Chingkeetea: A lasting love affair with tea

For Chingkeetea, every cup is a new story. With its newest branch, lovers of milk tea can come for more than just the drinks to grab and go. Here at this ethereally designed space, one can stay for a cup and have a seat, create a fond new memory or share stories with a companion.

Ultimately, Chingkeetea is more than just a purveyor of delicious well-made milk tea, but a vessel for stories, told with each cup served.

Originally from Cagayan de Oro (CDO), Chingkeetea first made its way to Cebu in 2019. This year, it overcame all the hurdles brought by the pandemic and opened its much-awaited second branch in the city on May 7. Located in St. Patrick Square, Chingkeetea’s sophomore branch is not too far from its first in Ramos, but in an equally accessible location — with ample parking space, to boot.

Entrepreneur Sharee Mae “Chingkee” Te-Motoomull is the creative behind the namesake milk tea brand. Chingkee, who was never fond of coffee, started drinking tea as a health beverage; chamomile to calm her nerves or oolong when she’s had too much to eat.

It was in college when she discovered Taiwanese milk teas. It quickly became her go-to drink whenever she was stressed or was just craving it. In 2012, she decided to pursue this interest in tea by starting her own shop.

“My love for tea is a continuous story. I am constantly fascinated by it as I delve deeper into its many forms and cultures. Chingkeetea is very personal to me and it changes as I evolve too,” shared Chingkee.

More than just a product of her business degree, Chingkeetea is also a brilliant materialization of her creativity and unwavering love for tea. Aside from Chingkeetea, she’s also become engrossed in single cultivar teas and opened an online tea shop called Teacup No. 23, where she sells teas from Japan and Taiwan. In December 2020, Chingkeetea was awarded Best Milk Tea of SunStar’s Best of Cebu 2020.

The second Cebu branch was initially set for a March 2020 opening but got delayed indefinitely due to the lockdown. It wasn’t until a month before the opening when Chingkee and her business partner resumed working on the branch, flying in and out of Cebu to make sure everything was ready.

Logistics proved to be challenging, so Chingkee enlisted the help of Wild Reverie, a local creative studio and stylist during her wedding, to bring her vision to life. The finished product is a soft and romantic Japanese wabi-sabi inspired fantasy that’s similar to Chingkeetea’s stores in CDO — a space that looks straight out of a Pinterest board.

Aside from the standard lineup of milk and fruit teas, this branch also serves two house specials: the Matcha Latte and Ichigo Matcha, classic and modern takes on the quintessential matcha latte, made with matcha sourced straight from Japan. Also on the menu are food items to pair with your cup of freshly brewed drinks: Korean ramen, Chicken Pops, and Chicken Karaage-Don, a fried chicken rice bowl.

Chingkeetea Cebu No. 2 is located in St. Patrick Square, R. Aboitiz St., Cebu City (near Redemptorist Church). Store hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m, Monday to Saturday.