Boba Boom: five local Boba shops ranked
Imagine walking into a cafe with the sweet aroma of brown sugar all around you. You go to order and get your drink all packaged up with a cute design on the front. You take your straw and aim to pop the plastic seal. You start to wonder, who doesn’t love boba?
This mouth-watering, milky drink with chewy tapioca pearls has been popping up all over the area in recent years. With so many competitors, how do you know which are worth trying? It can be very hit or miss. I’ve tried five boba shops and ranked them by atmosphere and, most importantly, deliciousness.
16 E Golf Rd Unit E, Schaumburg, IL 60173
Drink of choice: Original Milk Tea ($6.75)
Although the menu is really cool with special drinks that have shimmer inside, they are too watered down. The boba is too hard and the milk does not fare well with it. You can barely taste the tea, which is the essence of bubble tea.
In my opinion, Bearology is overrated. Yes, the atmosphere is nice, but there are other boba places that are much cozier. I love how Bearology gives you the drink in a reusable glass jar, but I think you should save your money and spend it somewhere else because the drink is not worth it, even with the jar.
621 Meacham Rd, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
Drink of choice: Brown Sugar Boba ($5.35)
One weekend, a couple of friends and I decided we were craving some boba and decided to try Bobar. The place was relatively small but very packed, so I went in with high expectations.
When I got my drink, the tapioca pearls had the perfect texture: chewy yet soft. The drink comes in a fairly large cup and my only complaint is the sweetness. The drink was too sugary for my liking, but if you have a sweet tooth, this drink is for you.
3. Hot and Cold Milk Tea
751 W Golf Rd, Schaumburg, IL 60194
Drink of choice: The Signature Milk Tea ($5.50)
From the second I walked in, the atmosphere was, “Wow!”. The color scheme of green and gold gave it a modern, clean look. There is an adorable light sign on a flower wall where you can take pictures. The only problem is that it is really warm inside during the summer, and sometimes, the music is way too loud.
The first time I went there, it was incredible! The boba was perfect with a slight caramel flavor that didn’t overpower the delicious tea that has an ever so slight hint of flowers. So, why is Hot and Cold in third place instead of first? The second time I went back, the drink disappointingly tasted nothing like it did the first time. It was too sweet, and the boba’s texture clashed with the milk tea.
2. Umbrella Tea House
160 S Roselle Rd Ste A2, Schaumburg, IL 60193
Drink of choice: The Brown Sugar Milk Tea ($5.99).
This is one of my favorites. Umbrella Tea was the first place I tried boba, and the drinks were delicious. This one has the perfect amount of sweetness, and the boba is always cooked to perfection.
The whole place is so cute with floral decorations that they update every season. The wall color is dark, and the bright orange lighting gives the shop a warm and cozy feel.
1. Kung Fu Tea
1643 W Algonquin Rd, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008
Drink of choice: Kung Fu Milk Tea ($4.85).
The top spot goes to this hidden gem. Originally, I didn’t even know it existed because it’s a tiny little shop close to a Walmart. I have noticed that people usually prefer to take their drinks to go, as there isn’t really much to see inside. It looks a little gloomy and cold, but do not let that deter you from visiting.
This tasty drink has the aroma of earl gray tea, and the boba is cooked to perfection, with a soft, chewy texture. If you ever get the chance, I would highly recommend trying it out–you will not be disappointed. The flavor is unexplainable, like nothing I have tried before. With hints of floral aroma and a small bit of citrus tang in the creamy tea and caramelly boba, this drink refreshes and makes you want more with each sip.