YOU NEED TO TRY BOBA.
C’mon. Do it. Do it. DO IT.
Seriously, if you have not had boba tea yet, you need to go to a place that serves it (Google it, or go HERE), and give it a try. It. Is. Amazing.
Boba tea is a Taiwanese creation, intended to trick stupid kids into drinking healthy stuff. Bwahahaha THOSE FOOLS!!! But it works on me, too. Boba tea, sometimes referred to as bubble tea, or pearl tea, consists of two parts: the tea, traditionally an iced dark tea with sweetened milk, and the boba, black tapioca pearls about the size of a marble, having been cooked until chewy, and then steeped in a sugary liquid. The boba tea you find at shops usually uses a non dairy creamer rather than milk for the milk teas, but also usually comes in a wide variety of different types of teas, from jasmine to fruit. The boba is chewy and a bit sweet, and I’ve often seen it compared to gummi bears (although their nowhere near as tough). They are typically served in a plastic cup, with a seal on top that you use a comically wide straw to puncture in order to get to the goodness on the inside.
Really, the whole thing is just a gimmick: a regular tea, with little chewy, almost candy-like treats at the bottom. But it totally works for me. And places now serve a whole bunch of other things, like fruit smoothies or even frappuccino blends. They are completely accessible, and totally addictive.
AND SO, begin the review proper:
GOT TEA? is my local boba shop of choice. It is a small fixture, in the same plaza as the Yummy House (an amazing Chinese restaurant), on Waters, near Armenia in Carrollwood. It has been there for a few years now, opened by the same people who ran the short-lived boba place in the food court of University Mall. The staff is ALWAYS friendly, and service is quick. But CASH ONLY!! Remember that! Bring cash! And trust me – it’s worth a trip to the ATM.
The inside is small, but has great personality! There are maybe five tables that seat about four, and I think a couple more high top tables, with a cool bamboo… uh… thingy. There’s music playing, and wireless internet, which makes this an ideal place to sit down and work on some stuff, or game, getting new tea whenever you run out. The place can get pretty packed, but is often empty enough that you will have a place to sit and talk. They have a small menu of a few different food items, snacks and bento boxes (all of which are excellent!), but of course, this place is all about the boba.
My friend and I ordered our usuals – I got the taro milk tea (on the left), and he got an honeydew avocado Snowtwist (wild, yes I know). As you can see, the boba sits at the bottom of the cup, and the straws are wide enough to suck them up through. The boba here is ALWAYS perfect. I have had boba from quite a few different places, and this is the second best place I’ve ever had it (the best being a Lollicup in Orlando on Colonial Drive), and the best in the area. The boba is always perfectly chewy, not undercooked like many places, and not overcooked into oblivion. Just sweet enough that you can taste it. Perfect. And the cups always have fun little seals on top, with different pictures or drawings each time. It’s all so fun!! DX
Out of all the many available options (many milk teas, fruit iced teas, the frappuccino blends, and the Snowtwists – a light and fluffy halfway point between a smoothie and a milkshake), the taro milk tea is my favorite. It’s a nice opaque light purple color, and is derived from the taro root, found most commonly in Asian cuisine. It is a nice sweet earthy flavor, almost like a sweet popcorn. I cannot get enough of it.
My friend’s drink is the honeydew avocado Snowtwist, consisting primarily of blended ice and avocado. This sounds like a potentially awful idea, but in all honesty, it is delicious. The avocado doesn’t have a very strong flavor, and when blended becomes a thick, whipped froth. The honeydew flavor, as with all the different flavors, is just perfect. It ends up being an icy, sweet, bright and healthy drink.
So – first: try boba. Second: try boba at Got Tea?. They are the best. Oh! And make sure you give it a second try if you don’t like it at first; everyone I’ve introduced it to usually dislikes it at first, but on second try they become addicted.
Drink boba. And have fun!