Boba Boy (Kerrisdale)

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Disclosure: All food and beverages were complimentary as part of a media event, but all opinions are my own.

Boba Boy opened up their Kerrisdale location earlier this year and also recently opened one in Burnaby. The boba shop started back in Ontario and has expanded to Vancouver. They are known for their freshly made tapioca balls.

 

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The Kerrisdale location has a few two seaters up front with more seating in the back for larger groups. The space is modern and clean and lit with natural light.

 

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Who can resist the cute logo of the Boba Boy! Guess where the funny hair style comes from? Of course, it is inspired by the tapioca balls!

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The shop has a variety of drinks from smoothies, teas, milk teas, and fruit teas. As for their freshly made tapioca balls, you can choose from original, taro, matcha or sesame. The original balls are clear instead of black.

 

 

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Taro Smoothie with Matcha Pearls

The first drink I tried was the Taro Smoothie with Matcha Pearls. The smoothie was creamy but I’m pretty sure the taro was powder as the colour was too purple. As for the tapioca pearls, they are quite different from the ones from other chains because they are handmade. The pearls are more chewy and can get a bit tough if they sit in the cold drink for too long. They also stick together more but I actually don’t mind them knowing that they are hand made. They probably don’t have as many additives or preservatives so it’s much healthier. The matcha flavour is also quite strong and has a bit of a bitter taste but I like that strong tea taste.

 

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Strawberry Milk with Pearls

T got the Strawberry Milk with original pearls. How pretty is this! I didn’t get a chance to try this one though.

 

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They also offer two containers – one is a plastic one-time use cup and the second is a reusable bottle. You are required to pay an extra $2 for the bottle, but if you bring it back, you get a discount on your bubble tea. Not sure how often you’ll remember to bring the bottle though as I usually get bubble tea spontaneously, so not sure if the bottle is that worth it. But this is great if you need to carry your bubble tea around.

Overall, the drinks itself are nothing too special compared to other bubble tea chains. However, their tapioca balls which are hand made is what sets them apart. I think the chewiness is a personal preference since some people may find them on the harder side. But, overall, still a very unique feature and great that they are healthier than the usual pre-packaged tapioca.

Pros:
– Handmade flavoured tapioca balls are a unique feature

Cons:
– Some people may find the tapioca balls to be chewier than usual

Price Range: $5-10 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: Paid street parking Overall: 3.5

 

Boba Boy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

T-Go Tea

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Note: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are my own.

Last month, I visited T-Go Tea which opened up in Central at Garden City a while ago. It’s located under the Walmart and a great addition to this complex.

 

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Right now, the shop mainly has beverages only, but they are working on a small food menu, including teaming up with a pastry chef.

 

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There is a large list of drinks and they are known for their Teapresso beverages, which uses a special equipment to extract the flavours of tea. They also have the sea salt foam drinks which are super popular now.

 

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They focus on quality of ingredients here. For instance, their teas are purchased from Taiwan and are premium and made in smaller batches. They do not add syrups in their beverages, but rather the teas are infused with natural fruits or flavours when they are manufactured. The pearls also have a shorter life span compared to the ones other bubble tea shops use, to decrease the amount of preservatives.

 

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We got to smell some of their teas and they were absolutely fragrant!

 

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Rose Oolong Latte

The first drink we tried was the Rose Oolong Latte. This is made with fresh milk and has a hint of floral. Pearls had a nice chew and weren’t too sweet.

 

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Honey Aloe Green Tea

If you’re looking for some non-dairy beverages, then one of my favourites is the Honey Aloe Green Tea with coconut jelly. This was naturally sweetened with the honey and very refreshing.

 

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Diamond Purple Rice Black Tea

The next drink, the Diamond Purple Rice Black Tea, was very interesting with a cube of milk which is supposed to represent the diamond. As the cube melts, the milk disperses out into the drink. Really cool concept!

 

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Sweet Peaches Smoothie

Other than tea based drinks, they also feature smoothies, perfect for the kids, or if you’re craving something a little thicker. The Sweet Peaches Smoothie was one of my favourite as it was sort of like a peach icy. It was refreshing and great with the pearls. I’m not sure if the drinks are usually presented with all the fruits on top though. They even have an avocado smoothie drink and a kale smoothie! Perfect for those coming out from the yoga class in this complex.

