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Jul 16, 2006 10:32 AM


I just had the greatest experience at the best boba milk tea joint ever. It's called Little Bean in Rowland Heights, CA (on Colima Road), and I gotta tell you -- I've tried boba from Tapioca Express to Lollicup to Ten Ren's, and no boba even remotely compares to the boba I drank at Little Bean. The thing I love the most about this place is that they use REAL FRUIT, so all your drinks are fresh and actually have some form of nutrition in it. (Places like Tapioca Express & Ten Ren all use artificial powder for most of their drinks). They even have all the chinese/taiwanese snacks, candy, and dried fruit you could ever want inside the store. Great service and great boba. Definitely recommended!!

(Note: If you go earlier on weekends, they have mini-bobas which I think are much better than the regular boba. They go much better with your drink)

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    1. re: AlwayzHungry

      Yeah they do... with REAL taro.

      OH yeah, they also have a huge shaved ice for only $2.50! all fresh ingredients to choose from.

    2. makalive45 - This is the greatest news! I love boba, but I am always searching for real fruit instead of the chemical powders; no one seems to do it that way...I thank you so! This is a real find!

      The Little Bean address is 18415 East Colima in Rowland Heights. It looks like they also have a shop in Artesia at 18902 Norwalk Blvd. You might call to make sure: 562.860-8843.

      I will definitely go there!

      Occasionally, the boba shop on Sawtelle right near Orris and on the same side, just occasionally they have fresh fruit (watermelon, pineapple). When they do, they do a good job of making whatever you request,no added sugar, etc. However, it is hit-or-miss; they can be good and not-so-good.

      7 Replies
      1. re: liu

        No added sugar? Whenever I ask about the sugar content at boba places, they admit that they add a(n unflavored) syrup even to the juices and that they'd taste rather bland otherwise. I hope it's not the case, but maybe the misses are from the times they don't add syrup?

        1. re: PseudoNerd

          PseudoNerd -- I am so afraid of those mysterious powders, so I want to SEE what is going into my slush. I try to order a real fruit slush with a fruit that just doesn't need any sugar to help it; pineapple, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, peaches -- they all work well without extra flavor or sugar. So, fresh fruit and ice to a slurpee (very fine!), then add small boba. If you really want some extra flavor and a little sweet, add some lychee jelly!

          Otherwise, there is no way to tell what you are drinking????

          Perhaps I am overly concerned, but I know that it is easy to get all your calories for the week in one of those mysterious liquids!

          1. re: liu

            I agree wholeheartedly! It's the reason why I have boba maybe...once a year? I've definitely had, however, plain sugar syrup added to my "100% fruit juice" drinks even after I'd asked them not to add sugars. Tsk.

            1. re: liu

              personally i think all fruits are seasonal. Sometimes they are sweet but sometimes they will be bitter or sour. i don't believe in fresh fruit drink perosnally because i think they all use syrup. Ten ren's uses syrup in their drinks, and trust me, their pudding and boba are the best!!!!

          2. re: liu

            hi liu;
            i personally think that fruits are seasonal, occasionally you will get sweet and fresh fruits, but sometimes and most of the time you will get it sour or even bitter. so there's no way the tea places don't add syrup in the drinks. i recommended Ten Ren's Tea Time to you, i personally is a Ten ren's believer. they have more than 100 + or drinks to chose from. and their boba, trust me, its the best!!!! they make the boba everyday fresh!!!!!
            so maybe you guys can stop by and give it a try!

            1. re: altheaw

              Hi, altheaw!
              I read your post with much interest. I tried the Ten Ren downtown, but it was years ago. I remember my tea as good, but I did not order a boba tea.
              Is there a specific Ten Ren shop you like? Also, what do you suggest I order?

            2. re: liu

              I don't know if the shops in Rowland Heights and Artesia were ever related, though they may have been at one point. Looking at the pictures on yelp for the Rowland Heights location, they both shared the same chinese name and the logo looked similar. However, the Little Bean in Artesia was renamed by the family that owned it to Happy Nest a year or two ago. As of this summer, the family that owned the Little Bean (Happy Nest) in Artesia sold their shop and, according to the new owners, moved back to Taiwan. I will say however, I was very pleased with the Sheng Jian Bao at the Happy Nest in Artesia, perfectly pan-fried with a lot of juice that exploded out when bitten. That was not on the menu at the old Happy Nest (Little Bean).

