Flog me: I’ve lived in Malaysia for over three years and I had never tried The Alley’s Brown Sugar Deerioca Milk.
You must understand, this boba tea was more famous than Mahathir himself. The Deerioca series has appeared on so many blogs and has topped so many “Best Boba” lists all over the internet. It had become bigger than Malaysia and even Southeast Asia. The Alley has opened up shops from Australia to even my native Toronto where locals in these countries were hyping up the brand.
The Alley had become so huge that it felt wrong to just waltz in and order my first cup on a random Saturday afternoon. Trying The Alley for the first time had become akin to losing one’s virginity. You don’t lose your virginity on a Monday to some nothing person on a ratty couch. It has to be a special day where all the stars align and everything is perfect.
That’s the intent, anyway.
Naturally, Mark made fun of me for how serious I was taking my boba tea consumption and told me to just get the damn thing. So, off I went… ordering my first cup on a random Saturday afternoon.
Even if you had never heard of their hype, it’s really obvious what the thing to get is. Images of deer are all over the shop, and the Deerioca Series is the first thing on The Alley’s menu. The chain has also branched out into coffee and tea. These are such an afterthought that the menu for these items is shoved in the shop’s window instead of by the cash register.
I ordered the Brown Sugar Deerioca Milk (RM12.90 for regular size). Out of habit, I told the cashier my preferred ice and sugar levels. However, she replied in a swift yet cheery manner that the Deerioca milk series is a “set menu” and cannot be customised. Of course. If The Alley allowed us to ruin their legendary creation by fiddling with ice and sugar levels, they’d never be at the top heap of boba teas.
Click on menu pictures to enlarge
There was a promotion where an upsize to a large was only RM2 extra (total price: RM14.90 tax included) so I took advantage of that. The large size comes in a vessel so lovely that it almost looks like a collectable souvenir cup. The plastic is thicker than the small size and frosted to make holding it slightly easier. It’s topped with a lid with cute deer antlers and a small red plug that caps the hole where you would put your straw through.
The drink looks more pretty than bold when you first receive it. There’s much less brown sugar syrup compared to Tiger Sugar and other bobas I usually have. Tiger Sugar has very dark and consistent syrup dribbles throughout the cup. The Alley makes their signature drink with an artistic gradient smear. A pure milky white top fades into subtle brown sugar syrup streaks before ending in the black pool of boba.
I received no instructions from the server on what to do before consuming it. Do I shake it, stir it, or simply sip it? I didn’t have high hopes in that red plug being water-tight, so I didn’t risk shaking it. I poked my straw through and did a few swirls with it before the final product ended up looking like this.
The boba had a deep brown sugar taste without a hint of burnt bitterness. One thing I noticed instantly and was disappointed by was that the boba had no chew to them. They still tasted great but that pleasant bounciness was absent in these bobas. They weren’t mushy, but they were a bit too soft. I’m not sure if this is how The Alley’s boba normally is, or if this was a consequence of COVID keeping customers away and their boba getting a tad overcooked. I was surprised that the boba was so soft in a chain that is renowned by so many.
The first sip of their Deerioca Milk is nice and not overpoweringly sweet. It’s enough of a sugar hit to classify this as a sweet indulgence. Yet, it’s not so sugary that you need a drink of water immediately afterwards. The milk has that roof of the mouth richness that tastes like full-fat milk. This is not for dieters! Despite this overly creamy flavour, this is a much lighter beverage than Tiger Sugar or even LiHo Tea. I remember buying a large-sized LiHo Salted Caramel Boba Milk one day. When I was past the halfway point, I was sick from all the sugar. I was positively bulging but had to keep sucking it down so I wouldn’t waste it. With The Alley’s Brown Sugar Deerioca Milk, I easily slurped down the entire large cup without feeling gross or stuffed at the last sip.
Were all those internet lists telling the truth? Was this the best brown sugar milk in KL? I didn’t think so. The Alley’s Brown Sugar Deerioca Milk is a standout from the rest – a gratifying treat without being too heavy.