Fruity, creamy and undeniably yummy, boba milk tea, or bubble tea, is one of the strangest and tastiest teas to hit the states. Originally created in China in the 1980’s, this Taiwanese tea-based drink is super sweet and favored by kids and adults all around the world. The thought of drinking a milky sweet tea with chewable chunks in it may not sound all that appetizing. But you’d be surprised how much fun it is to sip and slurp flavored tapioca bubbles through a big straw! With endless varieties, toppings and flavor combos, this bubbly beverage takes tea sipping to a whole new level! So if you’re in the mood for a delicious Asian beverage with an American twist, here are 8 fantastic spots around Austin to find flavored bubble tea.
A creative tea concept in Austin, Teapioca Lounge serves up a veritable bevy of beverages that range from Taiwanese snow ice, teas and cocktails to frozen yogurt, fresh fruit juices and faloodeh. Since its inception, this trendy tea lounge has expended to several franchises and locations around Austin, Oklahoma and the east coast. But Austin still remains Teapioca’s home base, where families and friends can find a treat that suits every mood. On the menu you’ll find a selection of smoothies, slushes, coffees, juices, frappiocas, which are frozen coffees with tapioca, Snowyn, which is a flavored sno-cone made with or without cream, and Cream Blasteas: Teapioca’s version of milk tea. Cream BlasTeas come in dozens of flavors, including Green BlasTea, Chai Cream BlasTea, Honeydew Cream BlasTea, Peppermint Green Green BlasTea, Salted Caramel Thai BlasTea, Oolong Cream BlasTea and Matcha Cream Green Tea. So no matter what palate you’re picking for, you can find the perfect boba tea for you. As with the rest of the frozen drinks on the menu, you can also add fun fruit gels and tapioca toppings to your Cream BlasTea. Some of the different drink add-ons include gelatins in green apple, yogurt peach, mixed coffee, lychee and mango gel, as well as egg pudding, almond pudding, mango pudding, cookies, fruit bursters, basil seeds, aloe vera, red beans and, of course, tapioca in baby and regular sizes. So don’t be shy about trying something new and different, because you never know what you’ll find!
Tucked in the University of Texas campus, Mango8 is a casual little juice spot where students and Austinites can grab a drink or frozen dessert between classes or between exploring. This cool cafe has everything from smoothies and sweet teas to boba drinks and soft, fluffy shaved ice, which customers can’t stop raving about. The snow ice portions are ridiculously huge and could easily feed several people, but you may not want to share after you’ve had a bite of this light, sugary little piece of heaven. Locals love this place because its friendly, delicious and super convenient. They even deliver to Sushi Niichi right next door, so you can dine on sashimi and maki rolls for dinner then finish off with a satisfying tapioca milk tea dessert. Some popular menu picks among the regulars at Mango8 include the Creamy Milk snow ice with taro pudding and grass jelly, Jasmine Tea with lychee and passion fruit syrup, citrusy Butterfly Lemonade and Longhorn Soda with lychee. They even serve some of their soda and teas out of lightbulbs! Which, needless to say, makes for a very colorful and Insta-worthy photo op. #Foodpic anyone? And if it’s boba tea you’re after, you can find a great selection of milk and infused teas and add your own combination of tapioca toppings. For something dark, strong and super sweet, try the Thai Tea with Tapioca. Or for something sugary and refreshing try the Honey Green Tea with Lychee jelly. The Classic Milk Tea with tapioca is always a safe bet for delicious boba. But the customer favorite at Mango8 seems to be the Butterfly Green Milk Tea, which is sweet, silky and served with delicious crystal tapioca.
