By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern
Chewy bubbles burst in your mouth as you suck the sweet tapioca spheres through the milk tea’s straw. This delicious dessert-style caffeinated drink, named boba tea, is a common Taiwanese drink that has been gaining popularity in the United States, especially among young adults and teens.
If you are unfamiliar with boba, that’s okay, I was too! Boba drinks are typically a blended drink or a milk tea, with the boba spheres at the top or bottom. There are several boba places around the Phoenix Metro area, but today we’re focusing on five spots in particular and their most popular flavors that are sure to please.
Pop ‘N Tea Bar
Pop ‘N Tea Bar is located in downtown Phoenix, on McDowell and 7th Avenue. This trendy spot features a modern atmosphere, with white walls, herringbone patterned tile on the wall behind the bar, and statement walls perfect for photo-ops for the ever-present influencer.
The east wall hosts a mural with black letters stating, “you are somebody to me”, and in grey cursive behind the word “somebody” is the phrase “not just anybody”. Near the front of the shop, there is a spot on the west wall with faux shrubbery covering it, and a neon pink sign stating, “today was a good day”.
You walk up to the bar to order. Here you see a refrigerated case full of what Pop ‘N Tea calls “diamond bars”. They are rectangular ice cream and gelato pops, but with a spiky diamond 3D pattern to them, formed by using special molds.
Other items on their menu include the popular boba teas, gelato, smoothies, slushies, iced coffee, regular teas, sorbetto, and more. Their most popular boba drinks include the horchata and Love Potion flavors, which is a combination of lychee, raspberry, white tea, and strawberry heart jelly boba.
Bubble Bee has locations in Scottsdale, Tempe, and Gilbert, so you are sure to find one no matter what end of the valley you live on. Living up to its name, its store is decorated in black and yellow colors, with hexagonal tiles lining the wall behind the counter. Floor to ceiling glass windows cast a plethora of natural light over the high tables and barstools.
Bubble Bee has become quite popular, especially through their well-known cups with plastic, sealed lids and “fat straws”. They serve coffee, sparkling drinks, zero calorie drinks, tea only drinks, as well as “edibles”, which is their boba that you can add to any drink.
Their variety of boba ranges, from spheres made with honey or aloe vera, to chewy ones made with jelly, and even juice-filled ones, aptly named “poppers”. The favorite flavors here are the Valentine Drink (a rose milk tea with heart shaped strawberry jellies) and The Love Story (organic green tea, pomegranate, strawberry, vanilla bean, and peach).
This shop sells so much more than donuts, although they do have delicious ones! Bosa sells breakfast sandwiches, boba, smoothies, and coffee, making it the perfect place to stop for breakfast or a snack. It’s a pretty casual environment, with basic tiling and seating.
They have locations all over Arizona, namely Phoenix, Mesa, Queen Creek, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Chandler, Peoria, Casa Grande, Payson, Surprise, Glendale, and San Tan Valley, with even more locations coming soon (find the complete list here).
You can add boba to any smoothie, but the most popular to pair with boba is the Mango smoothie. Thai iced tea is another popular boba item here, made from Ceylon black tea that is grown in Southeast Asia.
This shop is located in Gilbert, near the intersection of Williams Field and Gilbert Road. It’s another basic boba shop, similar to Bosa Donut’s environment.
Their drinks include cheese tea (a tea with a creamy, cheesy foam on top), creamy slushies, fruit tea, smoothies, lemonades, milk tea, and various fast food snacks. Their newest flavor, brown sugar fresh milk, is already a hit.
Urban Boba Tea House
Urban Boba Tea House in located in Tempe, close to Apache and Rural Rd. This is definitely the place to stop if you’re a student on ASU campus, whether you’re meeting up with friends, celebrating something, or need a pick me up after a bad test.
This shop features high rise tables and stools, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, bistro lights, and even a wall of plush boba stuffies you can purchase, take home, and snuggle with after your drink is all gone.
Their menu includes milk tea, iced tea, frappes, herbal tea, fruity smoothies, icy slushes, and Monster energy drink slushes, perfect for students who need that caffeine rush to stay awake for the early morning classes and late night homework sessions.
Whether you’re in Scottsdale or San Tan Valley, you are sure to find a boba shop that pleases your palette. Try a few of these different places with friends or family and see which one you like best!
You can also find more drink recipes on Fill Your Plate’s recipe database!