Bubble tea is a delicious Asian beverage that features soft and chewy tapioca pearls. It’s also known as milk tea or boba tea and is one of the most popular tea crazes to hit the United States. The tea was developed in the night markets of Taiwan and can be made using hundreds of different flavors.
Austin is one of the best places to go to try out new culinary sensations and delectable classics. It’s no surprise that Austin has some of the best bubble tea shops in the nation. If you’re looking to try out this drink for the first time or want an obscure flavor, you’re sure to find it at one of these bubble tea shops in Austin.
What Is Bubble Tea?
Bubble tea is traditionally made using a true tea base. That means the drink uses one of the five teas made from the actual tea plant known as Camellia sinensis. These teas include white tea, green tea, oolong tea, black tea, and pu-erh tea. In recent years, boba shops have created fruit smoothie options that don’t contain any teas or use herbal teas, like hibiscus tea, as a base.
What makes boba different from regular teas are the toppings that spice up the beverage. The most common toppings are tapioca balls, but you can also find things like red beans, ice cream, snow ice, avocado, and even cream cheese — known as cheese tea. When ordering bubble tea, most shops will ask you for your desired sweetness level, how much ice you want, and what toppings you’d like.
The 9 Best Places to Go For Bubble Tea in Austin
1. Teapioca Lounge
9600 South IH-35 Suite B-300
Teapioca Lounge is has everything you need to cool off in the simmering Austin heat. From ice cream and snow ice to smoothies and frozen yogurt, you’ll find tasty ways to enjoy bubble tea. Try a frappioca, which features frozen coffee and tapioca toppings. Here you’ll find toppings to suit any flavor with options including mango gelatin, almond pudding, and Butterfinger cookies.
2. Gong Cha
2021 Guadalupe St
Gong Cha is a boba chain that found its initial success in Taiwan. As the company grew, the brand opened new bubble tea shops in different cities across the United States, including Austin, Texas. The company brews fresh tea and cooks tapioca pearls every four hours. All teas are sourced from the finest tea estates in Taiwan for an authentic boba experience.
Try the taro milk or lychee slushie made with shaved ice to cool off in summertime or satisfy a sweet tooth with brown sugar milk tea and tapioca pearls. Don’t forget to add a dollop of milk foam — a lightly salted, creamy foam that makes this beverage feel luxurious.
3. Tea Haus
2525 W Anderson Ln
Tea Haus is a small tea shop that was founded by four friends. The shop serves delicious Thai tea and jasmine milk tea that can be topped with tapioca pearls. Opt for beverages made with dairy milk or choose a vegan option like coconut milk or almond milk. The owners also recently opened 101 by Tea Haus, an Asian-fusion culinary delight where you can grab boba tea and dine on delicacies like basil fried chicken, bamboo, and bulgogi.
4. CoCo’s Café
1910 Guadalupe St
CoCo’s Café offers everything from slushies and shaved ice to true teas and smoothies with tapioca and other boba toppings. Start by choosing a drink and add on toppings like green apple jelly, pineapple jelly, or egg pudding. Some of our favorites include the avocado milk, passionfruit tea, and sour plum green tea.
13343 N Hwy 185 Suite 275
Sharetea was one of the first bubble tea shops to open in the U.S. The company first started serving up bubble tea in Taiwan back in 1992. Today, they have bubble tea shops in more than 18 countries across the globe including one in North Austin. The Austin location features tea flavors from winter melon and ginger to Hokkaido milk tea. Try the aloe vera or aiyu jelly if you’re looking to mix things up with toppings.
6. Kung Fu Tea
9070 Research Blvd Suite # 102
Kung Fu Tea was founded in 2009 by a group of friends who returned from a trip to Taiwan looking for bubble tea. What they found stateside was mediocre, inauthentic versions of the drink. That’s when they decided they’d open their own boba shop to serve up the real thing. Today, Kung Fu tea is one of the biggest names in the industry with dozens of shops across the country. Try their coffee milk tea or honey oolong tea for a mildly sweet flavor or opt for something a bit more fruity and floral with their rosehip milk tea.
705 W 24th St
Located on the University of Texas campus, this bubble tea shop is the Austin hangout for students looking for a tasty treat in between lessons. Try their winter melon jasmine green milk tea or share a mound of colorful shaved ice with your favorite person. You can even get your Taiwanese drinks in a vibrant light bulb cup for a small added fee.
8. Pho Please
1920 East Riverside Dr. D140
Pho Please is a Vietnamese eatery that offers a simple menu highlighted by quality ingredients. It’s a great place to go if you’re looking for some of the best places to eat in Austin and particularly when you want to grab a cup of boba. Their flavors include black milk tea, matcha green Thai tea, and lychee fruit tea.
9. Bambu Dessert & Drinks
10901 N Lamar Blvd
Bambu makes homemade tea and desserts using ingredients like pandan jelly, basil seeds, coconut juice, sugar cane, and longan. Try one of their teas with red beans or fresh cut avocado. Their oolong sea salt tea is a popular favorite with just the right blend of sweet and savory notes.