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Bubble Tea

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I've been reading about bubble tea. Sadly, I have yet to try it. I did a search on Amazon.com Restaurants and found only one place with Bubble Tea on the menu - somewhere in Rockville. I realize Amazon.com isn't the most recent reference so I thought I would come to the best source available. Anyone know where to get Bubble Tea in the District (not NoVa or Maryland)? I simply do not have the time to travel to Eden Center everytime I get a craving for Bubble Tea! Thanks!

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  1. Spare yourself. This concoction is awful. The sweetened, flavored, cold tea can be palatable, but the--forgive me--mucus-like marbles of tapioca bubbles are unappealing, to say the best.

    I tried it out of town (at a Hong Kong tea shop in, of all places, Houston), so I don't know where, locally, you should not go to so as to avoid consuming this gross, gimmicky, grog.

    2 Replies
    1. re: PoolBoy

      Bubble tea, or pearl milk tea, or boba, or whatever you want to call it, can be an acquired taste. Even if you don't enjoy chewing on delicious tapioca balls and yummy milk tea, many others really really go crazy about it and love it - try visiting California and in some towns the milk tea/boba places outnumber Starbucks. I'm sorry you find it unpalatable, but you don't have to attack it. I've had friends who've hated their first sips, and toss the cup away, who are now just as hooked as I am. Personally, I don't think boba out east is really that good, though Saints Alp in New York is comparable to what you can find in California/Taiwan.

      1. re: kat

        I really like Tenren in rockvilles bubble tea. Definitely better than i-cream across the parking lot.

        Too bad teaism only has the one variety.

    2. On the other hand, some of us *like* bubble tea... (I recommend almond, taro, or red bean - the fruit flavors can be harshly artificial and overly sweet)

      Last year people reported that Wok & Roll in Chinatown was serving bubble tea, and Teaism (all three locations) has their version called "Zhenzhou Pearls".

      Bubble tea, like good Chinese food, is much easier to find in the suburbs.

      1 Reply
      1. re: coastcat

        Wok and Roll in Chinatown definitely has bubble tea and makes a pretty good one (I actually prefer the bubble coffee). The oriental supermarket across the street has large-guage straws and tapioca balls for making your own- just make sure that you use a low boil, otherwise the balls turn to mush.

      2. Where else but the Mall in Columbia? I get one every time I go there.

        You guys out there will just enjoy watching the young lady making it. My wife says "I know why you always get a bubble tea!" Macha Mango is my favorite.

        1. Bubble tea is nothing but delicious, especially in the summer months. Suong Que in Edens Center is my favorite place for it, but if you're in downtown DC, the Phillip's Cafe on 14th and H Street, NW has it in a few powdered milk flavors. Teaism also carries it, in a form, and calls it zhenzhou pearls, or something along those lines. Enjoy your tea, and remember it's pretty filling.

          1. If you try it somewhere and like it, I have an oversupply of the tapioca pearls (I went for the colored ones rather than black)and the large straws. You can buy ingredients on the web, but they come primarily in packs intended for shop use, rather than home use.

            You are welcome to share my supply if you decide you like bubble tea and want to make it yourself. Making it at home lets you control the sweetness of the tea/coffee/juice and pull it down to an adult's palate level.

            1. I happen to like bubble tea BUT I will say that ever place makes theirs differently, so a bad experience could keep you from trying it again.

              The place you are talking about in Rockville (they have a second shop in College Park which serves food) is called TenRen. The Rockville shop is tiny so you might miss it in the Wintergreen shopping center. I think that's the one; it has Benjarong restaurant in the front of the shopping center. It's a tea shop with a tiny counter just inside the door for bubble teas. You can get them with our without milk (without is more refreshing in the summer). The only flavor I've tried so far and don't like is Plum (it's salted). Vanilla is my most favorite, taro is new to my list and gaining in popularity for me. Sour Apple is just fun!

