Bam badda bam bam baaaaa *FIFA game style entry*
.BUBBLE TEA WORLD CUP.
I have a problem. I do. I confess.
It wasn’t always this way, the first time I tried bubble tea I couldn’t understand why anyone would ever want a to drink such a heinous concotion…chewy balls masquerading as pearls in a milkshake-esque drink…why? Here’s why: It’s yumma. Yup. I just hadn’t found the right flavour you see? It’s all about combination.
After my not so enjoyable first taste of the unconventional drink hailing from Hong Kong, I decided to try again a few months later. I had mango tea with passion-fruit bubbles from Bubbleology, I also had a sip of my friend’s strawberry and kiwi mix which was
almost as good. I was sold. From this point on, I have travelled zone 1 far and wide sampling many many bubble teas.
In my eyes, a bubble tea café’s worth is intrinsically linked to the tea/juice/boba selection. Sometimes I want an ice cold juice with the added excitement of popping bubbles but then next time I might want a slushy delight finished with classic black tapioca “pearls”…then again, I might be having a crazy day and decide that a caramel mousse black tea is the way forward…which it isn’t…but if I’m feeling it, you better be able to provide it….
Below I have shortlisted the contenders for Cirque’s Central London Bubble Tea Championships. All of them offer options options options but the tea’s appeal is also very much in its composition. So, let the games begin!
Café and drink will be scored the following criteria:
Café- 4/5. Drink- 4/5.
Decorated like a lab, Bubbleology pride themselves on their interesting creations. So many teas, so many toppings, for this reason I think it’s the best place to start if you are trying bubble tea for the first time. They have a range of safe fruit tea options which you can try before branching out into the world of egg pudding and taro milk (which the do also serve).
Café- 4/5. Drink- 4/5.
There are multiple Chatimes dotted across central and no matter which one I go to, the people are always so cheery. It makes me cheery…the people and the tea make me cheery…Chatime has the biggest selection I have come across so far and you can also opt for normal, half or low sugar amongst other modifications! All their drinks are displayed on light boards by the counter but the staff are more than happy to help you out and make recommendations. However I tend to stick to my Bubbleology favourite here too. Occasionally, I might add some QQ Jelly.
Café- 3/5. Drink- 2/5.
My order (taro milk) came quickly and the service was pleasant but the drink wasn’t quite as pleasant as it was lumpy…there were Unidentified Floaty Orange Objects in it and the ice was too much, too much.
Café- 3.5/5. Drink 3.5/5
Purple, purple everywhere. Music also. Boba Jam seemed like a chill place for lunch and dinner but I had a limited time so I could only enjoy the K-pop (INFINITE yeeeee) whilst waiting for my caramel milk with black pearls. It was yummy but nada too special. I was playing it safe.
Café- 3/5. Drink- -5/5, ERROR ALERT.
The staff seemed a bit rushed and it took a while waiting
for doom. I had made a massive mistake. Hearing ‘Caramel Mousse Tea’ makes you think good things no? I like caramel, I like mousse and although recently converted, I like tea. I don’t however, I know now, like Caramel Mousse Tea. ‘What could go wrong?’ I thought, everything. It was a strong black tea with a layer of lightly flavoured mousse. It needed to be heavily flavoured and there needed to be a lot more of it. Mistake, mistake. Determined not to waste the precious pearls I have come to adore, I had to make a switch with the cold tea for some hot squash. It tasted much better and I was so proud of myself until I realised it felt like the plastic cup was melting. All round disaster.
Café- 4/5. Drink- 3.5/5.
Good view from a massive front window (at both Soho branches) which makes for excellent people watching. The seats looked comfy but since I got my drink to go, I can only speculate. I liked the cute block mascot! I went for the taro pudding special…It was special…I’m still trying to work out my feelings on the pudding/bubble tea mix but I’m thinking the score would have been 4/5 sans pudding.
Café- 4.5/5. Drink- 4.5/5.
A sort of Taro & Hazelnut frappuccino with tapioca. Finish one, want another. LAkwatsa may not rival chains like bubbleology and Chatime in selection but they are definitely the most innovative café I have come across. Plus, they have SWINGS (and plugs and WiFi).
On prices- The range was from £2.95 to £4.50 across regular to large sizes. £4.50 is a bit steep for a drink but still not much more than a milkshake in your average restaurant and it is well worth it for a sit-down
swinging experience like in Lakwatsa.
Winner to be announced soon
It would be a tie but I’m learning to be assertive and decisive…effectively it is a tie tho…