101 by Tea Haus
The little sister concept to TeaHaus in Northcross Mall, 101 is a tiny Asian fusion cafe that specializes in cocktails, teas, coffees and savory bar bites. This new nighttime eatery blends traditional Asian with contemporary American, with bite-sized offerings like Basil Fried Chicken, Braised Pork Belly, Tornado Fries, Thai Tea, Cappucino, cocktails and Asian tea. Think Asian tapas meets happy-hour meets Starbucks. For the foodies, the seasoned Chi-Maek Wings and infused Earl Grey Tea Rice Krispie Treat are a customer favorite. And the Bulgogi Tots are crispy, salty-sweet and finger-licking good. And if you’re looking for something with a little more punch, try one of 101’s Signature Sips, like the Pom Pom with pomegranate liqueur and Tito’s, the Mint Blueberry Hard Lemonade with Jameson or the Jasmine Whiskey with jasmine green tea and Jameson. For those with a serious sweet tooth, try one of 101’s delicious desserts like Earl Grey tea-infused London Fog Panna Cotta, Japanese Cotton Cheesecake, Milk Tea Muffins and Sea Salt Coffee Cookies. Or go all out with a sweet Soju Specialty like the Melona Soju, Mint Sojito with rum and lime or the Watermelon Soju served out of an entire watermelon! For an after-dinner delight, order one of 101’s inventive tea and coffee drinks, including Milk Tea Affogato with soft serve, Sea Salt Creme Coffee, Grapefruit Honey Green Tea with jasmine green tea, Boba Jasmine Milk Tea with cream and honey boba and the OG Boba Milk Tea with rich black tea, cream and honey boba. This eclectic cafe is perfect for a quick drink or snack after work, a late dinner or a sweet nightcap with a Taiwanese twist.
Set up in eclectic east Austin, Koriente is a cute Mom-and-Pop restaurant that specializes in super fresh, organic Asian fusion cuisine. This super food cafe was created by a matriarch on a mission to make a guilt-free yet indulgent menu full of foods that are not only good but good for you. Just follow the idyllic garden path out front until you reach the door. Then head inside for a warm welcome and a great meal. Perfect for picky eaters and calorie-conscious folks, Koriente offers a wide selections of non-GMO, made-from-scratch dishes that can accommodate even the strictest of diets without compromising taste. In place of sugars and fatty corn syrup, they use honey and agave. And absolutely nothing on the menu is deep fried or microwaved. Instead you’ll find wholesome and satisfying dishes like Pan Seared Ahi Tuna, Mix Mix Bibimbop, Koriente Curry, Korean Japchei and Terikyaki Chicken. Koriente also has a great beverage list that’s brimming with exotic teas and drinks such as African Autumn Red Tea, Jasmine Green Tea, Cinnamon Tea, Chai Tea and the crowd pleaser: bubble tea, which is available with or without milk. Take your pick from an impressive list of bubble tea flavors like honeydew, strawberry, chai, matcha green tea, passion fruit, peach, jasmine, taro and classic black. This saccharine tea treat is probably going to be the biggest calorie splurge of your meal, especially if you order milk tea. Fortunately for us, the rest of the menu is so incredibly light and nutritious that there’s still plenty of room left for a big cup of bubble tea after a hearty Korean inspired meal.
Operating from a small trailer off Guadalupe St., HiTea is a hip little cafe where you can grab a quick and tasty treat for after noon tea, or “High Tea”. Though this tiny tea truck is mobile, you can usually find it parked in a small lot next to Don Japanese Kitchen. HiTea offers creative and intriguing teas, slushes and other refreshments that challenge the conventions of the average cup of tea. They even offer an irresistible BOGO deal Tuesday-Thursday that will keep you coming back for more. This hipster take on a Taiwanese tea shop mixes traditional and modern flavors and recipes to create a totally unique type of tea. Popular signature drinks at HiTea include the Hi White Grape Oolong, Brûlée Matcha Cream Tea, real fruit Mango Slushie, Taro Cream Milk Tea, and Milk Tea with tapioca. Then things get a little weird…you can add a cheese cap to your tea for an extra layer of creamy savory goodness. Cheese in tea?! It’s actually pretty popular on the west coast, but that doesn’t make it any less unusual! If you want to try a cheese cap at HiTea but aren’t sure you’re ready to commit, they’ll let you try a sample just to to see. But you’re definitely going to want to try it, because it’s one of the most interesting things you’ve ever tasted! Some say it adds a cheesecake taste to the tea. Savvy boba customers hold HiTea’s boba tea in high regards. The original Milk Boba Tea is a local fav and the Oreo Cheese Cap Milk Tea is just as incredible as it sounds. HiTea is a place to leave your expectations about tea behind and try something totally outside the norm and totally delicious!
