Recent research indicates that New York has over 170 places to enjoy boba tea. While many options exist, not all boba tea spots offer the same quality.
In this article, we will explore the top 10 boba tea spots in the city. We’re not limiting ourselves to traditional bubble tea shops; we’ll also spotlight cafes that serve exceptional boba tea.
1. Tea and Milk
Tea and Milk, established in 2013 by a trio of tea enthusiasts, has become a distinguished presence in the Chelsea Market, particularly at the Pearl River Mart Foods on the lower level. This unique concept tea shop, born from a passion for high-quality tea and innovative brewing techniques, offers a refreshing take on traditional bubble tea.
In the heart of New York City, Tea and Milk stands out for its commitment to real, superior ingredients, crafting bubble teas that are both delightful and unique. The menu, primarily focused on boba teas, offers a rich variety of flavors, each crafted with meticulous care. Favorites include the classic Thai Tea and Taro, with its authentic, subtly sweet flavor and natural texture. Their Strawberry Lychee Green Tea, a perfect blend of fruitiness and tea, and the indulgent Rose Tea with tropical fruit purée, showcase the shop’s flair for combining fresh, high-quality ingredients.
The boba itself is a standout feature – perfectly chewy and sweet, enhancing the overall experience of each drink. The menu also offers customization options, allowing patrons to adjust sweetness and ice levels to their preference. Milk alternatives like soy and oat milk cater to diverse dietary needs, while a range of toppings, from herbal jelly to aloe vera, add an extra layer of delight.
Beyond just drinks, Tea and Milk’s mission extends to nurturing the community, aiming to spread happiness and knowledge with every cup served. The friendly, quick service amplifies the experience, making each visit to this Chelsea Market gem a memorable one. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, Tea and Milk offers a unique, high-quality bubble tea experience in the bustling heart of New York City.
Tea and Milk has a total of three locations. Besides their Chelsea Market location, they also have a presence in Astoria and in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
- High-quality tea.
- Friendly staff.
- Variety of flavors and toppings.
- Customizable sweetness and ice levels.
- Fresh fruit purées.
- Chewy and well-prepared boba.
- Authentic and unique drink options.
- Good quality of matcha.
- Fair pricing.
- Fast service.
- Limited caffeine-free options.
Location: 75 9th Ave Lower Level, New York, NY 10011
I’Milky in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is a cafe established in 2021, focusing on bubble tea with a twist of Taiwanese influence. The cafe has made a name for itself through its commitment to natural ingredients and freshly sourced milk from local farms, in line with its philosophy of providing authentic flavors.
The menu at I’Milky is centered around bubble tea, offering various options from traditional milk teas to fruit teas. Attention is given to the quality of ingredients, with an emphasis on natural and healthy choices. The teas are characterized by their balance in sweetness, complementing rather than dominating the natural tea flavors. The tapioca pearls, an essential element of bubble tea, often have an ideal consistency.
Aside from its bubble tea offerings, I’Milky also serves a range of smoothies, juices, and light Taiwanese snacks such as onigiri. These additions provide a modest variety for those seeking something beyond just a beverage.
The cafe’s ambiance mirrors the casual and trendy atmosphere of the Williamsburg neighborhood, offering a minimalist and comfortable setting. This makes it a suitable spot for a relaxed visit, whether for trying out bubble tea for the first time or enjoying a familiar favorite.
Overall, I’Milky presents itself as a straightforward choice in Williamsburg for those interested in experiencing bubble tea with a focus on natural ingredients and simplicity in flavor.
- Quick and efficient service.
- Fresh and high-quality ingredients, including real fruits and tapioca.
- Variety of customization options (sugar level, ice level, non-dairy alternatives).
- Tasty and unique flavors, including some rare options like barley and fresh taro.
- Good ambiance and a clean environment.
- Offers discounts (cash payment, app download).
- Higher price point compared to other bubble tea places.
- Some drinks may lack strong tea flavor or taste watered down.
- Limited seating in the store.
- Small portion sizes for the price.
Location: 142 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
3. Lazy Sundaes
Lazy Sundaes, located in DUMBO, Brooklyn, is a dessert cafe with a focus on bubble tea, bingsoo sundaes, and matcha-infused treats. The cafe presents a modern yet comfortable setting, offering ample space for visitors to relax, study, or meet with friends. A distinctive feature of Lazy Sundaes is its use of self-serve kiosks, which streamline the ordering process.
