In the city beautiful, there are so many activities, events, and eateries to partake in. One type of store that has become pretty popular over the past few years, and is popular in the Orlando area, is Boba Tea shops. Boba tea had its origins in Taiwan, and although that fact remains in debate, it’s generally accepted as true. Essentially, the idea and creation of boba began in Taiwan in the 1980s, as tea consumption was a common practice in Asia. However, adding shaved ice and tapioca pearls to tea was a new design. All three elements were insanely popular in their separate ways — tea for drinking, shaved ice and tapioca pearls for dessert. Adding them all together created the drink that has become wildly popular worldwide. As the decades progressed to the present day, there are many types of Boba tea to include four main types that can be found in practically any boba tea store: milk tea (that can be made with milk alternatives), which is a brewed black tea with milk; Thai tea, which is strong black tea brewed sweetened condensed milk; taro tea, which is derived from taro, a root-like vegetable that has its origins in Southeast Asia and it is pureed into a sweet drink; and fruit tea, which is a fruit-based tea that is most often caffeine-free. As for the “bubbles” on the bottom, you can order the regular tapioca pearl, clear boba, popping boba or flavored boba!
I’d like to consider myself a “boba-connoisseur,” so listed below are five boba shops that I have been to and, in my opinion, are some of the best places to get boba around the University of Central Florida and Orlando area!
- Dang boba & Musubi house
Located off of East Colonial, approximately about a nine-minute drive from UCF, is Dang Boba & Musubi House. Dang Boba is one of my personal favorite boba shops because of their extensive menu of boba teas and food options! Looking at their boba tea menu, they have different flavors of milk tea and fruit tea, consisting of flavors such as strawberry, coconut and lychee. They also have premium tea that includes Thai tea, Oreos cookies and creme and pina colada. Also on their menu is a “Taro-Lovers” section made up of different flavors with taro tea! If you’re a UCF Knight I highly suggest the “Knightaro,” but they also have other flavors such as taro-Strawberry and taro-Almond! On my personal favorite side of the menu, they have their “Dang Mixed Originals” which are specialty flavors of boba tea that you can’t find anywhere else! My favorite flavor from the “mixed originals” is called “Thor’s Hammer,” which is a mix of flavors of peach, strawberry and pineapple with tapioca pearls at the bottom! They also have many seasonal flavors as well! One of the seasonal drinks is called the “Buttertea” inspired by Butterbeer from the Harry Potter universe! Dang Boba is the perfect place to go get boba with friends after class, and they have such an extensive list of drinks that you’ll never run out of options and always find something that you’ll like!
- Bento Asian Kitchen + Sushi (UCF Location)
Located right across the street from UCF’s main campus underneath the Plaza on University apartments is Bento Asian Kitchen + Sushi. Bento is not only a boba tea store but a restaurant as well! So if you’re looking to have a rice bowl, poke or sushi with your boba tea, I highly suggest Bento! On their boba tea menu, they have regular milk tea, milk tea smoothies and slushes! All of which consist of different flavors, ranging from strawberry, mango, taro and vanilla! My go-to boba flavor is strawberry, so at Bento, I’ve tried the strawberry milk tea and strawberry slush, both with their honey boba! Bento also has various boba types, from the honey tapioca pearls to popping boba and jellies, with flavors such as lychee, mango and passionfruit!
- MÖGE TEE
Located in Downtown Orlando, about 11 miles from UCF’s main campus, is MÖGE TEE. This tea shop creates tea inspired by traditional Chinese tea culture while adding their unique spin on their drinks. One aspect that I like about this boba tea shop is that they have a cheese foam option that you can add to your boba tea, which is unique and different from the other boba stores I’ve been to! MÖGE TEE has vegan-friendly options for their teas, and their menu is quite extensive: fruit tea with and without cheese foam, milk tea, milk swirl, Uji matcha, yogurt teas (very similar to smoothies), and fresh fruit Yakult. They also have some desserts on their menu, such as soufflés and dorayaki. All of their drinks on the menu have a variety of flavors, from brown sugar, strawberry, mango, dragon fruit and avocado! I recommend trying MÖGE TEE for their unique menu and cheese foam options!
- Chewy Boba Company (Oviedo)
Located right behind the UCF main campus in University Palms Shopping Center is Chewy Boba Company. Walking in you would see their long boba-tea menu of milk teas, smoothies, fraps, slushes and fruit teas, all with a variety of different flavors like passionfruit, coconut, strawberry, taro and brown sugar. I really like Chewy Boba not only because of their vast menu of flavors and tea options, but they also sell mochi, which is a chewy rice cake, and macaroons! Chewy Boba also has seasonal flavors for the holidays. During Halloween, I tried their “Witches’ Brew” which consisted of taro and brown sugar milk tea with boba, and it was delicious! If you’re looking for a place that is close to UCF to get a drink and possibly some macaroons, Chewy Boba Company is definitely a place to try!
Located in downtown Orlando on Mills Ave is ROYALTEA. This boba store is the first ROYALTEA to have a location in the United States, with over 130 stores in China, so trying out ROYALTEA is a must! At ROYALTEA they have cheese mousse tea — boba tea with cheese mousse on top, freshly brewed tea, fresh fruit tea, Uji matcha and traditional boba tea. Their flavors in their teas range from peach oolong, jasmine green tea, strawberry yogurt, lemon-lime, mousse coffee and mousse matcha! ROYALTEA also has a dessert section on their menu consisting of creme brulees! If you’re looking for an adventure into downtown Orlando and are curious to try one of the flavors of teas from one of the only locations in the United States, I’d highly recommend trying ROYALTEA!
Hopefully, this list of boba tea stores will excite you to go adventure out around Orlando and try some new drinks!