Pearls of sweet surprise are trending across America as a Taiwanese delicacy becomes a favorite go-to drink. Boba tea, or bubble tea, is a sweet tea drink filled with bouncy, chewy tapioca or fruit balls.
Lawrence is no stranger to America’s trends, and has four boba tea shops to choose from: Ding Tea Lawrence, HiTea, House of Cha and Presotea.
If you’re a stranger to the trend and want to try out boba for yourself, here’s what you need to know: Boba tea is typically made from a cold green tea or black tea base with milk, syrup or powder flavoring and tapioca balls added in. However, some drinks stray away from the typical teas. For example, some shops offer taro, fruit and oolong teas and flavors.
If you are new to tea, and don't like the typical bitter flavor, a fruit tea is a good starting point.
All four shops have an array of toppings for your teas: boba, pudding, grass jelly or aloe vera. Boba can be made from the traditional tapioca pearls or can be a burst of fruity juices that add tang to your drink. Pudding topping is a chewy custard like ingredient that is the perfect pair to creamier teas. Grass jelly is like pudding but in more of a jello form and is a unique twist on any drink. Aloe vera is cubed jellies soaked in syrup, and although it is bland in flavor, it offers health benefits and is perfect pair in bold fruity drinks.
Wanting to try out boba for yourself? Here's CHALK's guide to Lawrence's spots:
Ding Tea Lawrence is located at 1004 Massachusetts. St. and offers a large arrangement of tea and coffee with over 50 drink options.
Out of the four tea shops, I find this one slightly limiting in its boba pearl options as there are only around three or four boba flavors. I typically get the honey milk tea with crystal fruit boba because the sweet honeydew flavor is paired perfectly with the citrus flavor.
HiTea is just down the road from Ding Tea at 914 Massachusetts St. This tea shop offers roughly seven types of boba and over 40 drink flavors with a modern and trendy interior design.
The best drink from here, recommended by servers, is the strawberry milk tea with mango popping boba.
House of Cha is right off of Massachusetts St. at 21 W 9th St. and has roughly 10 boba pearl flavors to choose from and over 30 drink flavors.
My favorite drink from here is a taro bubble tea with peach popping boba.
The final shop is Presotea at 2540 Iowa St. This shop has three types of boba and roughly 50 drink flavors but is much farther from campus than the other shops, making it more easily overlooked. However, this shop has my favorite mildly sweet option, blueberry aloe vera chia seed with white pearl boba.
Each shop has options for everyone. Though none of the shops are open before 11 a.m., they are all a perfect option for an afternoon treat.