              Little Bean
              18902 Norwalk Blvd, Artesia, CA 90701

            3. As a former TapEx worker, just wanted to clarify that TapEx use syrups with real juices in the flavored drinks (though I will admit most of the flavor probably comes from flavoring) ~ and some drinks use the actual fruit (melons, bananas). And yea, places that use powder are generally less tasty (esp. if the powder isn't mixed in well which happens... ecch)

              And personally, my favorite boba place (though after having worked at TapEx for almost 2 years-- it's rare that I get boba with anything! hehe) is Aloha Boba in Monrovia (it's 666 Huntington Blvd.) Their tea for their bobas are brewed-to-order by the cup, and you can taste the difference (compared to the vats of pre-made milk teas most other places have.) Oh yea, and free wifi there!

     has a brief profile and a few reviews (link below):


              5 Replies
              1. re: AquaW

                "...brewed to order..." -- it doesn't get much better than that!

                AquaW -- This sounds so good! Will they fresh brew tea for a green tea slush or just for their regular milk teas? Do they also have fresh fruit for a slush?

                Have you been to the Little Bean in Rowland Heights (the shop that is recommended on this post)? If so, what did you think?

                1. re: liu

                  I wasn't really looking so I couldn't be sure (I only found out that its brewed-to-order because of the longer-than-usual wait time, after which the cashier told me.) But the coconut milk tea I had then tasted really authentic.

                  Haven't been to Little Bean yet but will definitely give it a go next time I'm there (probably after checking out DDR @ Arcade Infinity!!! hehe, sorry in advance for off-topicness)

                  1. re: liu

                    they brew tea only for tea drinks (iced tea, milk tea). brewed tea is impossible to blend into a drinkable slush, so boba places that have tea slush are using powders and syrups and nothng remotely close to actual tea. but they, aloha boba i mean, does have one blended tea drink and that is their green tea smoothie made with real matcha.

                  2. re: AquaW

                    So Aqua, as a former Tapioca Express person, what's your favorite flavour ?

                    BTW at the moment, my favorite Tapioca Express drink especially in these hot summer months is the Honeydew Snow Bubble with coconut jelly, which is generally made at TE with real honeydew. Taro milk is also one of my mainstay drinks, but I'd like to try some of the many different flavors.

                    1. re: mikester

                      Yep, some of the fruit drinks (melons, papayas & bananas I recall) are made with actual fruit.

                      My personal fave is almond/honey milk tea with "pudding" (for those unfamiliar, it's more solid and gelatinous like mango pudding at some Asian places... sans mango.) I also like the Do Do color icy.

                  3. Nobody likes Boba World??? (under reconstruction)

                    I go to the one in Pasadena as I live in the N. SFV, and have always had their Taro/Black tea (don't like fruity things). The boba is always really fresh and the tea/taro flavor is strong. - To me it's the bomb. But, maybe I've not had a "REAL" boba? Also, when I go to Sanamluang, their boba w/tea is yum. Help educate me.....

                    1. ok this is my biggest rant about boba places. i think this is some wacked out thing where the asian mind can't step out from the box. i go to tapex and lollicup and i ask them i want 2 flavors in my snow bubble, and i will pay extra and i won't complain because i like the specific combination. but they give me this "oh we can't do it cause customers will complain if they don't like the taste. I realize it's no burger king where u have it ur way, but i said i will pay extra and i already know what it tastes like. how hard is it for them to get it and put an extra scoop of flavoring. i went to several locations, i really am starting to think either they have idiots working there or the inflexible asian mentality just is pissing me off. i mean this stuff is artificial and not asking u to break some asian taboo or ancient recipe. so now i have to go to boba world, cause they actually will mix flavors and won't charg eme any extra. the best part is that some of these workers when u ask them to mix, they give u this shocked and " u're desecrating boba look". in life it;s usually older people who have difficulty adjusting to new ideas, but i dunno anymore. anybody want to shed light on this please do. and i'm asian so don't think this is some random non-asian ranting for no reason.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: swindledestron

                        Funny! I do "get" what you are saying. I have had the same experience asking for no sugar added. It happens especially when I request no dairy..."but we HAVE" to add dairy to make it look right."

                        I think the answer is to shop with your feet; if you don't like a place, don't try to change them. Rather, go elsewhere! And I am grateful to Chowhound for giving me so many ELSEWHERES!

                        1. re: swindledestron

                          Ohh... my favorite combination is Chocolate Peppermint ~ but I don't expect many places to be able to mix/combo that since not a lot carry mint syrup. As for the no-sugar/no-dairy thing, I do remember a few menu items where dairy is the dealbreaker of the drink (it's kind of like saying "ice cream, but hold the cream" ~ and no, the soy stuff has yet to cut it ;P). But often there are other drinks which has similar flavors (e.g. a Peach Color Icy instead of a Snow Bubble, to address the no-dairy issue)

                          1. re: AquaW

                            There are nights when Chocolate-Mint is the only dessert I want! I go to Lollicup just a couple of doors down from Sushi Tenn and Orris on Sawtelle...pretty tasty, especially if they don't add too much sugar. However, I prefer the real fruit ones, because I still don't trust those powders????? But they do have the mint syrup you mention!