A cup of Serenitea
- Alexa Villano () - November 15, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - There is no doubt that Filipinos love coffee as shown by the continued rise in the number of coffee shops around the country. But new markets are emerging to challenge the coffee industry such as milk tea which is currently making waves in the market, one of them is Serenitea.

Founded in 2008 by Juliet Herrera and her partner Peter Chen, Serenitea was established not only to cater to a different market but introduce sweetness Filipinos that tea is worth drinking. Upon graduation, Herrera and Chen were already considering a business when they thought of Serenitea.

“We wanted to have our own business. We thought of tea because coffee is already a saturated market and we said why don’t we try something new,” says Herrera.

Realizing this, the two immediately went to work by doing the necessary research which led Chen to go to Taiwan and immerse himself in studying the making of tea. That is why in making their drinks, all the ingredients are source from Taiwan. After this, they immediately went to work and the first branch of Serenitea opened in San Juan.

Aside from the ingredients, they are the only tea restaurant that uses an espresso machine. “What makes (Serenitea) different is that we use espresso machine in making our tea and we make freshly brewed tea and once you order, that’s the only time we make it,” she said.

 There is a connotation that tea is only drank by the elderly but Herrera believes otherwise. “Serenitea is tea that caters to young and old market. We have many type of tea such as milk tea latte, fresh fruit tea and Taiwan tea,” she said.

Another factor that makes them different from other tea restaurants and stalls is that customers can choose the sweetness level of their teas. “Our tea is also unique because you can choose the sweetness level raging from no sugar to 100 percent sugar. We also have sinkers like coffee jelly and pearl, nata and pudding and aloe vera,” she adds. Among their best sellers include the Hokkaido milk tea, the aloe vera drink and snack foods like chicken chops, peppered tofu and peppered potato.

But like any starting business, Herrera and Chen also had their concerns about their venture. “We weren’t confident. It was a risk but we thought we needed to try and we saw that coffee was doing pretty well so why not try tea.” She also mentioned that at the start, many customers were not opened to trying something new especially tea but thanks to word of mouth and recommendations from food bloggers, magazines and newspapers, Serenitea has picked up business, even being cited by a website as one of the top ten milk teas to try in Manila.

Currently Serenitea has four branches at San Juan, Parañaque, Banawe and Alabang Town Center which recently opened. As for their plans, Herrera mentioned that they are set to open more branches and add more variations of tea drinks every six months.

As for those who would like to start a business, Herrera shares “You have to be patient with customers, treat them well and treat your staff well. Be creative and provide something new so your customers won’t get bored.”

BANAWE AND ALABANG TOWN CENTER CHEN COFFEE CURRENTLY SERENITEA HERRERA HERRERA AND CHEN JULIET HERRERA PETER CHEN SAN JUAN SERENITEA TEA
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