Ube, ice scramble, or taho milk tea, anyone?
As the pandemic boosted the rise of at-home food entrepreneurs, budding business owners, particularly in the milk tea department, have been thinking of ways to make their brand standout and lure boba-loving customers. Some stuck to food trends to make new flavors while others took a witty approach to serve drinks with a few laughs.
But for milk tea brand Kahatea, it is mastering local flavors that is the key to creating a milk tea brand that Filipinos will truly love. Established last July 2020, the brand was inspired by its owners Angela Valdez and Angelo Horfilla’s domestic travels. As Manila’s community quarantine prohibited going to tourist destinations in its early months, the two thought of a way to bring flavors from different parts of the Philippines to everyone’s doorstep through their favorite drink.
“Kahatea aims to honor our Filipino heritage by promoting local delicacies carefully recreated in specialty drinks and using traditional Filipino design elements in our stores,” Angelo tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “The brand is every Juan’s companion for healthy, affordable, and comforting drinks and snacks that Filipinos will truly love.”
The brand’s milk tea lineup features tastes and flavors familiar to the Filipinos, such as leche flan, iskrambol, tsoko mani, halo-halo, and taho, among others. Kahatea also named its drinks after Philippine provinces where the particular ingredient is known for. An example of this is its “Baguio” beverage, an ube-infused milk tea inspired by the known pasalubong in the province, Good Shepherd Ube Halaya Jam.
Another thing the brand prides about its products is the ingredients. Kahatea aims to serve even the lactose-intolerant with its use of casein-free, plant-based, and vegan-friendly ingredients in the majority of its offerings.
“In Kahatea, we believe that milk tea is best when shared. Our beverages are bundled forever where customers get to avail two drinks at a discounted price (Kahatea), and can be of different flavors,” Angelo says. “On the other hand, customers get to enjoy ‘extra special’ drinks for solo orders (Walang Kahatea).”
Having to survive the perils of the pandemic as a start-up, the owners believe that apart from its brewed concoctions, the Filipino spirit is also alive in its core team.
“Our experiences on finance and marketing are what pushed us to do better everyday—a proof that you don’t have to be an expert to make something a reality. You just have to be passionate, to love and believe in your brand every single day,” Angelo muses. “Putting up a business is not just for the gram, it requires hard work, sleepless nights, and getting out of your comfort zone. It may seem difficult in the beginning, but its future will always depend on your appetite to failure. Just like the salakot in our logo, having this business will take so much resiliency to overcome any obstacles.”