Where to Get The Best Boba Tea in Gainesville

If you’ve never tried bubble tea, you’re missing out. Bubble tea, or boba, is a Taiwanese tea-based drink. The basic recipe calls for tea and milk, then the fun parts—toppings. Popular toppings include tapioca pearls (boba), fruit jelly, popping boba and more. Before college, I’d never tried boba, but when my roommate introduced me to it, I was instantly obsessed. Since then, going for boba has become a regular activity for me and my friends. We’ve tried a variety of places, so we decided it was about time to go on a quest to find the best boba in Gainesville. To do this, we got a taro milk tea from three of our favorite locations and two news ones, then taste-tested and rated each one.

First, here are three great runners-up of spots to grab boba (and other delicious food) that didn’t quite make our top two.

J-Petal

Boba rating: 3/5

I’d never been to J-Petal, but when I walked inside, I immediately loved the pastel aesthetic and soft music playing in the background. My friends and I agreed that the calm atmosphere and spacious seating made it a perfect place for a chill hangout. They offer poke bowls and sweet or savory crepes, which are served in a rolled cone that make them easy to eat on the go. As for the boba, it was my personal favorite, even though my friends preferred other places. The taro flavor was strong without being overwhelming. If you want a calm, less crowded place to hang out and enjoy good food, check out J-Petal.

Kung Fu Tea

Boba rating: 3.2/5

Kung Fu Tea is an off-campus boba option, located close to J-Petal off Archer. None of my friends or I had tried it, but we’d heard nothing but good things. When we went in, there was fun, high-energy music playing and lots of people studying or playing games with their friends while eating dinner. It seemed like the type of place where it was easy to become a regular. We ordered taro milk tea again, but there were also espresso beverages that awoke my coffee craving. This is an awesome place for dedicated tea drinkers, as the tea flavor in the drink was more distinctive and present than in other options.

PokéBowl Station

Boba rating: 3.5/5

I’m super obsessed with PokéBowl Station, mostly thanks to their fresh-ingredient poke bowls. The restaurant offers more than the name suggests, though. Located on University Avenue, it’s one of the more convenient locations for students who live on campus and don’t drive. They also have egg waffles with rolled ice cream that put you in a treat-yourself mood. The best feature of PokéBowl Station’s boba is the price: for about five dollars (the same price for boba as every other location listed), you get a bubble tea the size of a Starbucks venti. Make sure to follow PokéBowl Station on Instagram—they often post poke bowl and boba combo specials.

Finally, here are our top two boba places in Gainesville:

Second Place: TeaStori

Boba rating: 4/5

If you’ve gone for boba before, you’ve probably gone to TeaStori. If you haven’t been, you’re going to leave with more than boba—trust me. I always go with the out intentions to buy much, but something about the flowery, succulent-filled shop makes me take out my wallet. TeaStori offers a variety of mochi ice cream—pounded sticky rice with an ice cream filling—along with macarons and acai bowls. In our taste test, my friends and I agreed that the boba lives up to the hype. Going with a big group can be challenging, as its popularity means it’s often crowded, but I’d considered it a must-visit in Gainesville.

Our Pick for Best Boba: Tea Moment

Boba rating: 4.5/5

Tea Moment is small and tucked away with other similar-sized restaurants, such as The Spot, but it’s worth seeking out. Don’t let the size or more-limited menu dissuade you—this is a great option for anyone who wants reasonably priced and delicious boba. While the serving size is a bit smaller comparatively, the taste of the tea and tapioca pearls make up for it. All of us agreed that it had the strongest and most flavorful taro, as well as the best tapioca pearls. Since it is on University and all of us live on campus, Tea Moment makes for an awesome place for a treat between classes or before an exam.

Ultimately, we discovered that there’s no way to go wrong with bubble tea (even though we all had boba-induced stomachaches). For me, the best part of getting boba is going with friends, so whether it’s a quick stop or weekend excursion, it’s totally worth a try.