Tucked in a small spot on Guadalupe, KBop serves up contemporary Korean cuisine with a good ol’ Texas twist. Inside you’ll find bright colors, lots of natural light and plenty of picnic-style seating to share. This healthy fusion cafe is great for a low-cal lunch or guilt-free but filling dinner. They’ve got everything from loaded lunch Bento Boxes and assorted Kimbops to Bulgogi bowls and real-fruit smoothies. You can keep it simple with a small soup or go all out with a massive Kimchi Fried Rice Bowl. And KBop offers of long list of Asian-inspired beverages to wash everything down. The tea lovers of Austin appreciate KBop’s refreshing selection of green teas and specialty teas such as Yoolmoo Tea, Citrus Tea, Strawberry Green Tea, Mango Green tea, Jasmine Green Tea and Passion Fruit Green Tea. And for the milk tea maniacs there’s a multitude of milk tea varieties to choose from including Honey Milk Tea, Coconut Milk Tea, Mango Milk tea, Green Milk Tea, Caramel Milk Tea, Coffee Milk Tea and Taro Milk Tea. But the best part is that you can make any of the teas or smoothies into bubble drinks by adding chewy tapioca toppings for just 50 cents. So you can have your bubble tea and drink it too!
One of the only concepts of its kind in Austin, Dawa Sushi is a mobile Asian fusion revolution that takes the sushi bar right to you! Dawa operates from a food truck that moves around the city, and they can be booked for catering events, parties or a private dinner in your kitchen comprised of fresh sushi and flavorful Korean dishes. Hit up this transient sushi truck during their daily happy hour, or order ahead and have sushi deliciousness delivered right to your doorstep. Dawa’s menu is packed with tantalizing appetizers like Baked Mussels, Mango Springs Rolls and Spicy Tuna Tacos and entrees like zesty Kimchis, Udon Noodle Soup, Bibimbop, Beef Bulgogi and deep-fried Cutsu Don. They’ve even got something simple yet sinfully delectable called Kimcheese Fried Rice, which is topped with spicy kimchi and melted mozzarella. Dawa also boasts a strong sushi game, dishing out everything from Eel rolls, Spicy California rolls and Dragon Rolls to specialty rolls with fun names. Their mouthwatering specialty maki rolls include the Blue Liner with tempura crab, spicy yellowtail and wasabi mayo sauce, the Waikiki Beach Roll with soft shell crab, tuna and avocado and the Maui Volcano Roll with baked crab, avocado and cheese. To drink, you can choose a traditional iced or hot green tea, or treat yourself to a lip-smacking bubble tea smoothie in flavors like mango, green tea latte, honeydew, strawberry, lemon, taro, coffee and original milk tea. There’s a flavor for virtually every palate. And honestly you can’t go wrong with any of them!
Located off Austin-chic east Riverside, Pho Please is a fresh and modern Vietnamese fusion cafe with a little something for everyone! Their menu focuses on clean, simple comfort food made with quality ingredients and a little Austin flare. This cheeky cafe has a lofty and stylish interior, with high ceilings, a modern industrial feel and plenty of places to sit and sip noodles for lunch or dinner. As you may have guessed from the name, this eponymous funky restaurant specializes in pho of all kinds, from vegetarian and pescatarian to carnivore and omnivore options. But Pho Please offers so much more than pho! They’ve got steamed flour Bao buns, larger than life Banh Mi Vietnamese baguette sandwiches, egg rolls, springs rolls, rice bowls, vermicelli noodle bowls, salads that could feed an army and pho for days. Just about everything on the menu comes with different meat and non-meat alternatives, and there’s a fully stocked condiment bar with extra fixins, so you can have your pho exactly the way you like it. Some of the more popular menu picks at Pho Please include the Brisket and Flank Pho with bean sprouts, jalapeños, basil and lime, the tender Pork Belly Bao, which is sweet and savory at the same time and the Chicken Wonton Pho, a Chinese-Vietnamese hybrid unlike any other pho. The drink menu at Pho Please caters to the tea drinkers and boba drink seekers. Try the refreshing limeade on a hot summer day or order a traditional Vietnamese coffee for a sweet caffeinated post-meal drink. But if it’s boba tea you’re craving, you can find what you’re looking for in several varieties like Lychee Fruit Green Tea, Thai Tea, Taro Milk Tea, Passion Fruit Green Tea, Black Milk Tea and the customer favorite: Matcha Green Thai Tea, which is a colorful feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.
