A stable of Taiwan ‘80s night markets, Bubble Tea – commonly known as Boba, invaded the U.S. and the world with its chewy, sweet, and addictive texture of tapioca balls blended perfectly with the creaminess of the milky tea. Especially in Los Angeles, where this sensational drink has become a landmark in a culture. Let’s examine the origin and influences in the vibrant LA of Boba Tea.
The origin of Boba Tea
Boba Tea dated back to the 1980s when the Chun Shui Tang tea room pioneered serving tea on cold ice, and later in 1988, when their product development manager, Lin Hsiu Hui poured tapioca balls into the tea, creating the first-ever Boba Tea.
Bubble tea has become more than a beverage in Taiwan; it has become an enduring icon of the country’s culture and gastronomic heritage. So much so that April 30 is now their National Bubble Tea Day for the year 2020.
Everyone loves Boba Tea, including the U.S.
In the 1990s, Taiwanese immigrants in Cupertino, California, launched the first bubble tea shop, Fantasia Coffee & Tea. Since then, businesses such as Tapioca Express, Quickly, Lollicup, and Q-Cup have arisen, introducing the Taiwanese bubble tea trend to the United States in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Bubble tea is popularly referred to as “boba” in the Asian-American community. And nobody loves Boba Tea more than Los Angeles, their craze for this drink situated this as one of LA’s most beloved cultured cuisine.
The best shops in town
Alfred Tea Room – Alfred Street
This lovely store off Melrose Place is the ideal, small hideaway for a modern spin on the tea house, complete with natural sweeteners. They have a delicious matcha tea and tea latte to which you may add your boba – either hot or iced – as well as the Alfred Pink Drink, which looks exactly like it sounds. It’s beet-infused and sweetened with strawberry and pomegranate, and it’s one of their most popular boba flavors.
Boba Guys – Culver City
Andrew Chau and Bin Chen have received national recognition for their artisanal, “third wave roasting” approach to boba since opening as a pop-up in San Francisco in 2011. Straus Family Creamery organic milk, house-brewed heirloom premium tea, house-made syrup (no powders or commercial syrups), Grade A balls, and homemade almond and grass jelly are among the high-end ingredients available at The Boba Guys.
Bubble U – Broadway Street
Bubble U is the place to go for the best bubble tea in Chinatown if you’re looking for a nice Taiwanese boba tea establishment in the heart of Chinatown. Apart from boba, they have teas, ice, smoothies, and all the toppings you could want. Bento boxes, as well as treats like popcorn chicken, squid balls, and flavored french fries, are ideal for accompanying your tea beverage.
Half & Half Good Old Time – San Gabriel Valley
With multiple Tea House / Tea Express outlets and notably outstanding tea and freshly soaked boba, Half & Half is a longtime San Gabriel Valley favorite. The Half & Half Good Old Time menu includes yogurt drinks, slushes, and smoothies, as well as brick toasts and dry noodles, just when you thought tea house menus couldn’t get much more thorough.
Little Fluffy Head Cafe – 7th Street
This tiny tea business in the heart of Downtown LA will have you rethinking what it means to have cheese on your tea if you’re searching for something different. While other establishments offer milky toppings, Little Fluffy Head offers a choice of “cheeses” with which to top any tea.
Mini Moster – Universal Citywalk – Universal City Plaza
Mini Monster, located at Universal CityWalk Hollywood, serves up some of LA’s most Instagram-worthy cocktails. For that perfect shot, order your cocktail in a large upside-down light bulb or an etched mason jar, topped with a spun-to-order cotton candy cloud. Don’t miss the ganache-filled Mini Macarons!
Pearl’s Finest Teas – N Fairfax Avenue
Pearl’s Finest Teas, a hidden gem on Fairfax that sells Boba Tea gorgeous enough to water a unicorn, prides itself on using all-natural sweeteners while crafting visually appealing teas that span the rainbow. They provide a small selection of refined drinks, like horchata boba milk tea, charango, and orange yuzu, to which you can add boba.