Goong Cha has arrived in Wellington! Being excited is an understatement and my cousins and I have been talking about it a lot on WhatsApp. They had to push their opening back two times because of something to do with the council and it brought on some very interesting conversations with my whanau. However, it is open and just before Christmas. Gong Cha is a very famous international brand when it comes to Bubble Tea and originated in Taiwan. They did have an opening special offering a free milk froth tea with every order which has made the waiting time slightly longer.  I have had this numerous times in Melbourne and I was interested to see what it is like compared to what I have had in Melbourne.

Taro Milk Tea (left) and Milk Froth Black Tea (right)

Taro Milk Tea

Cold, 50% sugar, 30 % Ice with Pearls

This is my go-to Bubble Tea and when I had this, I was actually slightly disappointed. It just didn’t taste quite what I am used to and I think that was due to the pearls. I think the pearls were slightly undercooked or were not rinsed as well. The version I have in Melbourne is also slightly grainy and that was due to the actual taro they use in the tea. It tasted good but different.

Milk Froth Black Tea

Cold, 50% sugar, 30 % Ice with caramel corn

I have never ordered this drink as I always go to the Milk Teas and I would have never tried unless it was free. However, the black tea with sugar is actually really nice. I also liked the Milk Froth which tastes like condensed milk mixed with cream cheese. It sounds weird but it works really well with just normal Chinese tea. Also, I liked the caramel corn which did a nice texture to the drink. However, you couldn’t sip it through your straw.

Left to right: Milk Tea with Coconut Jelly and Milk Froth Oolong Tea

Milk Tea with Coconut Jelly

Cold, 50% sugar, No Ice with white pearl

This is a great drink. The coconut jelly is a lot firmer and feels like it is agar based. Also, the drink had been sitting for about two hours and the flavours are just so much better. It is slightly sweeter than all the other drinks but that could be based on it sitting around in the fridge. This might actually be my new order. Also, the pearls are a lot nice this time and not as strong in flavour compared to yesterdays order of the Taro Milk Tea. This could also be due to them being rushed to be open at 12 on Friday and actually only opened later as they weren’t ready.

Milk Froth Oolong Tea

Cold, 50% sugar, 30 % Ice with caramel corn

I just got this as it was free. I really liked this Oolong tea version. The tea is more herbal than the black tea and has more floral notes to it. I prefer this one to the black tea as it has a few more complex flavours to it. The milk froth was great and loved the popcorn in it.

It will be interesting to see how popular Gong Cha will be in Wellington. It is a big brand Internationally and will be interesting to see if Wellingtonians will flock there. The two times I have been there, it has been busy but with different Asian ethnicities and not many Pakeha people. Noah’s Ark has a big following in Wellington and will be interesting to see if they manage to keep their customers. I suspect when the International students return back in Feb for they will flock to Gong Cha. The ordering process is quite full-on and intimidating for first timers but I like it because you can have it the way you like it, especially when it comes to sweetness and how much ice you want.

Compared to Melbourne, this place has actual seats, where in Melbourne the majority are just little hole in the walls. Also, every table against the wall has power points and USB outlets, which will encourage people to sit down and do some work. It will make people stay longer and maybe only order one drink. However, a shop full of people looks better than an empty shop. Overall, I think they will be here for the long term.

Address: 57 Manners Street, Te Aro, Wellington

Website: Gong Cha