here are different! Well, if I get a Taiwanese Milk Tea drink from the pasar malam for them to drink it in the compound of ChaTime, I wonder if they could distinguish that its a RM2.50 beverage.
For RM5.90 and above for a beverage normally priced below RM3, I wonder ChaTime will get to survive in Ipoh or not. I do understand a lot has been spent on the packaging (sealed cover to prevent spillage for takeaway convenience) but seeing Burger King swatting flies, you and I know best how far Ipoh people can spend. (I was told by my colleague that my boss and many other colleagues from the HQ are readers of my blog, hence I need to reduce the frequency of rantings concerning incompetitive salary for Ipoh employees versus the rising cost of living). Personally, first try is enough for me, mainly for the price factor and drinking artificial chemicals and flavouring is definitely NOT MY CUP OF TEA! =)