              I once tried the bubble tea at Produce Galore in Columbia and the bubbles were OLD, hard, and rotten (the bubbles do not last very long and should NOT be stored for long periods of time once prepared). I nearly gagged!!! If that was someone's first experience, they'd never try it again. Bubbles should almost be the consistency of gummy bears, which is what they remind me of.

              An Loi, a delicious Vietnamese restaurant in Columbia (can you guess where I live) has bubble tea but I've not yet tried it. The Monkey Bee bubble tea stand in The Mall in Columbia is OK but they are WAY over priced. Their small is half the size of tea at the TenRen shop for the SAME price. The bubbles here are also not as sweet as the TenRen bubbles, so it's up to you.

              Give it a try. If nothing more, you'll have fun shooting bubbles at stop signs (as I look the other way innocently)!

              Link: http://www.tenren.com/

              1 Reply
              1. re: SisterT

                Good advice--I had the plum at TenRen, and could stomach only two or three sips. I'll try again, but this time with a different flavor.

              2. Yep, Wok & Roll on H St in Chinatown has the tapioca ball sweet tea with milk, but so does the a nearby cheap Chinese restaurant (next door to Chinatown Express with its window to noodle-making) which has Chinese bakery items too. On 6th St. Haven't had it there tho.

                I just tried Teaism's Zhenzhou Pearls last night - quite good (only 1 flavor tho).
                BTW, Teaism Penn Quarter has free food at their Thurs-Fri "happy hour."

                I tend to find bubble tea fruit shakes a bit too sweet, so I sometimes ask the handler to dilute it a bit with tea.

                Near Ten Ren Tea Co in Wintergreen Plaza is a shop called "i cream" which also has bubble tea shakes. Ten Ren recently opened a store on Rte 1 in College Park.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Lauryn

                  I think Wok 'n' Roll has the largest selection in DC proper (over a dozen varieties with green/black/milk tea). They also have free delivery.

                2. Hooray! Bubble Tea is a complete hit! I tried the almond milk tea with tapioca yesterday at Wok and Roll and gulped it down quickly. I actually dreamt about bubble tea last night (sad, sad I know - I've also had dreams about tomato soup). Today - I plan on ordering plum. Tomorrow - who knows - I just hope they are open on Sundays. Thanks, 'hounds! You've help me add another item to my long list of obsessions!

                  1. i guess when it comes to bubble tea, you either love it or hate... or hate it everytime your girlfriend ordered it and made you try it! ..ha
                    truth is, you gotta find a bubble tea concoction that you like.
                    it comes as a milky tea liquid with the tapioca "bubbles" with ice in it (this form i'm not too fond of)
                    or as a "smoothy" with the bubbles.
                    depending on the flavor you ask for depends on the type of form it will be served (iced or smoothy-like) ..be sure to say when you order what you prefer.

                    there are many bubble tea places in the China Town area of DC near the Verizon center, but i have found the best bubble tea is in College Park right off of 1 at a place called Yami Yami.

                    try many flavors in different ways.. one may seem not all that tasty and another amazing! so don't get discouraged..
                    *when i first heard of Avacado bubble tea, i thought "oh god, that sounds gross!"
                    but it is my absolute favorite and it's hard to find. Yami Yami has the best Avacado bubble tea I've ever had (ask for extra bubbles, shake, and enjoy!)

                    1. My favorite is the mango bubble tea at Thanh Son Tofu in Eden Center. The bubble tea there has a thick "smoothy" consistency. Unfortunately, this place is so popular that you'll probably have to wait a long time to be served.

                      Wherever you go for bubble tea, go to a place that serves a lot of it. I've found that only at such places can you be sure that the tapioca bubbles are fresh. (As tapioca bubbles go stale, they become tough.)

                      Thanh Son Tofu
                      6793A Wilson Blvd, Falls Church, VA

                      1. Glad you enjoyed your Bubble Tea! Along with TenRen's on Rockville Pike, Maria's Bakery (in a small strip mall next to Buy Buy Baby) and Jin Shan Supermarket (at 300 N Washington St.) also offers this drink.