The cafe’s menu is particularly notable for its various bubble tea options. Among the offerings, the hojicha white chocolate stands out for its unique blend of roasted tea flavor and white chocolate, accompanied by soft boba. Other popular choices include the hojicha latte and jasmine milk tea, each prepared with attention to flavor balance. For those seeking non-dairy alternatives, the matcha latte with oat milk is available.
Seasonal beverages and innovative combinations, like the muscat oolong and lavender black tea with aloe jelly, add to the diverse selection. While the focus is on bubble tea, Lazy Sundaes also offers bingsoo sundaes, including a strawberry cheesecake option, providing a refreshing choice particularly in warmer months.
The cafe’s location near the F train station in DUMBO makes it a convenient stop for both locals and visitors to the area. Lazy Sundaes offers a space to enjoy a range of bubble tea flavors and dessert options in a setting that balances modernity and comfort.
- Attractive ambiance and decor.
- Plenty of seating available.
- Convenient self-order kiosks.
- High-quality drinks with a variety of flavors.
- Friendly and excellent service.
- Clean and well-maintained premises, including bathrooms.
- Suitable for studying, working, or hanging out with friends.
- Drinks can be overly sweet if not mixed properly.
- Some may find the prices to be high.
- Bingsoo portions are small for the price.
- Certain items like non-dairy milk substitutes may incur extra charges.
- Some flavors or ingredients may not meet expectations (e.g., hojicha latte, crystal jelly).
Location: 170 Front St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Located near Washington Square Park in New York, Wanpo Tea Shop offers a contemporary take on the traditional bubble tea experience. This café, characterized by its bright interior and modern amenities, features a digital kiosk ordering system. This system facilitates efficient service, with orders typically ready in less than five minutes.
At Wanpo Tea Shop, the focus is on a diverse range of bubble teas. One of the notable offerings is the brown sugar matcha with boba, blending the quality of Uji Koyamaen Matcha with the texture of boba. Another interesting option is the Matcha Red Bean Jelly Latte, which presents a distinctive combination of flavors and textures. The shop’s commitment to quality is evident in its use of authentic ingredients, like real taro in their taro milk tea and various genuine teas.
The menu at Wanpo allows for a degree of customization, with options to adjust sugar levels and ice, and choose from non-dairy milk alternatives. While the shop’s seating is limited, primarily accommodating quick visits or takeaways, it is a frequented spot for students and locals.
In addition to its beverage offerings, Wanpo Tea Shop runs a loyalty program with both a physical punch card and a digital points system, rewarding regular customers.
- Wide variety of drinks, including unique and traditional flavors.
- Customizable options (sugar level, ice amount, toppings).
- Fast service and prompt preparation.
- Use of high-quality ingredients (e.g., Uji Koyamaen Matcha).
- Generous portions of boba and toppings.
- Loyalty programs (physical punch cards, digital point system).
- Small seating area, not suitable for long stays.
- High prices for the drink sizes.
- Inconsistent boba quality (overcooked or too much).
- Some drinks are too sweet or have imbalanced flavors.
- Confusing ordering process with digital kiosks.
- Limited customer service interaction.
Location: 37 E 8th St, New York, NY 10003
Truedan, located in Chinatown, New York, is a cafe that has made its mark since 2010 with a specific focus on brown sugar boba teas. Originating as Jenjudan, it was founded by Mr. Kao and Ms. Wu, who were driven to create a healthier alternative in the bubble tea market, using natural ingredients.
The standout feature of Truedan is its Brown Sugar Fresh Milk with Pearls, which reflects the founders’ dedication to quality. The pearls are infused in a specially developed brown sugar syrup, providing a distinctive caramelized flavor and a chewy texture.
Aside from its brown sugar specialties, Truedan offers a range of bubble tea options. These include traditional choices like Black Tea Boba and Thai Milk Tea, as well as more unique concoctions such as the Strawberry Creme Smoothie and the seasonal Strawberry Milk with Mochi and Taro. For those seeking non-traditional flavors, options like the Sesame Latte and the Chrysanthemum Tea are available.
The cafe’s setting is simple, featuring limited seating near the entrance, suitable for quick visits. Orders are typically placed through an iPad, facilitating a quick turnaround, which is particularly useful during peak times. The absence of a bathroom and the emphasis on takeaway service position Truedan as a convenient stop for those on the go.
Truedan’s presence in Chinatown introduces a slice of Taiwanese tea culture to New York. With a variety of boba tea flavors, including both classic and innovative options, the cafe caters to a diverse range of tastes. While primarily known for its brown sugar boba teas, the menu’s breadth ensures that most visitors can find something they like.
