I dropped by for a drink with some friends and promptly ordered our usual half-sweet mango green tea & matcha milk shake.
We've been regulars since it opened, so we had suspected that management had changed when we stopped seeing the owner/owner's wife, and when the entire staff suddenly changed. But we never really had an issue with that as our usual drinks were still made in the same manner. However, once we tasted our drinks, we realized that something was quite wrong.
The matcha milk shake was definitely less matcha-y in taste and flavour, and definitely more ice-y. It was sub-par.
Their mango green tea was the worst though, as it had a decidedly bitter tea flavour (think day-old over-steeped tea -- I'm not joking) and there was absolutely no mango taste. Mango always has a amazing aroma when you have it, but this one didn't even taste like mango, but was extremely artificial - almost like how food tastes after it's been in a tin-can for a long time (think metallic).
I brought it up to the counter to complain and the server informed me that it was because we ordered it half-sweet. He offered to add the remaining syrup to fix it. That was when I realized he used the term "syrup." When we first starting going to Pearl Drops, the owner told us that they always added the fruit and the caramelized sugar separately, so if you wanted it less sweet, it would still have all the fruit flavour.
After talking to my friends, they had all noticed a drop in quality for their drinks as well. Sad but true, Pearl Drops is no longer the best bubble tea joint in town.