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Bubble Tea in SF

are there any good places? made with real tea and not too sweet. I had better ones in San Mateo but so far have not found one that I like yet. Thanks

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  1. I would love to know as well... the only place I've been to in the city in Quickly... I think there is probably much better.

    What do you mean by real tea though? What is fake tea?

    4 Replies
    1. re: gemster

      There are typically two types of Bubble tea fruit-flavored teas and milk teas.. I prefer the tea fusion which is hard to find. The most authentic is Taiwanese black tea, condensed milk, honey and tapioca pearls.. I had this version in Vancouver, Canada.

        1. re: rworange

          Had to google Ten Ren, might be just the right place and promising.. thanks!!!

          Northern California
          TenRen San Francisco - Chinatown
          949 Grant Ave.
          San Francisco, CA 94108
          Tel: 415/362-0656 Fax: 415/362-0657
          Hours: 7 days a week, 9AM-9PM
          Also serving Pearl, Tapioca, Bubble tea

          Ten Ren Milpitas
          1732 N. Milpitas Blvd.
          Milpitas, CA 95035
          Tel: 408/946-1118 Fax: 408/263-1728
          Also serving Pearl, Tapioca, Bubble tea

          Ten Ren Cupertino
          10881 N. Wolfe Rd. (Cupertino Village)
          Cupertino, CA 95014
          Tel: 408/873-2038 Fax: 408/873-2918
          Hours:
          Also serving Pearl, Tapioca, Bubble tea

          Ten Ren Richmond
          3288 Pierce St. #C141 (Pacific East Mall)
          Richmond, CA 94804
          Tel: 510/526-3989 Fax. 510/526-8877
          Also serving Pearl, Tapioca, Bubble tea

          1. re: Lori SF

            If you are ever in the Pacific East Mall, try the Boba tea at the little boba tea place around the corner from Ten Ren. They always have boba with the consistency it should be. Chewy & with some spring (jiao tou), flavorful, not soggy on the outside and hard in the middle (big pet peeve). The tea is quite good also. I usually go for basic milk tea, and I believe they use real tea and milk, not powder. At least it tastes that way.

    2. I can't take the caffeine in tea, but the other drinks at Sweetheart Cafe on Grant Ave. are really good--natural tasting, not too sweet, and they always seem to be very busy.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Chandavkl

        sometimes they are made with teas without caffeine. thanks I will give Sweetheart a try.

        1. re: Lori SF

          Is this Sweeetheart the same as the on in Berkeley on Durant? That place has excellent tapioca pearls...

        2. re: Chandavkl

          Is this Sweetheart one of three locations, with the other in Milpitas Square, the other in Oakland? I thought that was run and owned by a guy from Hong Kong called Mr. Poon.

          The MS location used to have a decent chrysanthemum tapioca tea, but last time I had it years back it was all sugary water with litte tea taste.

          As inconsistent as they are, I'd vote for Ten Ren for natural tasting tea, at least I just stick with honey lemon green tea with aloe vera. Not too huge on the fruit syrup flavors.

          1. re: K K

            Last I checked, the 3 Sweethearts were Oakland, Berkeley, and Milpitas. I haven't been to the Milpitas one, but between Oakland and Berkeley, I prefer the Oakland branch.

            1. re: shortexact

              is the BT more tea or more tea milk?

              1. re: Lori SF

                The berkeley one is more tea milk.

        3. I have asked myself this, too. A lot of people (yes, Yelp) seem very fond of Wonderful Foods at 2035 Irving and Ten Ren Tea Co. with multiple locations... but I cannot vouch for either. Also read good things about Sweetheart Cafe. If you haven't already, you might try searching Yelp for bubble and boba tea to find out who's making it and go from there, since so many places are unknown.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Annie S.

            boba is different, I think that does contain dairy and is foamy. not really sure. I think I have been to the one on Irving if that is at near 19th Ave, not bad but not the real deal..if that is the place, I will check it out since I live so close. thanks

            1. re: Lori SF

              yes that's the one near 21st/22nd and Irving -- next to double rainbow.

              1. re: kc72

                Just wanted to correct the location. They have since moved and are no longer next to Quickly, which used to be Double Rainbow. They are now on Irving St. between 21st and 22nd across the street from Walgreens. You had the streets right but the neighbor wrong.

                1. re: sylphi

                  thanks, havent been out i that area in a couple yrs.

              2. re: Lori SF

                Well in Mandarin you have:

                Buo Ba Nai Cha - tapioca milk tea

                Poh Muo Lu/Hung Cha - Bubble green or red tea

                Either way bubbles are formed from the hand or machine shaken martini shakers.
                You can have tapioca with "bubble" tea, although I'm wondering if vendors confuse customers by making people think bubbles are the tapioca balls and not the result of a shakedown that Jimmy Bond wouldn't approve of.

                1. re: K K

                  When adding flavor, the tea and flavoring needed to be shaken well for a good all around taste. This formed bubbles in the drink, which came to be known as "Bubble Tea."

                  info from here-http://www.bubbleteasupply.com/index....

                  1. re: K K

                    On the east coast boba/tapioca is referred to as bubble, which is likely the source of the confusion. I love the poh muo version with tapioca, but I don't think I've found a place like that here.

                    And Lori - that site you linked to seems to say that the "bubbles" are the tapioca, not the result of shaking.

                    1. re: K K

                      Thanks for the info. I have been wanting to try Bubble/Boba/Tapioca tea for awhile now but wanted to know 1. the difference between all of them, and 2. where to get a good one. This thread is perfect for me!

                2. I just stumbled onto a great Tapioca Milk Tea place - Eggettes in South San Francisco. I definitely recommend it!

                  Apparently they have 2 stores in SF as well, but I don't know how those are.

                  1. I like Chai-yo on Polk Street, near Bush. They have a wide variety of flavors, the tapioca beads are a nice consistency (slightly sweet and not too hard or too soft), and it's not sugary.

                    As for places I'd stay away from-- I can't remember the name of it, but there is a tea&smoothie places two stores down from Good Luck Dim Sum on Clement that was wayyy too sugary. It's the only time I've had boba tea that was so awful that I couldn't take more than two sips.