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Aug 27, 2004 12:24 PM

Is there any Boba TEA in Tallahassee?

  • k

Is there any Boba TEA in Tallahassee?

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  1. t
    Tandoori Girl

    What is Boba TEA? Is that a restaurant?

    1. c
      Celeste Barrett

      Boba tea is the newest craze in Gainesville, FL, and after I read your post I admit I had to drive down to Bento Cafe for some! We have two Boba tea places and I can't believe they wouldn;t have at least one in Tallahassee, it being a college town and all.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Celeste Barrett
        s.m. koppelman

        Can't speak for Tallahassee, but Bubble tea (I can pronounce the letter "L" so I don't feel a need to transcribe Engrish) is virtually nonexistent in South Florida. It hasn't escaped a small handful of immigrant Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants in the suburbs yet. You'd think South Beach would be drowning in the stuff by now but as far as I know it's not even on the radar. Nice (and pleasingly baffling) to hear it's all the rage in Gainesville. How did it get there? Was there a big recent wave of Chinese immigration there?

        For the uninitiated, bubble tea, boba tea, tapioca or sago pearl tea or whatever you want to call it, is as far as I know a Hong Kong-originated genre of sweet drinks, hot or cold, with a fistful of rubbery tapioca or sago pearls on the bottom. You usually drink it with a very wide straw so the balls don't get stuck. The base drink can be anything from a red, black, green or other tea with or without condensed milk, or iced coffee, or a fruit smoothie, or juice, or a fruity powdered mix, or sweet cooked red beans or sweet potato or chunks of young coconut or things like lychees or longans or the like in a sugar syrup, or Ovaltine or whatever.

        As far as I know it made the jump to larger North American Chinatowns quietly in the early 1990s and started crossing over to non-Asians a few years later in places like NYC, SF, Vancouver, etc.. I first had it in '94 or so at the original Sweet'n'Tart on Mott St. The average Vancouver 'hound probably had it a year or two before that. By 1999-2000 or so it had spread to smaller Chinese and Southeast Asian immigrant enclaves and it crossed over to the mainstream in some big cities and college towns.

        If you're buying one for me, I'll have an iced (cubes, not crushed) black milk tea with sago pearls.

        1. re: s.m. koppelman
          Original poster

          Your information on the origins of Boba is inaccurate. It's from Taiwan NOT Hong Kong. It started in Gainesville because a Taiwanese alumni had the means to start a small shop. His family also own Schezuan (sorry spelling) Panda. He went to Taiwan and really enjoyed the drink and decided to bring it to small hubble g-ville.

          1. re: Original poster
            s.m. koppelman

            I'll be darned. Taiwan! I always figured it was an HK thing because I first ran across it at HK-style cafes in Manhattan's Chinatown, and not in Flushing where the obvious NYC Taiwanese food businesses were at the time.

          2. re: s.m. koppelman
            Alex Doddridge

            Desperatley looking for a Bubble Tea in miami to go to. I lived in Honduras and they even have one there, but not in Miami, you would think something like that would go greattt in Miami, if anyone knows PLEASE email me back!

            1. re: Alex Doddridge

              The bookstore where I work is going to start supplying it in a while(we're looking into it). I agree that Bubble Tea would do great in Miami. Check out the link to the bookstore for all the info. :D


              1. re: Chi

                There is a place called Cafe Cafe at 55th Street Station off of Biscayne, near Morningside. They have various flavors of bubble tea. Finally!

              2. re: Alex Doddridge

                Yes, there's a pan-asian lunch place that offers bubble tea on US-1 and Kendall. It's in the mall with the best buy, micheals, bedbath and beyond, etc...across from dadeland north metrorail station.

          3. There's a Lollicup in Orlando, they have the best Boba Teas in Florida or anywhere,go to to check out there locations. They offer more than 120 different varieties of drinks.

            1. Far East Cuisine (tasty Vietnamese and decent Chinese), just off of Timberlane and next to TJ Maxx, makes a passable version. They seem to be milk teas though, instead of the jasmine/green and red tea selections of Bento Cafe in G'ville (I miss Bento!).

              There is also a great Asian food store down near Southwood, on Capital Circle, that carries the large tapioca pearls if you want to make your own; just soak them in as heated mixture of agave nectar or honey and water (1:1) to soften. I still haven't been able to find the straws though...

              1. North China Gourmet in Market Square of Timberlane makes excellent bubble tea. I get it every time I go (my favorite is black milk, but I've tried the strawberry and melon and both are equally delicious.) The food is really great as well.