- Variety of drinks, including unique and seasonal options.
- Good quality and texture of boba pearls.
- Quick and efficient service.
- Use of real ingredients in drinks, like real taro and fruit.
- Refreshing and good flavor in drinks.
- Cleanliness and pleasant ambiance of the shop.
- Availability of different milk alternatives.
- Drinks are not overly sweet, with options to adjust sweetness levels.
- Fast preparation time for drinks.
- Aesthetic and diverse drink menu.
- Pricing is a bit high.
- Limited seating available in the shop.
- Some drinks are too sweet.
- Lack of bathroom facilities.
Location: 208 Grand St, New York, NY 10013
Located in New York City’s Chinatown neighborhood, Miss Du’s Tea Shop offers a variety of bubble teas. The shop’s menu features a range of flavors, with taro and mango pomelo being notable options. The taro milk tea is known for its authentic flavor and moderate sweetness, while the mango pomelo drink is appreciated for its blend of sweetness and tanginess, incorporating fresh fruit.
The shop emphasizes the use of quality ingredients in its bubble teas, and the texture of the boba is often described as well-executed. Alongside the bubble teas, Miss Du’s also serves a selection of fruit and yogurt drinks, catering to those looking for lighter options.
The interior of Miss Du’s Tea Shop is compact, offering a limited seating arrangement that suits brief visits. Service is generally efficient, though there can be waits during busy periods. The staff is friendly, contributing to the overall experience.
For bubble tea enthusiasts exploring Chinatown, Miss Du’s Tea Shop presents an array of choices, particularly in its boba tea selection. The shop’s commitment to quality ingredients and the variety in its menu make it a noteworthy stop in the area.
- Fresh and high-quality ingredients, especially in fruit teas.
- Variety of unique and authentic flavors, like taro and mango pomelo.
- Drinks are not overly sweet, offering a balanced taste.
- Quick service and efficient preparation of orders.
- Friendly and helpful staff.
- The shop’s interior is aesthetically pleasing and unique.
- Limited seating available inside the shop.
- Higher prices compared to some other bubble tea places.
- Boba quality is inconsistent, sometimes lacking chewiness or sweetness.
- Long wait times, particularly during peak hours or weekends.
- Some drinks, like jasmine milk tea, can taste bland or watery.
Location: 33 Pell St, New York, NY 10013
Chun Yang Tea, situated in New York’s Chinatown on Elizabeth Street, offers a variety of boba tea options, each distinct in taste and style. While the space is limited, lending to a more compact atmosphere, it compensates with a selection of flavors catering to traditional and modern palates.
The menu at Chun Yang Tea includes popular choices like the Mango Cheese Drink and the Oolong Tea Latte with Grassy Jelly. The Mango Cheese Drink combines the sweetness of mango with a unique cheese foam topping, offering a novel flavor experience. The Oolong Tea Latte has a balanced taste, complemented by the addition of grassy jelly for texture.
Classic boba tea options are also available, such as the Black Tea Latte with Pearls and the Purple Rice Sago Oolong Tea Latte. These drinks are appreciated for their emphasis on the quality of the tea and the addition of traditional boba toppings like chewy pearls and purple rice sago.
Chun Yang Tea accommodates different dietary preferences by providing non-dairy milk alternatives like oat and soy milk. Despite the limited seating, the cafe is a convenient option for those in Chinatown seeking a quick boba tea fix. The service is efficient, aimed at ensuring a smooth experience for patrons. Overall, Chun Yang Tea offers a diverse selection of boba teas in a bustling city neighborhood.
- Great flavors and choices in beverages.
- Fast and friendly service.
- Quality of tea and toppings (boba, jelly, etc.) is high.
- Variety of unique drinks and toppings.
- Reasonable prices.
- Convenient payment options (cash and card).
- Vegan and non-dairy options available.
- Good for quick grab-and-go.
- Small and crowded space with limited seating.
- Some drinks are too sweet.
- Drinks can be pricey.
- Long wait times during peak hours.
Location: 26B Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013
8. Xing Fu Tang
Located in the East Village of New York City, Xing Fu Tang is known for its Taiwanese brown sugar boba. This cafe has made a name for itself with its boba milk tea soft serve, which is appreciated for its balanced sweetness and creamy texture, topped with a light dusting of cocoa powder.
One of the unique features of Xing Fu Tang is its open glass kitchen, allowing customers to see the boba being made from scratch. This aspect of the cafe highlights the freshness of the boba, which is served warm, providing a contrasting experience to the cold soft serve.