Boasting two locations in north Austin and downtown, Coco’s Cafe is casual Taiwanese restaurant with a savory, satisfying menu and some of the best boba tea in town. The original location on the Drag is cozy and quaint, with a walk up counter and a few bar-style tables. This location is more of a grab-and-go spot, since it can easily fill up on a Thursday or Friday night. But locals say the drinks are worth the crowd, with a ginormous menu that ranges from smoothies, slushies and shaved ice to green teas, black teas, milk teas and coffees. If you’re feeling a little peckish, Coco’s also has a savory food menu with small dishes like Spiced Kelp and Steamed Vegetable Dumplings, rice bowls with a variety of meats and veggies and steaming hot noodle dishes like Sa Cha Lo Mein and Spicy Beef Noodle Soup. If you’re a vegetarian, they’ve got a great Curry Tofu and Peppercorn Tofu with rice. And for the carnivores, the Fried Chicken Noodle Soup and Meatball Vermicilli Soup will really hit the spot. This downtown Taiwanese treasure has something to suit every mood and craving. Yelpers and locals love to talk about the boba tea at Coco’s. Everyone has a different favorite, from Coconut Milk Tea and Jasmine Milk Tea to Sour Plum, Papaya Milk and Taro Milk. With so many drink types and flavor to choose from, there’s endless delicious possibilities. If you like fruity milk tea, then try their Taro Coconut Milk, Watermilk Milk and Avocado Milk Tea. Or for more tea flavor, try the Hot Ginger Black Tea, Thai Tea, Honey Green Tea and Mango Milk Tea. You can even get a coffee or cappuccino and add freshly cooked tapioca beads to put a little pep in your step. Other than fresh tapioca, you can also add flavorful toppings like egg pudding, pineapple jelly, grass jelly, almond pudding and lychee jelly. Coco’s definitely warrants multiple visits just so you can keep experimenting with all the different boba drinks and see which one’s your fav!
Located in a small strip mall in far north Austin, Tomunchi is a charming little self-serve frozen yogurt shop with a great selection of rotating yogurt flavors, fresh fruit smoothies and boba teas. Inside Tomunchi there aren’t a ton of tables and chairs. Just a bright counter with lots of tasty yogurt toppings and walls of fresh froyo in flavors like Cake Batter, Vanilla, Pistachio, Lychee and Taro. You can also top your yogurt with chewy mochi balls, fresh fruit, candies and jellies. Regulars recommend the strawberry and mango frozen yogurt. And just about everyone loves the Chamango smoothie, which is layered with mango and fruit flavors reminiscent of a mangonada. You can usually find the friendly owner hanging around dishing out samples and tips for the best flavors. If you’re looking for something delicious to grab and go, try one of Tomunchi’s smoothies, which come in fruity combos such as Strawberry Banana, Honeydew Cream, Avocado Cream, Mango Pineapple and exotic Durian Cream. The shaved ice at Tomunchi is airy and light, like a sugary cloud melting in your mouth. And it’s even better when you add little flavor morsels like lychee pearls. They’ve also got frozen and hot coffees if you’re in the mood for something a little stronger. But the most popular picks on Tomunchi’s menu – other than the fresh frozen yogurt – are the Crazy Milk Tea and Watermelon Milk Tea. What’s the secret? The owner says he traveled all the way to China to perfect this creamy creation, and he uses only the finest teas to make his boba. While everything at Tomunchi is amazing, you can’t go wrong with one of their specialty boba teas, like the Taro Milk Tea, Mocha Boba Tea, Caramel Milk Green Tea Boba and Mango Boba.