Pulling Out the Best ‘Pulled Tea’ in Town

Inside taste tests teh tariks (pulled tea) around town and tells you which local milk tea hits the right spot!

Issue: Apr 2015

Teh tarik was introduced to Malaya by Indian-Muslim migrants who prepared the drink by pouring it back and forth between two containers
Teh tarik (pulled tea) was introduced to Malaya by Indian-Muslim migrants who prepared the drink by pouring it back and forth between two containers (a method known as pulling) to ensure it was well mixed

There are many ways to savour a cup of tea. Serving it with milk is one of the most well-loved ones. In Singapore (and also Malaysia), our milk tea of choice is teh tarik. Concocted in post-World War II Malaya by Indian-Muslim migrants, the tea is sweetened with condensed and evaporated milk and then poured back and forth between two containers (a method known as pulling) to ensure the beverage is well mixed. The result is teh tarik (pulled tea), a frothy drink not unlike the foamy cappuccino.

Inside takes a tea break to find out where you can get your teh tarik and which places serve up the best brews.

Prata Wala

Price: S$1.80

Taste: A sweet, frothy brew served piping hot; this teh tarik is like a warm hug for the soul. Those who enjoy their tea sugary will slurp up Prata Wala’s version which has a saccharine yumminess that plays off perfectly with the fluffy prata (fried, flour-based pancake).

Strength: The buzz comes more from the sugar than the caffeine. Nonetheless, still a good cup to awaken your senses.

Smoothness: A mark of a well-made cup of milk tea is the amount of milk in it that lends the drink a certain smoothness. This amount of milk in this cuppa is just right. 

Fragrance: Part of the draw of tea is its aroma. Even at the first whiff, the teh tarik has a pleasant scent.

Verdict: This tea gets the vote for Best Value-for-money because for just S$1.80, you get a glassful of goodness that is sweet comfort.

Best Value for Money

Prata Wala’s teh tarik is a sweet, frothy brew that is like a warm hug for the soul.

Ah May Café

Price: S$1.70

Taste: It's a delightful cup of teh tarik though another spoonful of sugar would be appreciated. 

Strength: A moderately strong tea that will keep you alert.

Smoothness: This teh tarik could use a more generous dose of milk. As such, the sharpness of the tea cannot be balanced and the drink leaves a bit of bitter aftertaste.

Fragrance: Here is where this version of pulled tea wins points. The pleasant, sweet scent you breathe in as you lift the glass to your lips blossoms into a floral fragrance with each sip.

Verdict: A sweetly perfumed cuppa, this teh tarik is the Most Fragrant of the lot.

Most Fragrant

The teh tarik is the perfect accompaniment to the Singapore breakfast standard of soft-boiled eggs and kaya, and crispy warm prata, all of which can be enjoyed at Ah May Café.

Café O

Price: S$2.30

Taste: Yummy is what you would call this teh tarik that is a frothy dream come true. The first thing you will notice is its milky scent that rises to greet you as you raise your glass. Next is the perfect balance of sugar, milk and tea that go to create a delightfully comforting cuppa. 

Strength: There is enough tea in the drink to taste the strength of the brew.

Smoothness: Its milkiness is what makes this teh tarik a winner. With enough milk to justify calling this a milk tea, this version has perfected the smooth, rounded taste that is so sought after.

Fragrance: The drink has a pleasant scent – a rich, sweet fragrance that is a combination of tea leaves and the sweet-smelling milk.

Verdict: Milk teas,teh tariks included, get their smooth taste from the amount of milk in them that tempers the sharp taste of tannin in the tea. This tea has the Smoothest Taste thanks to the richness and quantity of the milk added.

Smoothest Taste

Milky, frothy and strong – Café O’s teh tarik has the smooth, rounded taste so sought after in milk teas.

Zaffron Kitchen

Price: S$3.50

Taste: This is the Sultan of teh tariks. Creamy, strong, sweet and frothy - teh tarik does not get more divine than this. It is also the only one amongst the pulled teas reviewed that is crowned with an impressive froth brimming over the tall glass, a sign that it has gone through a rigorous “pulling” process. So, this tea maintains its bubbly goodness down to the last sip.

Strength: This tea has a unique, slightly fruity, citrusy taste that is refreshing. It is undeniably a strong brew but steeped just right so there is no hint of bitterness.

Smoothness: The strength of the tea is perfectly balanced by the milkiness, giving this teh tarik the smoothness of a good milk tea. Its nice rounded taste comes from the right amount of milk blending with tea of the perfect strength.

Fragrance: A subtle fragrance that entices, enhancing the enjoyment of the tea.

Verdict: This tea wins the Best Taste title because it is all a good teh tarik should be – frothy, milky, strong, fragrant.

Best Taste

This teh tarik boasts an impressive tower of foam, a sign that it has gone through several rounds of being poured back and forth between two aluminum containers as any good pulled tea should be prepared.

Dine with us:

Ah May Café
2 Jurong East Street
IMM Building
Singapore 609601
Café O
2 Jurong East Street
IMM Building
Singapore 609601
Tel: (65) 899 1181
Prata Wala
4 Tampines Central 5
Tampines Mall
Singapore 529510
Tel: (65) 6789 1237
Prata Wala
9 Bishan Place
Junction 8
Singapore 579837
Tel: (65) 6354 1751
Prata Wala
311 New Upper Changi Road
Bedok Mall
Singapore 529510
Tel: (65) 6702 4030
Zaffron Kitchen
3 Gateway Drive
Singapore 608532
Tel: (65) 6465 9880
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