If there’s one thing on Earth that I can’t get enough of, it’s milk tea. However, I’m also the type of person to order the same exact thing every time I go to a restaurant because I like knowing that what I’m ordering will be delicious 10-out-of-10 times. Every time I walked in to get my Friday morning tea before class, I found myself ordering the same thing without fail, despite the vast variety of different flavors on the menu. Eventually, I started to feel like I was missing out—especially after hearing someone else order a strawberry milk tea and seeing the excited look on their face when they got their drink (it was also pink, which ended up being a greater motivator than I’d like to admit).
So, despite the recent news of a woman being hospitalized for drinking too much bubble tea, I decided to randomly select seven flavors from the menu throughout the week and try them all. To keep things consistent, all of the drinks I ordered were from the same place—Chewy Boba Company—since it’s usually my go-to spot near campus. But don’t worry, this isn’t sponsored (even though my wallet wishes it was), and remember, even though my taste buds might’ve loved (or hated) some flavors, yours might feel differently!
To give you all a little background, my favorite flavor was vanilla before I ventured on this milk tea quest. So, as you can imagine, all I ever drank was vanilla milk tea—veering off from that path of sweet familiarity had me feeling a little nervous as I stared at the menu (mostly because milk tea can get a bit pricy, and wasting my money on something that wouldn’t taste good always kept me from trying something new). It took the girl at the counter asking me what I wanted to order to shake me out of my intense staring contest with the board, and the sudden pressure made me pick the first thing that my eyes landed on: coconut.
Honestly, that first sip was like creamy heaven. As a fan of anything coconut flavored, this milk tea was delicious and had such perfect traces of coconut that I chugged it down instantly, barely giving myself enough time to chew the tapioca balls. Funnily enough, the coconut milk tea was the first new drink that I decided to try and it had already ended up knocking vanilla off of its pedestal as my favorite milk tea flavor—which goes to show that trying new things really does have its benefits.
Okay, I admit it, I was weak today. I ended up going with my usual—the vanilla milk tea—but now that I had a new favorite, I was able to judge it without my old bias. Chewy Boba (the UCF location, at least) doesn’t have an actual vanilla milk tea option on the menu, but if you ask, they’ll make it for you using the ingredients they have on hand for their other drinks. As my old go-to, I noticed that it was significantly lighter on the taste buds than the coconut milk tea, so it’s a good choice if you want to pair it with any sort of food you might be eating along with it. But if you’re looking for something sugary, it’s not a flavor that’ll satisfy your sweet tooth.
Normally, strawberry is one of my favorite flavors in anything: candy, ice cream, you name it, I love it. But in terms of milk tea, I’ve got to say it ended up ranking way lower than I expected it to—mostly due to the expectations that I had for it.
The drink itself was super cute! Pink is one of my favorite colors, so I loved how it looked, but when I ordered it, I was expecting a milk tea that tasted closer to a Nesquik strawberry milk—something sweet. Instead, it was more so on the sour side, like an actual strawberry, probably due to the blended fruit bits that I could taste in the drink (which I actually liked a lot; it made me feel like I was drinking something healthier than I normally do). Still, it wouldn’t be a flavor I would order again (and I ended up not finishing it).
To cleanse my palate, I ordered one of those cute macaroons up top—it was hard to choose just one.
After that strawberry betrayal, I was hesitant to try another fruit-based flavor. Despite that, I ended up going with mango after I asked a random patron what their favorite drink was, and was pleasantly surprised with it. Unlike the sour-sweet tango of the strawberry flavor, mango tasted like those hi-chew candies, especially with all the boba in it. It was very sweet (the exact opposite of strawberry) and I would definitely order it again, just in a smaller size since it is much sweeter than the drinks that I’m used to. I loved how tropical the flavor was and ironically I ordered it on the gloomiest (thanks, Florida) day of the week, so it cheered me up with lots of mango-flavored sunshine instantly.
The cute orange color was a bonus, too.
As if my poor vanilla milk tea didn’t get enough of a beating from the coconut flavor, honey came in as a strong contender, knocking it down yet another peg. It tasted like a traditional milk tea with honey perfectly mixed in—not too sweet, not too plain. I went in right when the shop opened, so I felt that it would be the perfect drink for breakfast, combined with fluffy pancakes and eggs.
The boba balls were also really soft today, and I’m not quite sure if that had anything to do with the time of day that I visited, but I loved the texture. It added to the whole appeal of the honey flavor.
So, despite what I said earlier about only going to Chewy Boba Company for the milk teas in order to maintain consistency, I ended up going to Ice & Bites Cafe (I had a full punch card and was able to turn it in for a free drink, so I decided to cheat on CBC for only one night). I ordered the almond milk tea and honestly, for the sake of keeping this article clean, I won’t provide my notes on how I felt about it. All I’ll say is that I drank about a quarter of it before I couldn’t bear to anymore.
I love almond milk (thanks to my sister showing me the light) but there was just something about this drink that didn’t sit right with my taste buds. The aftertaste of it was great, but it was while I was sipping on it and in the process of swallowing that it really tasted off. Definitely not something I’d order again.
Ah, taro. If there’s one milk tea flavor that anyone can recognize, it’s this one, thanks to its iconic lavender color (which I adored). Previously, I had only ever tried it once at a different place (Sno Tea Cafe, which is also by UCF) and had enjoyed it, so I was excited to try CBC’s take on it—especially since they stated that it was their most popular drink.
Much like the honey milk tea, the taro flavor tasted like a traditional milk tea base with some extra stuff added in there to make it unique. You can definitely taste that sweet earthy root which gave the tea a sort of cinnamony trace, and by the halfway point I started comparing it to how your milk tastes after you’ve had two bowls of Fruit Loops.
If there’s one thing you can take away from this article, I’d like it to be that you should always try new things and go out of your comfort zone, especially if you’re a notorious I-always-get-the-same-thing type of person like me. You never know what new flavors you might be missing out on that could be your new favorite, and the same can be applied for your life as well. Always step out of your bubble!
All images provided by the author.
Oh, and always remember your punch cards. I learned that nothing tastes better than a free drink after you’ve spent way too much money on milk tea.