Anyone who has been to milk tea hubs like Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Japan knows The Alley: It’s Time For Tea.
Established in 2013, the beverage chain is known not just for their Deerioca drinks with their signature handmade brown sugar pearls and their milk tea drinks. They are also Instagram-famous for the photo-ready aesthetics of all their products and space interior.
That’s because its owner and founder, Mao Ting Chiu, has worked as a graphic designer for eight years in his own design firm before opening up The Alley.
In a quick chat with MB Life at the official launch of their first ever local branch at the Mall of Asia, Chiu says his creative background is the key reason why The Alley’s products, from the drinks, space, down to merchandise, are pleasing to the eye. “Because I’m a designer, I have zero tolerance for ugly stuff,” he admits with the help of an interpreter.
He also saw the opportunity to go beyond a “grab-and-go” shop. At a time when no one else is merging great taste and looks in the competitive milk tea arena, The Alley is already rolling out the concept in Taiwan.
It has since become Chiu’s mission to make delectable drinks “pretty and good-looking.”
“Back then, when I first started, there’s no milk tea brand that is focused on aesthetics,” he shares. “I wanted to use The Alley to let the consumer know that a milk tea brand can actually have such a nice look and space to enjoy their drinks.”
To date, the shop already has locations in Canada, USA, France, Germany, Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, HongKong, Macau, Thailand, Vietnam, and now the Philippines.
The owner hopes to expand the reach of The Alley in the country, perhaps quite literally as its pilot location is a humble nook in the main mall at SM MOA.
“In the future, we will have more to bring to consumers in the Philippines such as a larger concept space,” he says. “We’ll start to sell food as well, like light snacks and desserts that Filipinos will enjoy.”