i am relatively new to Washington DC and looking for boba tea shops. i am from Houston where they abound - speaking of, though, the teas i am used to are not thick and pudding-y or smoothie-like, as i have read in many descriptions of local fare. are boba teas really like that up here? is there anywhere to get the thinner, more drink-like kind i am used to?
What flavors are you looking for? There are plenty of bubble tea spots in the greater DC area. The Eden Center is a good bet if you're in NoVa. The whole center is practically swimming in bubbles. There you'll find bubble drinks including thai tea, sweet coffee, tropical shakes (e.g., avocado, jackfruit, durian, mango, etc., etc.). In DC, Teaism has a nice milk tea with bubbles. And in Maryland, there's a TenRen Tea in a shopping center (825-G Rockville Pike) that has great bubble teas. They have a wide selection tea (duh!) based bubble drinks. Hope this helps with bubble needs.
Ten Ren and Eden Center are the only places I go, now that I have figured out how to make it myself.
For a quick fix: The Tivoli markets by the Ballson and Rosslyn Metro stops sell bubble tea, thought the pearls were undercooked last time I tried...that's usually just a bad batch....but reason enough for me to not return.
Larry's Cookies (Courthouse Metro, Courthouse Plaza across from the AMC 8 theater) also once undercooked bubbles for me, and they use the powdered flavors...again, for a quick fix only.
Also near Dupont Circle, there's the Chinese dive on Conn. that sells "BOBA Tea" for $2.50, and it's as good at the stuff they have at Teaism. I don't recommend the food...god awful.
Many Asian markets (Great Wall, Maxim, H-Mart) now sell instant tapioca pearls that cook up in 5 minutes. Traditional pearls can take a half hour of simmering. Add a little Rock Candy, milk, and your choice of Tea, and you have any bubble milk tea to your own taste. Unfortunately, my favorite is Taro Root, so I hit the Eden Center for that!
Forgot about Wok & Roll...consistent, but they use powdered mixes. They also offer it hot!
I hesitate to write this because the boba I had there was not particularly good, but for a quick fix in the downtown area, there's a pan-Asian place on the north side of L Street, between 19th and 20th, that carries it. I can't remember the name of the restaurant. When you order the fruit flavors what you get is more of a slushy, ice-cream concoction. But the green tea version of more of a drink. Still, not much you can do about the big glop of pearls stuck together at the bottom of your cup, unfortunately.
In think the Chinese dive on Conn Ave is closed - the owners are retiring. I read something about Wok & Roll in Chinatown, will venture over. Thank you for all the other locations - I will put the info to good use!
There use to be a place in Tyson's Corner mall that also offered it, it was an ice cream place by the older food court, Lee's Ice Cream. I'm not sure if they still offer it or not.
I'm from LA, visiting DC during August. On the way out to Wolf Trap, I stopped at "Song (Suong) Que" for some boba tea after hearing about it on the boards. It's located in the Eden Shopping Center near Four Sisters Restaurant.
I got the mango w/ boba drink. The mango was freshly blended although not quite as tasty as I had hoped. Maybe it's too late in the season, but it didnt taste as sweet. The boba was ok.. chewy, but didnt seem fresh (went at 8pm) and maybe a little undercooked.
5/10 compared to LA places (Green Tea House, Lollicup, etc)