coffee / food

Bubble Tea Battle #1

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Disclaimer: Please do not attempt to drink all that I have featured here within less than 2 weeks, as I have done. You won’t end up happy looking at your wallet and the scale.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, I have to admit, I actually did drink everything in this post in under two weeks in order to feature their photos in this post. It’s been a delicious experience. I may or may not also be sipping on a Honey Milk Tea from Gong Cha as I’m writing this…

My favorite bubble tea flavour has got to be Honey Milk Tea, which is why I decided to order that at every one of the bubble tea shops I went to in order to fairly compare them all. Here is a list of the shops and their particular locations I went to for this post:

I had to get my hands on those duo cups after Instagram was flooded with them in pretty colors! Tucked under Superstore in Richmond, there is more than ample free parking opportunities, in comparison to their Downtown location. It’s definitely a pricey bubble tea experience, with $4.50 for a typical bubble milk tea, then $1.50 extra to split flavours, and an extra $0.50 for each topping. As a result, I paid close to $7 for a duo cup with Honey Milk Tea and Matcha Milk Tea and pearls. Both flavours were delicious, with the Honey Milk Tea still being my #1. It’s slightly difficult to drink in the duo cup since the top of the cup is not separated, meaning the flavours can mix if you shake around the cup. I would definitely go here again, but would skip the duo cups because it’s pricey, and you actually get less to drink because of the cut out at the bottom of the cup.

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Tucked away inside the New Westminster SkyTrain station, Bobacabana has a ton of unique bubble tea flavours, and are especially known for their ice cream slush and cute pineapple logo! The drinks featured in the image above are (left to right): Red Velvet Ice Cream Slush, Honey Greek Yogurt Slush with pearls, Oreo and Cream Slush with pearls, and Hong Kong Coffee with grass jelly. The Hong Kong Coffee one tasted just like an iced latte – not a whole lot different than what you’d get at Starbucks, except here you can add fun toppings to it. All three of the ice cream slushes were incredibly sweet and do taste exactly like what they are called. They were too sweet for my liking, and after being in the sun for about 15mins the Honey Greek Yogurt Slush just tasted like melted yogurt. If you’re in the area and have a sweet tooth, I’d suggest trying it out one of the ice cream slushes. However, it’s definitely not a bubble tea shop I’d go out of my way to get to. If I do end up going back, I’ll try my usual Honey Milk Tea and not venture out.

One of my favorite new-found bubble tea shops! It’s pretty inconvenient unless you live in the South Granville area (close to the Arthur Laing Bridge), but it’s slightly more cost efficient than all the other bubble tea shops in Vancouver. I heard that this place is a hit or miss with people, but I’ve had positive experiences on all my visits thus far. The service is super friendly. I’d recommend checking out their menu beforehand because their menu is written on a chalkboard and quite hard to read, especially if there are other people standing in the crammed space. It would also be nice if they allowed you to choose the level of ice and sugar in your drink like most places are doing now It seems to be a family owned shop, and I definitely hope to see them open another location that is easy to commute to.

I got to try Milk Cha at the Richmond Night Market. I don’t think they have a permanent location in Metro Vancouver besides this one. They only sell their 6-7 different flavours of Butterfly Pea drinks. I chose the one mixed with Thai Milk (they didn’t have Honey Milk Tea). They also provided no toppings, which was a disappointment because isn’t that the best part? At $5, it was definitely expensive for no toppings, and no customization options in terms of ice or sugar. I didn’t like this flavour at all. It was extremely sweet. I’m not sure if that’s because of the Thai Milk, since I had never had that before, but I was told that Butterfly Pea doesn’t have its own flavour – just the color and health benefits. I’m pretty skeptical about how healthy it could be when mixed with a ton of milk and sugar, but here’s to hoping.

This place was all the rage when they first opened and were having their BOGO deals last year on Robson Street. I personally don’t find their tea to be super great. When I order Honey Milk Tea it feels like I’m just drinking cold milk with some drops of honey in it. Once of my friends decided to get their Butterfly Pea drink when we went together. She only wanted it for the photo opportunity, since they’re known to have beautiful ombre colors. However, her entire drink was yellow, and after we waited about 20 minutes because they told us it would take that long for the color to change – it didn’t. I’m pretty sure that in the rush, they made the order wrong. Another time I went, all the store associates were yelling at each other for a good 5 minutes, knowing that I was there, before they took my order in a hasty manner. Hopefully this was a rare occurrence.

I was super excited when I heard a new bubble tea chain opened not 1, but 2 locations in Vancouver. I went to Happy Lemon’s Robson Street location (seems to be the 1 street that’s home to all of Downtown’s bubble tea shops) and ordered a Milk Tea with Pearls. They don’t have Honey Milk Tea at Happy Lemon, which is a bummer. This location was incredibly small. If you’re not looking for it, you’ll definitely miss it. I wish it was bigger. The store is super narrow and can hardly fit 5 guests near the cash register. The day I got this I had to carry a ton of other stuff, and was in a rush, so by the time I could really sit and enjoy this drink, the ice had mostly melted, so I don’t think I had the best experience to be able to review it 100% truthfully. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the flavour of the tea, and it didn’t bother me that there was no honey in this one. I’ve had a plain Milk Tea from CoCo before, and I remember disliking it greatly. I will definitely check out Happy Lemon again, and maybe even one of their lemon drinks since it’s in the name.

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I had been to 720 Sweets before to try out their ice cream, but when I found out they had released a bubble tea collectionΒ ANDΒ they had a BOGO promotion going on, it was time to revisit. Surprisingly, it wasn’t busy at around 8pm on a Friday when my friend and I got here. They were giving out samples of their Honey Lychee Oolong, which was really good! My friend and I both wanted to get different flavours (yes, for aesthetic purposes – no shame), so she got that one, and I got a Jasmine Milk Tea (closest thing to Honey Milk Tea). She got hers with coconut jelly, as was recommended in store, and I got mine with pearls. The toppings were also free with this promotion. Although we both agree that the one she got was really good, and worth getting again, the Jasmine Milk Tea had absolutely no flavour whatsoever. The pearls also had no flavour, which didn’t make up for the lack of sweetness in the drink itself. Since they also have the teabags sitting in the drinks, after about 30 minutes, the Jasmine Milk Tea became very bitter. Having worked at a tea company before myself, I know that oolong is the only kind of tea that won’t go bitter in flavour if you leave the tea bag in, whereas with green tea, you need to take the tea bag out after 1 minute in order to prevent bitterness.

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CHATIME! Everyone and their grandmother knows that I am 100% devoted and faithful to Chatime. Here, I tend to go for my typical Honey Milk Tea, or their infamous Roasted Milk Tea, which is one of their most popular drinks. I definitely recommend getting it if you like milk tea and want to try something new. No matter how busy it gets, they always get the order right – even if it might take a long time to do it in some locations. Their best locations in terms of speed are definitely the one in Richmond and Downtown. The one on Broadway and in Surrey take a really long time, even if you’re the only one there. All of their locations provide ample sitting space. You’re able to specify the level of ice and sugar you want, and choose from a really extensive menu of drinks. It also doesn’t hurt that their branding is cute, and they have their own rewards program for devotees like me! I’ve said goodbye to Starbucks, and a big hello to Chatime. *fangirling*

I’m definitely not done trying all the bubble tea shops in the city. Please let me know what your faves are! I’d love to check them out πŸ™‚

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One thought on “Bubble Tea Battle #1

  1. You should definitely try dragon ball tea house! Cash only and bery small but they have the best pearls in my opinion. Some even call to order ahead because of the huge lineups! But so worth it!

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