Sipping a tumbler of milk tea is presently the hip thing to do here in the Philippines, but it can be quite the expensive habit for many urbanites with regard to both the price and the time spent waiting in line to order and waiting in line again for one’s drink. There are, of course, bottled alternatives available in many local supermarkets and convenience stores. Unfortunately, these are either too small (C2‘s Milky Tea), too sweet (Uni-President’s milk tea – the one usually found at 7-11s), or stunningly expensive (Kirin Afternoon Milk Tea).
And now, there’s a new kid on the supermarket milk tea block: Schlurp – or, more precisely, Schlurp Your Tea.
The thing about Schlurp is that its brightly-hued labels in either yellow (Earl Gray) or orange (Assam) are quick to grab the attention of even the most inattentive shoppers.
The Earl Gray variant was particularly striking for a long-time depressive such as myself because it had the admonition Get Happy stamped on one side of the label. This is due to the fact that bergamot oil, the ingredient that gives Earl Gray its citrusy aroma and slightly floral taste, has long been used in both aromatherapy and homeopathy as an antidepressant – and, speaking from experience, it actually works to help yank a person out of a blue funk or to relieve anxiety attacks. (Why do you suppose tea was given to all those hysterical ladies in English period dramas? It’s the bergamot!)
Aside from telling drinkers to get happy, the label also lists a number of things you can do to stave away the blues. Frankly speaking – and as weird as it sounds, the label actually gave me more practical advice than any shrink ever did!
But antidepressant qualities aside, you’re probably wondering by now how it was…
Taste-wise, you can seriously taste the tea in a bottle of Schlurp: the quintessential citrusy flavor of Earl Gray is nicely balanced by the creaminess of the drink. The tea itself goes down smoothly and the tea jellies actually taste better than the ones used for the hojicha frappucino being flogged over at Starbucks as they don’t have that somewhat puckering astringency that puts some people off.
Each 500mL bottle will set you back P 59.00 – which is pretty much the price of the lower-market teashops. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to either wait till your local 7-11 has it in stock (whenever it is on the shelves, some greedy pigs tend to buy every bottle in sight to stock up) or hike over to the Chinese groceries in Greenhills to get your Schlurp on.