 

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Oreo Cookie Blizzard Smoothie

Last but not least, we tried the Oreo Cookie Blizzard Smoothie which surprisingly wasn’t too sweet. This would be perfect for the kids but definitely probably not the most healthy option available.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the beverage options available and how they have differentiated themselves by focusing on healthier alternatives and premium teas. Good to see another addition in Richmond!

 

ZenQ (Marine Drive)

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Note: All food and beverages were complimentary as part of a ChineseBites event, but all opinions are my own.

Across the complex at Marine Drive Gateway, right next to Coco Fresh Tea, is now ZenQ, a drink and dessert store which is also Chatime’s sister restaurant. This chain’s first location was in Coquitlam, and has now expanded to Vancouver, Richmond, and Burnaby.

 

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The location has a decent amount of seating, but you can of course get your drinks to go as well.

 

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You order up front first, and if you choose to eat in, the server will bring your food to you. They have a large variety of beverages and plenty of toppings to choose from. For desserts, they have both cold and hot desserts, including shaved ice, grass jelly, tofu pudding, and even waffles. ZenQ is known for their mochi balls in their desserts whcih are made from taro or sweet potato.

 

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Hand Made Taro Milk Tea, Winter Melon Tea with Small Pearls, ZenQ Milk Tea with Small Pearls

To start, we had a variety of beverages. Since I was sick, I had to get all hot drinks. Well, it turned out to be perfect because the Hand Made Taro Milk Tea was our favourite of the three we tried. The drink features fresh milk with taro which I think is real because you get this gritty texture. This drink is only served warm and is perfect in this cold weather! As for the ZenQ Milk Tea and Winter Melon Tea, we personally enjoyed the ones at Chatime and Presotea more. However, I really enjoyed the tiny pearls available at ZenQ and the drinks were not bad after all. If I lived in the area, I definitely wouldn’t mind coming here for the drinks. The drinks are also fully customizable for sugar and ice level, just like Chatime.

 

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Tofu Pudding with Green Beans, Peanuts, Pearls, and Q Balls

The highlights at ZenQ for us were the desserts. K tried the Tofu Pudding and you can choose from a variety of toppings. Here, she has green beans, peanuts, pearls, and Q balls. Their Q balls are essentially mochi balls and are made from taro, sweet potato, and matcha. My favourite was the sweet potato Q ball as I found that the taro Q ball was slightly on the harder side, especially when served with a cold dessert. The tofu pudding is refreshing and not overly sweet. You also get plenty of each topping so every spoonful is filled with texture.

 

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Hot Grass Jelly with Q Balls, Large and Small Pearls

As I was sick, I got the Hot Grass Jelly and had it with Q balls, and large and small pearls. I liked how the grass jelly wasn’t too sweet and every bite was chewy because of the toppings. Here, the taro Q ball is softer possibly because the dessert is served hot.

 

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Grass Jelly with Taro, Grass Jelly Ice, Q balls, and Large Pearls

Lastly, E had the Grass Jelly cold and got it with a few chunks of taro, grass jelly ice, Q balls, and large pearls. This again is not too sweet, but you can get it with cream which you pour on top. It tastes a bit more like condensed milk when you add it.  Refreshing and perfect in the summer months!

Overall, ZenQ has a large range of Taiwanese desserts and is a great addition to the Marine Gateway area. It’s perfect if you not only want a bubble tea, but also a dessert! Prices are also quite reasonable as these mochi desserts can get quite pricey.

 

ZenQ  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice (Marine Drive)

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Disclosure: All beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are my own.

CoCo’s latest location at Marine Drive has been open for some time now, and they will have their official grand opening this weekend. The location is short walk across the street from the Marine Gateway and Canada Line skytrain station.

 

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The location is brightly lit just like their other stores and has a decent amount of seating to enjoy your drinks. At Coco, you can customize your drink’s sugar and ice level.  Most drinks go for around $5 for a large. Regular is around $4.20.

 

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Of course they have the famous CoCo mascot here!

