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May 21, 2008 12:05 PM

Boba Tea in NoVA?

I'm dying to try Boba Tea or Bubble Tea. Does anyone know of some good places in Northern Virginia that serve it? I've heard there is a new place opening in Alexandria soon but I was hoping to try it before then. I've also heard the Eden Center has good tea but I can't find any mentions of specific restaurants or cafes. I'd especially like to try chai boba but I'd love to get suggestions for other flavors to try. THANKS!

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  1. There are a few places. A&J in Annadale (off Little River Turnpike, turn right on Markham Rd.) has really good bubble tea - limited flavors but what they do have is quality. In the same shopping center is Maria's Bakery, which has a wider selection of flavors. Several of the banh mi sandwich shops in Eden Center have bubble tea as well - they're on the left side, near Four Sisters and Viet Royale.

    As for flavors, my favorites are the regular milk tea and taro. A&J has a passionfruit bubble tea that's pretty awesome as well - it's straight juice with the bobas.

    5 Replies
    1. re: vanewbie

      I second Maria's Bakery in Eden Center. I also like Kim Phuong Bakery at Eden for Bubble Tea . I always get Boba and their yummy egg rolls to go as a snack. If you're closer to Annandale, most Korean bakeries usually also have Boba. I like Sheila's Bakery. Sheila's also has great bingsoo too (shaved ice with frozen yogurt, fruit, etc.).

      I like Taro or Thai Iced Tea. Kim Phuong also has a good Avocado smoothie you should try. If you've never tried Boba, I would start with the fruit juice varieties with either boba or gelatin. Remember to drink slowly, so as not to choke on the big tapioca balls!

      1. re: vanewbie

        It may be a mis-memory, but I thought I read a recent notice on this board that A&J in Annandale is closing. Sorry if false alarm.

        1. re: Potomac Bob

          I sure hope not. I just went there for dinner tonight and had the cream tea with boba. It was really good.

          1. re: Potomac Bob

            A&J is NOT closing. Kam Sam is closing its Annandale location. A&J does not rent its space from Kam Sam. Come on by- we are OPEN for business. Full disclosure: my family runs A&J.

            1. re: dandanmian

              you don't serve your boba teas with the powdered mix .... do you...??

              and do you have green tea boba??

        2. You can also go to TNR Cafe (Tea Noodles Rice) at the Courthouse metro. On my one trip, they had very solid bubble tea.
          If you're willing to come into the city, I've also been enjoying the bubble tea at Panda Cafe in Foggy Bottom. Avoid Snap and Teaism.
          I would say both of these are better than any of the bubble tea I've had at Eden Center.

          1. Bean Scene Cafe in Ashburn has a good variety of boba tea- I love the lychee!


            1 Reply
            1. re: Aphioni

              i'm not sure where you are. But fractured prune in fairfax has some decent boba and quite a few flavors too. That's where i had my first taste and have been hooked ever since. Even got my wife to become a fellow addict. The taro flavor is awesome. She likes pineapple and strawberry.

            2. Anyone know of a place for Taiwanese Bubble Tea? I'm going to try Shanghai Tea House (in Glover Park) next week...there have been a few positive reports on the board. Am willing to trek to MD for taiwanese bubble tea if anyone has a good recommendation!

              9 Replies
              1. re: pleen

                pleen, not sure what you mean by TAIWANESE Bubble Tea?? Without getting into the politics of Taiwanese, Chinese or just Asian in general--there is not really any distinction between the bubble tea varieties found here in the States. Bubble Tea became popularized in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Vietnam, and Southeast Asia, but the concept is generally the same.

                I've had Bubble Tea in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and in different regions of the US. The only differences are the quality of ingredients used (fresh fruit vs powder mix), the flavor varieties, and textures/varieties of tapioca.

                1. re: rheelee

                  My (limited) understanding of bubble tea leads me to believe that it originated in Taiwan, with various types of milky "black" tea as the base. Most of the bubble tea versions that I see at Eden Center are fruit based slushies. The bubble tea houses that I've been to in Singapore (that are chains from Taiwan) have a variety of delicious milky tea base, with the tapioca pearls at the bottom. There's usually about 10-20 different varieties of "milky" black tea flavors that you choose from...any place in the DC area that has a variety of black-tea based bubble tea?

                  1. re: pleen

                    I'm with you, I don't like the slushies either. My favorite is actually milk *green* tea though.
                    Shanghai Teat House is okay but I think Ten Ren in College Park might be more what you're looking for.
                    There is nothing available that resembles a Lollicup or any of those bubble tea places I've sampled in Northern California or Boston...supposedly there's a Lollicup opening up in Alexandria but I 'm not sure that's ever going to happen since it's been "opening soon" for maybe a year now according to the Lollicup website.

                    1. re: hamster

                      The literal translation of bubble tea in Chinese is Pearl Milk Tea- meaning tapioca pearls in tea with milk. The original concept and the classic version is indeed tea based. However, the fruit blends with tapioca have become just as popular in Asia & US. Although bubble tea originated in Taiwan, there really isn't a distinctive Taiwanese bubble tea. The term "Taiwanese" can be seen as a very sensitive political statement in some communities. Just fyi. Thanks.

                      1. re: hamster

                        Just tried Ten Ren yesterday for the first time - it's DA BOMB! Thanks to all who recommended it. It's worth the extra $6 in gas to get bubble tea @ Ten Ren!

                      2. re: pleen

                        Maybe you're looking for Taiwanese or Taiwanese American chains like Quickly or Tapioca Express which popularized the drink in the United States. Has anyone seen branches in the DC area?

                        1. re: Chandavkl

                          Just to get an idea of what people's baseline is, how would these places compare to Ten Ren in Rockville? I love their regular black tea and taro.

                          1. re: ffxjack

                            To me, Ten Ren is as good as it gets to real Bubble Tea in the Washington DC area. Black tea with taro is my favorite too. The others are okay if you just need a bubble tea fix.

                            1. re: rheelee

                              I have to agree with you guys. Ten Ren makes the best authentic Taiwanese bubble tea around...having tried the original one in Taichung.
                              Their tea is that's their business. Bubbles are fresh due to volume. Both Rockville and College Park places are good. But not anywhere near NoVa.

                  2. go to pho "today" on Lee Highway.