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Feb 25, 2009 07:27 PM

Boba (Black Tapioca Pearls) Tea

Looking for your help with two Boba related questions:

#1. In the NE Phoenix vacinity, is there anywhere that uncooked Boba (Grade A XX Large Black Tapioca Pearls) and Boba tea all-in-one powders can be purchased? Online sources charge ridiculous shipping charges - looking to find where to purchase the ingredients locally.

#2. Where can good Boba Tea drinks be found in the valley? Tea Infusion in Tempe serves Boba (prepared very well!), however, they do not do the traditional blended Boba Teas. Tea Light Cafe in Scottsdale (Mayo Blvd.) serves the traditional blended tea Bobas, but the boba was LOUSY - MUSHY - either really really overcooked or just very old - yuck. Please share any locations you know of in the valley.


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  1. I can't really answer for NE Phoenix, but if you're ever in the West Valley, I would try Lee Lee's grocery store (at the corner of 75th Ave. & Cactus. It is huge and carries food from just about every Asian country (and other continents as well). Each aisle offers food from a specific country. I could spend hours in that place. The selection is overwhelming.

    It looks like there is another location in Chandler too, which is probably much closer for you.

    Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket
    2025 N Dobson Rd, Chandler, AZ 85224

    Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket
    7575 W Cactus Road, Peoria, AZ 85381

    1. The first one that pops to mind is E!ba Cafe, on Broadway and Hardy. They used to be two doors down from Chuck Box, but then businesses got shuffled around when the development across the street got razed (except the lone holdout, Dave's Dog House) to put up a high-rise building. I remember the boba was consistently good. Haven't had a chance to go in years, but I think the fact that they're still open in such an oddball location for boba is a good testament to the quality.

      E-Ba Cafe
      930 W Broadway Rd # 10, Tempe, AZ

      1. The Super L market at COFCO has the boba for purchase.

        10 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          That place has terrible boba. I've had it there several times and they were hard and gross.

          I still think the best boba in all of Phoenix is at Lollicup in Chandler. I know it's a chain but their product is still terrific. They also serve some pretty traditional Taiwanese plates.

          Lollicup Coffee & Tea
          2050 N Alma School Rd, Chandler, AZ 85224

          1. re: aaronling

            Uh, what place are you talking about?

            I only mentioned Super L as a place to buy the uncooked boba balls. I suppose if you were ingesting the uncooked boba balls they would in fact be "hard and gross".

            As for Lollicup, it's fine for what it is. Sort of like the Starbucks of boba. Nothing wrong, nor great about them.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Well there are those 2 food places on the right side of the store, not sure what they're called now after having changed hands a few times. One of them used to be a Taiwan deli-ish type and that's where I'm talking about.

              If you don't think Lollicup is anything great, I would genuinely like to see what place you think is great so I could maybe give it a shot. It's only like Starbucks in that they have a lot of stores across the country but it's not really overpriced compared to other places in the area. I also just came back from Taiwan a couple weeks ago and didn't find any boba there that is significantly better than Lollicup. All in all, I think they make some very authentic boba tea.

              1. re: aaronling

                The selection for boba in the Valley is pretty pathetic. If I had to choose, I'd probably go with the Thai Boba teas at Lee's Sandwiches.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I'll give it a shot. But if everything here is pretty pathetic, where is it good? I'm in LA once in a while, I'm assuming you're referring to somewhere there.

                  1. re: aaronling

                    If you ever head to SoCal, I would suggest the following places in the San Gabriel Valley

                    Tenju Tea House (Temple City); not cheap, but damn good.

                    Half & Half Tea House (San Gabriel)

                    Aloha Boba Tea House (Monrovia) 666 W Huntington Drive

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Thanks I'll try at least Tenju next time I'm out there seeing my aunt lives in Temple City. Large $3 boba is pretty standard in terms of pricing though so not particularly expensive.

                      1. re: aaronling

                        Well, Half & Half is just up the street on Las Tunas (literally about 1/2 mile west of Tenju). That said, Tenju is by far the best boba that I've had ... not saying it's the best cuz I haven't tried all of them, but it's my goto spot.

                        By the way, I'm in Temple City alot. Whereabouts does your aunt live in Temple City?

                        Next time you're in Temple City you should head out to SinBaLa or Won Won Kitchen for some really good and cheap Taiwanese eats (and SinBaLa makes a pretty decent Boba as well, although their shaved ice is the dessert of choice there).


                  2. re: ipsedixit

                    I've tried most of the suggested ones on this thread now and have to agree with you...most of it was prettty pathetic. The best has been the kind I've made at home - great prices and options on Boba and Boba teas at Lee Lee Market. Since making my own, I doubt I'll ever be able to enjoy it as much out anymore!

                    1. re: ButterflyWest

                      Head to LA.

                      If you ever go, let me know. I'll point you to places that will make you think the Gods have smiled upon you and your little boba balls ...

          2. A while back I stopped in for a simple boba drink at The Street, which is located in the mostly Asian-focused strip mall on the northwest corner of Dobson & Southern in Mesa. I was happy with it. As I recall they have a good number of choices on the menu too, including shaved ice desserts.

            They also allow customers to write on the walls. Plenty of people have taken them up on it, and a recurring theme in the scrawlings seems to be (surprise!) boba.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Davey J

              Place link:

              The Street
              1116 S Dobson Rd # 109, Mesa, AZ

              1. re: Davey J

                Thank you all for the suggestions and links! It's my goal to try them ALL!! I'll report back!

                1. re: ButterflyWest

                  Try the Boba Tea House in the same plaza @ LeeLee in Chandler.....
                  2055 N Dobson Road
                  Chandler, AZ 85224

                  1. re: ciaogal

                    Last time I went there the bobas were rock hard