Name Your Boba!
Food fads may come and go, but boba drinks seem to have become a staple item in people’s diets. It’s nearly impossible to walk past a boba tea shop without suddenly craving one of these sweet, ice-cold beverages dotted with chewy tapioca pearls.
Boba tea (also called pearl tea, or bubble tea) is a sweet drink that combines milk, flavored tea and tapioca pearls that are sucked up through an extra-large straw and chewed. The boba drink pearls have a soft, chewy consistency similar to that of gummy candy. We’ve gathered up a few local beloved boba spots to indulge in a thirst-quenching snack.
COMEBUY Drinks is conveniently located in the Hillsdale Mall with a variety of iced drinks and bubble teas as well as a nice sitting area.
‘If you are someone who prefers a stronger tea flavor, try their ‘teapresso’ drinks. They pretty much use the espresso machine with tea leaves instead of coffee, which is a great idea’ – Kelvin W., Yelp
‘I love the peach, pineapple, and apple flavored drinks.’ – Chelsea T. Yelp
Sharetea: 204B Second Ave, San Mateo
‘Being more a tea lover than most, I appreciated being able to downgrade to 50% sugar and really taste the tea in my drink. One of my friends has even less of a sweet tooth and she went down to 30% sweetness, which was perfect for her but a little bland for me. I did try an oolong tea with boba once which was really good, since I love oolong tea. Might be a new regular drink order for me!’ – G.L, Yelp
Team Tip: Try the Grapefruit Green Tea or POG Tea with boba on a hot day – so refreshing!
BAMBU: 153 S. B Street, San Mateo
‘My go to orders are either coconut milk or juice (they are different!) with pandan, red bean, and grass jelly. Refreshing without being too sweet. Today I’m enjoying the hot taro lover with boba (real taro paste is what separates the authentic vs cheap boba chains), and coconut pandan waffle. Will be back very soon!’ – Christine S., Yelp
Ocha Tea Café: 2986 S Norfolk St, San Mateo
‘Their menu is extensive, but I generally stick with either lychee green tea or a watermelon slush with boba. I like that you can customize your drink as I often as for lighter ice and half the amount of sugar.’ – Junelle T., Yelp
Chatime: 165 E 4th Ave. Chatime uses high-tech brewing tea machines, fresh tea leaves and natural ingredients to ensure every cup of tea is good and consistent.
‘The roasted milk tea is excellent and definitely recommended with pudding or coffee jelly. Coconut milk tea is a favorite, as is the hot ginger tea (they’ll make the other teas hot if you want too), and all of their fruit green teas are really flavorful.’ – Kiryn S., Yelp
Ya-Ua Yogurt & Boba Tea. 1090 Alameda De Las Pulgas in Belmont. The mission at Ya-Ua (pronounced “Dza-Ua”), is to ‘Bring happiness through fresh food and yummy Ya-Ua’. Try the Vietnamese Green Coconut Waffle: crispy coconut waffle infused with a pandan herb.
‘They have healthy options like unsweetened milk tea, basil seeds, crystal boba and almond or soy milk options. Also try the garlic noodles!!’ – Dawn B., Yelp
Tpumps. 985 E Hillsdale Blvd in nearby Foster City. Team members are experts, each and every one of them are happy to guide you through the ordering process, or let you know their favorites! Owner, Alex Su says, “Other stores, they don’t offer what we offer, which is freshly brewed tea from loose tea leaves, not from tea bags, not to cook the tapioca too fast, to try to make them in the quality that people enjoy more. So I don’t really think that I’m doing a lot of specialty or very unique tea beverages, but I think it’s just the quality and amount of effort that we pour into making that drink.”
What does Tpumps do differently? Flavors can be mixed!
Tpumpers say: Shhh, it’s a secret! Mix raspberry or vanilla flavors into your favorite drinks for something unique!
‘Tpumps is my favorite boba place. The drinks here are consistently good, their boba is always soft and chewy…My favorite flavor is mango passionfruit. Ask for half sweet!’ – Allison L., Yelp
Whether you decide you like the magical boba pearls or not, you can always find a tea, smoothie, or snack to satisfy you at each location.
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