With more than eight boba shops within a two block radius of Sproul Plaza, it’s safe to say that students at UC Berkeley essentially fuel themselves with boba. From everyone’s preferred brown sugar pearl milk concoction to a fruity Yakult beverage, here is the Clog-approved list of boba flavors we feel everyone should try.
Okinawa Milk Tea
For the ultimate combination of rich sweetness and caffeine (as much as you can get from milk tea, anyway), this is the drink for you. Giving you the milk tea taste you expect from boba, the brown sugar used in this drink in comparison to a classic milk tea gives it a more well-rounded and complex flavor. The brown sugar, paired with the black tea, mellows out the strong bitter flavor of the leaves, giving a softer profile that pairs well with the stronger bitter notes in the sugar.
If you need something refreshing on a hot summer’s day, a fruit-based Yakult drink is just the treat. The tanginess of the Yakult is offset nicely by the sweet fruit nectar added to the drink, be it mango, lychee or another variant. The drink is also more water-based than your typical milk tea, adding a sense of lightness that is hard to find in another boba drink. While we at the Clog recommend a topping of boba with any of our picks, the beauty of the Fruit Yakult is that it works with most toppings; the fruit base pairs well with jelly or a richer pearl.
If dessert in drink form is your desire, this decadent concoction is the perfect option for you. Luxurious and filling, brown sugar boba is made with tapioca pearls cooked in brown sugar, topped off with milk and a mysterious creamy solution. The effect: a perfect explosion between the richness of brown sugar and tapioca, balanced off with plain milk. To make it a little lighter, soy milk adds just the right amount of bitterness that can round it all off.
Oolong milk tea
A very popular tea in its pure, water-based form, the fresh notes in this Chinese tea give a twist to what you’d expect from the typical bubble tea. While the roasting and preparation of the leaves doesn’t differ much from your typical black tea, the origin or “terroir” (a specialized term for the environment the leaves are grown in) gives it a unique flavor that distinguishes it from any other tea. Simply put, the lighter roast gives it a more subtle flavor that panders well to those who aren’t a fan of a strong tea.
Classic milk tea
Of course, no boba recommendation is complete without the classic, the drink that started it all. We’re not putting this on the list just because it’s the OG, however. Black milk tea is the chosen mother of all bubble tea, the forebear, for a reason. With the strong caffeine profile and bitterness of a dark roast tea, each sip of this drink is a delight. With a little bit of tea to combat the flavor, each nibble and sip perfectly mixes both flavors to create a symphony of boba delight. We’re not exaggerating, either.
We hope you take these ultimate boba recommendations and give these flavors a try yourself. Whether you only have one of them, or try all five and make an occasion of it — we guarantee that there’s something for everyone on this list.
Contact Chandini Dialani at [email protected].