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illustrations of bubble tea
September 13, 2019
3 mins read

Snacks of UBC: Bubble tea

Snacks of UBC

Bubble tea (a.k.a. boba, pearl milk tea, or tapioca tea, amongst other aliases) is the new coffee and go-to comfort drink for many students, ourselves included.

A combination of tea (e.g. black, green, or oolong) and tapioca pearls, bubble tea is highly customizable, just like non-standard timetables. You can get it with or without milk, hot or cold, and with your choice of flavour.

Maybe you have never tried bubble tea and are wondering why a drink necessitates, of all things, chewing. But your taste buds are in for a bubbly treat. Tell them to say “bonjour” to the sweetness from the milk and the subtle bitterness of the tea. And, hey, you can stay hydrated and get some extra Vitamin D.

The most iconic of the options? We think it’s the classic milk tea with pearls. Rich black tea, al dente tapioca pearls, the golden ratio of sugar to milk. Now, that’s our idea of the ultimate bubble tea.

As your resident UBC foodies, one of us hailing from the birthplace of bubble tea and the other a long-time bubble tea connoisseur, we’re giving you the inside scoop on where to get your fix on campus.

1. Pearl Fever Tea House

2182 Western Parkway

Iced black milk tea with pearls

Price: $5.75 (including tax)

Richness of tea: A subtle cadence

Pearl rating: It’s got that extra hint of sweetness

Shawn: Oh, wow, I’m totally sold. She chewy, she yum, she caramelized-ish. I wish I knew how to quit her. Man, it’s so good that my sorrows are sinking out of sight like Jack Dawson.

Sara: I would buy an extra one for my boo, Jack.

Shawn: Well, Rose, I don’t know. Maybe all that ice brings back bad memories.

Would you cry if you spilt this milk (tea)?

Sara: Yes, while watching Titanic.

2. CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice

5728 University Boulevard

Iced milk tea with pearls

Price: $5.36 (including tax)

Richness of tea: Rich with flavour to make you want more

Pearl rating: Da queen of pearls

Sara: I’d honestly say this is the Beyoncé of milk tea.

Shawn: I love these pearls. I mean, they’re flawless in formation and singularly irreplaceable.  

Sara: I am crazy in love with this.

Would you cry if you spilt this milk (tea)?

Shawn: You would bathe in these waterfalls of tears.

3. PhTea

The Nest

Iced black milk tea with pearls

Price: $4.94 (including tax)

Richness of tea: A wafting hint of tea leaf

Pearl rating: Textures for everyone

Shawn: Wow. Dude, that was so speedy. I love it when other people are punctual, 'cause I’m always running late.

Sara: This is perfect to grab for that 10-minute break between lectures.

Shawn: Word. Hey, just a thought, I’ll actually bring this bubble tea to my workout sessions. This has got to be the best option to stay hydrated.

Would you cry if you spilt this milk (tea)?

Sara: I’d already be crying over the midterm I’m late for.

4. Chatime (at Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle)

3313 Shrum Lane

Iced black milk tea with pearls

Price: $5.78 (including tax)

Richness of tea: This is what you come to Chatime for, y’all

Pearl rating: Simple in sweetness and chewiness

Sara: This really takes me back to my trip around Asia last summer. Such a classic.

Shawn: I can taste the Taiwan in this. And man, it’s Goldilocks—just right in chewiness; all 3 bears would be happy. Who needs honey when you have bubble tea?

Sara: It definitely adds that sweetness to my day.

Would you cry if you spilt this milk (tea)?

Shawn: Yeah, I will cry enough tears to supply the bears with water for 5 years.

So, whenever you’re craving some comfort, be sure to keep these tea-rrific places in mind!

Sara and Shawn cheers-ing their drinks outside the nest