The cafe’s menu focuses mainly on various boba teas and bubble teas. Options include cold and warm drinks, with the boba having good chewiness and subtle sweetness. The drinks’ sweetness levels are fixed, but customers can adjust the ice levels and choose non-dairy alternatives. The menu also changes seasonally, offering some variety.
Xing Fu Tang does not have seating, fitting more with a quick-service style. The interior is modern, contributing to a pleasant but brief visit. The service is efficient, which helps manage the waiting times during busy periods.
- Fresh, high-quality boba with warm, soft, and chewy texture with just the right sweetness.
- A variety of flavors and boba options, including seasonal changes and different types like taro, strawberry, and brown sugar.
- Unique offerings such as boba soft serve and brown sugar boba milk.
- Fast service and efficient line handling.
- Transparency in preparation with an open kitchen allows for watching the boba-making process.
- The drinks are often more expensive compared to other boba places.
- Limited seating available, mostly a to-go establishment.
- Limited customization with pre-made drinks, not allowing sweetness adjustments.
- Often busy with long lines and a packed space.
Location: 133 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
MooMooChaa, situated in East Village, New York, is a bubble tea shop known for its variety of boba teas. Opened in 2016, it has carved out a niche in the local tea scene. The cafe offers a diverse menu, with an emphasis on bubble teas made from aromatic loose-leaf teas and fresh ingredients.
Among its offerings, the Top Ten best-selling drinks, like Brown Sugar Oolong Milk Tea, Rose Milk Tea, and Oreo Milkshake, showcase the cafe’s range. Other unique selections, such as Grapefruit Yakult and Black Ice Cream Tea, offer a different take on traditional boba flavors. The cafe is also known for its Bubble Milk Black Tea, alongside other options such as Black&Yellow Milk and Lemon Green Tea.
Customization is a key feature at MooMooChaa, where patrons can adjust the sweetness and choose from different sizes of boba, including mini boba. Drinks like Matcha Latte and Salted Caramel Oolong Milk Tea blend traditional tea flavors with contemporary elements.
The cafe’s small size reflects the compact nature of East Village, and it is designed for quick service. The staff is known for being efficient, and the space, while limited, provides a simple setting for enjoying a variety of bubble teas.
For those in East Village looking for a bubble tea spot, MooMooChaa offers a wide selection of flavors and a focus on tea quality, making it a notable option in the area.
- High-quality tea with a strong, well-balanced flavor.
- Variety of options, including fruit teas and milk teas.
- Unique offerings like mini boba and large “stubby” cup sizes.
- Fast and friendly service.
- Offers like free upgrades and student discounts.
- Limited seating and small shop size.
- Higher price compared to other boba shops.
- Some drinks may be overly sweet for some preferences.
Location: 227 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003
Located near Washington Square Park in New York City, Debutea is a cafe known for its emphasis on fresh fruit and boba teas. Its menu features a variety of both fruit and milk-based boba teas, with a focus on natural ingredients and diverse flavors.
Seasonal offerings, such as the Peach Berry and Coco Mango, showcase the cafe’s commitment to fresh and varied tastes. The Strawberry Sunset, another notable option, combines vibrant flavors with fruit boba, offering a distinct texture and taste.
The Taro Bobo is a preferred choice among the milk tea selections, recognized for its authentic flavor. For those seeking a less conventional option, the Milky Strawberry combines milk, fresh strawberries, and adjustable sweetener levels to suit individual preferences.
Debutea’s setting is compact, mainly catering to takeout customers, reflecting the lively neighborhood it is part of. The cafe employs self-service kiosks for ordering, allowing customers to personalize their beverages conveniently.
In addition to its boba tea selections, Debutea offers other beverages and pastries, maintaining a focus on quality ingredients. The use of real fruit instead of syrups in their drinks is a testament to their commitment to authenticity in flavor.
Debutea offers a diverse range of boba tea options, appealing to those who appreciate natural flavors and ingredient variety in a bustling New York City locale.
- High-quality bubble tea with fresh fruit and real ingredients.
- Variety of flavors and seasonal offerings.
- Customization options for drinks.
- Convenient self-ordering kiosks.
- Friendly service and diligent staff.
- High price point for drinks.
- Limited indoor seating and primarily a to-go shop.
- Longer preparation times for drinks, especially during busy periods.
- Drinks can be too sweet for some preferences.
Location: 217 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012