 

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Roast Pearl Milk Tea, Matcha Macchiato with Red Bean, Sago Taro Milk Tea with Pearls

I have tried a few of their famous drinks like 3 Guys and Bubble Gaga so I decided to try some drinks I haven’t tried before. The first was the Roasted Pearl Milk Tea which seems to be a new menu item. We had this at 50% sugar level but I think I would’ve preferred it at 70% sugar level as it was too strong in the roasted flavour. I think I still like Chatime’s roasted milk tea the most. In the middle is the Matcha Macchiato with Red Bean which I really enjoyed. Strong in matcha flavour and paired nicely with the red bean, it tasted like matcha red bean cake. Lastly, the Sago Taro Milk Tea with Pearls was my favourite. Although there are no taro chunks in this drink, I still enjoyed the tiny sago paired with the pearls. It’s like having Chinese dessert!

 

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To celebrate the Marine Drive’s grand opening, the Marine Drive location is having a buy one get one free promotion. From October 27 – 29, 2017, if you purchase any Top 10 Drink, you will receive a free medium Pearl Milk Tea. This is only valid at 491 SW Marine Drive.

The Top 10 Drinks include:

  • Red Bean Matcha Milk Tea
  • Lemon Yakult
  • Mango Smoothie
  • 3 Guys
  • Bubble Tea
  • Lemon King
  • Bubble Gaga
  • Black Tea Macchiato
  • Black Tea Latte
  • Sago Taro Milk Tea

CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Le Tea

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Le Tea opened up last year at Continental Plaza in Richmond and was probably one of the first to bring over the new “cheese lattea” hype that’s been popping up everywhere now. They have an extensive menu of beverages to choose from, but their tea based drinks are what they are noted for as they use fresh tea leaves in their drinks.

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Peach Oolong Cheese Lattea

I got the Peach Oolong Cheese Lattea which you can choose hot or cold and I chose the latter. You can also choose between salty or sweet for the cheese. Yes, it may sound weird to have cheese on your drink, but it was actually really good! The waitress told me salty is more popular, so I went with it. Essentially, the top white foam is the cheese flavour and you should drink it at a 45 degree angle to get both the foam and tea. It sort of tastes like cream cheese at the top and the sweet tea surprisingly goes well with it. I did wish that the tea was more strong and after Happy Lemon opened up, I have to say they do a better job at this drink.

 

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Oreo Smoothie

Of course S chose something off the “popular” charts. Instead of the teas, S chose the Oreo Smoothie which was topped with an Oreo cookie. The smoothie was not too sweet but I thought it was a bit too icy.

 

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Overall Le Tea has some decent drinks but with so many new Taiwanese bubble tea chains opening, it’s hard to compete. Their prices are comparable to the others at around $4 – $5 a drink, but I would probably go back to Happy Lemon or Chatime instead. Service was also not very friendly, but I do like the brick wall decor inside.

Pros:
– Large selection of tea-based drinks
– Decor is nice and nice spot to enjoy your drink

Cons:
– Tea flavour is not strong enough

Price Range: $5-6

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: 2 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 3 Overall: 3

Le Tea 樂茶 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice (Richmond)

CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice opened up their first location in Vancouver a few months ago in downtown and have since opened another in Richmond in Broadmoor Shopping Centre. Since there was a grand opening promo going on, there was a huge line up.

We ended up waiting over 30 minutes because of the long line ups. We found service to be quite unfriendly at CoCo. I know there’s a huge line and they want to get things moving, but a smile or just thanking the customers for waiting would have been appreciated.

There is some seating in this location, but most people grab take out here.

The promo during their grand opening was buy any one of their top 10 drinks and you get a free regular sized milk tea with pearls for free.

You can choose large or regular size with a difference of 50 cents.

Three Guys

I decided to try the Three Guys which is one of their most popular drinks, consisting of grass jelly, pudding, and pearls. This is quite good as you get a bit of everything but some may find that it’s too much. I actually didn’t mind the variety especially since I love all three toppings.

Milk Tea

The free Milk Tea that came with the promo is pretty good but I still prefer the Chatime roasted milk tea. However, it definitely beats the Shiny Tea one. I would say it’s pretty good compared to the other options out there, but Chatime’s roasted milk tea is still my favourite. In terms of the pearls, they were quite chewy, a little too chewy for me personally.

