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Tea chain plans Asian expansion

After early success in the Philippines, Khun Thai Tea is now eyeing three more Asian markets.

The concept was co-founded by Bronze Media Singapore owners Jeremy Lee and Elis Chai.

Lee says the company is about to open its third store in Metro Manila, at MegaMall, with plans for a new kiosk every month moving forward. It is looking for partners in other Southeast Asian markets.

“We are going to take Khun Thai Tea to Jakarta in Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Taipei in Taiwan,” he says. “Plans to start outlets in these cities are already underway.”

Filipino partner Nancy Padilla says the chain’s drinks are based on an original recipe for an iced black tea (“cha-yen” in Thai) created by Bangkok street merchant Auntie Marlee in 1955. The strongly brewed Ceylon tea has been modernised with a switch to a Thai-grown assam tea known as “bai miang”, which is infused with spices.

In addition to the original recipe, says Padilla, Khun Thai Tea outlets also offer variations of the concoction inspired by drink recipes from around Asia, such as a mix of coffee and tea (“yuan yang”), first brewed in Hong Kong.

The newest menu item, Ice Bandung, is inspired by a Malaysian beverage recipe that combines rose syrup with milk.

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