If you have written off bubble teas as artificial tasting kiddie drinks with weird flavours, Presotea might make you change your mind. The brand, which launched in Taiwan in 2006, now has more than 300 stores spanning across China, Indonesia, Canada and Australia. Last month they opened their first outlet on the east coast of Australia, flying over key staff from their Western Australia operation, to get things rolling.
You’ll find the Presotea kiosk outlet on the first floor of Westfield Hurstville, near the supermarkets and food stores like awesome Asian grocer, Tong Li.
For a small shopping centre carousel, Presotea has a surprisingly long menu. Behind the counter you’ll see they brew tea using espresso-like brewing technology.
Despite me ordering five different teas, my order was prepared very quickly, with each tea brewed freshly from an individual tea bag.
All drinks here are fully customisable on sweetness. Being new to Presotea, I choose standard sweetness across all drinks. Next time I’d order the Pineapple Special Tea ($4.60/M) with no sugar at all, because it was thrown out of balance by the sweet, crushed canned pineapple at the bottom of the drink. The underlying We-Shan special tea got a bit lost when I sucked up the super-sweet pineapple, but it appeared to be a solid black tea with roasted notes that would be worth trying on its own. The tea I did try as a straight up iced tea – Al-Li-Shan Iced Tea ($4/M) - was lovely, refreshing and at a reasonable level of sweetness. It’s an oolong tea from a high mountainous region of Taiwan, with a light, crisp flavour and hints of honey.
Obsessed with the distinctive music of Okinawa in southern Japan, from the milk tea range I selected the Okinawa Brown Sugar Milk Tea ($4.60/M). It’s got a toasty, roasted flavour, with the brown sugar adding a level of familiarity and comfort. It’s the kind of tea I’d like to curl up around if I was feeling sick, and my favourite tea of this bubble tea adventure.
Panda Milk Tea ($5.10/M) is one of Presotea's best sellers. It’s creamy brown with black and white 'panda' pearls. The tea itself is very milky and almost too gentle, but I kept going back for more, including the lovely chewy pearls. This one would suit those who don't like much bitterness in their tea.
To wrap up my bubble tea tasting adventure, I hit up Matcha Red Bean Crunchy Ice ($5.50). This was the most uncompromisingly Asian flavour of the teas I chose, with a lot more texture than any of the other drinks. It’s not quite my cup of tea (if you’ll pardon the pun) but I did enjoy giving it a whirl.
What I liked best about Presotea was their obvious commitment to high-quality tea, and the ability to customise sugar to an appropriate level for your individual palate.
Level 1, Westfield Hurstville,
Park Road & Cross Street, Hurstville
Ph: (02) 9511 2700