Taro Milk Tea with Pearls

On another occasion, I went back to take advantage of the deal, and also because I wanted to try the Taro Sago. By the time we got to the cashier, we were told there was no sago and only pearls. I was quite annoyed as I wish they had announced that earlier since I came mostly for the sago. Well, since we had waited forever in line, we got the Taro Milk Tea with Pearls instead. This was quite disappointing with the taro tasting like powder.

Overall, CoCo falls below Chatime but above Shiny Tea for me personally. Price is around the same as Chatime at $4-5. Apparently you can also customize ice and sugar level just like Chatime but the cashiers never let the customers know. Perhaps it was because they were too busy during the promo period.

Pros:
– Solid milk tea
– Customizable sugar and ice levels

Cons:
– Service is unfriendly
– Pearls are too chewy

Price Range: $5

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: 1.5 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 4 Overall: 3

CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice Richmond Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bubble Tea Shop

The Bubble Tea Shop is tucked away underneath the Superstore parking lot in Richmond and opened up over a year ago. Since then, they have opened up a new location on Robson as well. Trying to get a spot at Snowy Village on a Friday night was pretty much impossible, so we decided to come here instead.

Parking is easy here (when people aren’t out and about doing groceries) and the shop itself is quite spacious. However, the decor is quite cheap and they were playing the most vulgar music even though there were children dining here… They also have a consignment area although I wonder how many people purchase items here.

Ferrero Rocher

S and I decided to share a drink and a dessert. We chose the Ferrero Rocher drink which was more like a slush and topped with whipped cream and a ferrero rocher ball. Frankly, we both found this to be just average as it was more icy than hazelnut flavour.

Super Matcha Bubble Waffle

I also wanted to try their bubble waffles which makes up most of their menu. We got the Super Matcha Bubble Waffle which comes with strawberries, a scoop of green tea ice cream, red bean, and icing sugar. The bubble waffle itself is also matcha flavoured but it was not very strong. With the heavy moist toppings on top, it really made the bubble waffle soggy and their bubble waffle in general isn’t very good. It tasted more like straight batter rather than having a chewy center. Strawberries were also sour so honestly the overall execution was underwhelming.

Overall, we were not too impressed with the desserts we tried at the Bubble Tea Shop. The drink was around $6 and the bubble waffle was almost $9. I much rather go to Bubble Queen for similar items which are more executed much better.

Pros:
– Large selection of deluxe bubble waffles and drinks
– Usually easy parking in the evenings

Cons:
– Items we tried were just average and not well-executed
– Ambiance and service is not that great

Price Range: $10/person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 2.5 Service: 2.5 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 2.5

Bubble Tea Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Shiny Tea

Shiny Tea opened up shortly after the new addition to Aberdeen Centre, called Aberdeen Square, finished renovations. It’s actually really close to the Canada Line skytrain connector. I heard a lot about their tiny white pearls so I finally decided to come check it out.

On a Sunday afternoon around 4pm, this place was PACKED. This is a take away only location and the lineup to order was massive. There were also tons of people waiting for their drinks when we arrived.

They have an extensive list of drinks and many choices if you enjoy tea flavours. They claim that they are authorized by the inventor of Taiwanese’s tapioca milk tea. Prices are around the same as Chatime and they offer large and medium sizes.

Panda Milk Tea

We both got the Panda Milk Tea as it features a mix of small white pearls and regular sized black pearls. You are able to customize your drink by sugar and ice level, just like Chatime. We went for 50% sugar level and found that it was barely sweet, whereas if we got 50% at Chatime, it would still be very sweet. I would suggest getting 25% less sugar then if you want your drink to still be a little sweet. We found that the small white pearls were really just sago which you find when you order mango sago desserts. Therefore, I didn’t find it that special. Plus, they are so small so I found that I swallowed them without chewing which probably isn’t very good for you… Anyways, their milk tea is quite smooth and you can smell the brew of tea all around the surroundings. Still, I think I prefer Chatime’s roasted milk tea, but Shiny Tea is pretty good if you want bubble tea and you’re near Aberdeen. Overall, we waited 10 minutes in line to order and another 20 minutes for our drinks.

Pros:
– Great choice of tea flavoured drinks
– Choice of small and big pearls
– Able to customize sugar and ice level

Cons:
– Long waits to order and receive drink

Price Range: $5/person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: N/A Parking: 2.5 Overall: 3.5

Shiny Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato