Not only is San Francisco famous for its exceptional coffee shops and tea houses, but it’s also one of the best places in the US to enjoy bubble tea.
For this guide, we’ve analyzed dozens of boba tea shops and cafes in San Francisco to bring you the top boba tea spots.
Teaspoon is a well-established spot for those with a penchant for boba beverages. Having served over 7 million drinks, it’s become a familiar name across the West Coast, Midwest, and East Coast. The cafe focuses on handcrafting each beverage, aiming to offer a moment of contentment with every cup.
The menu is diverse, catering to various tastes. The “Guava Sunset” is a refreshing mix of guava and pineapple, while the “Black Sugar Assam” is a richer choice with its black sugar boba. For a caffeine-free option, the “Silky Mango” blends organic milk with mango purée, paired nicely with honey boba.
Teaspoon’s ambiance is inviting. It features a combination of seating options and natural lighting, with the added convenience of free wifi. The ordering kiosk is a practical touch, streamlining the ordering process for those on-the-go. Whether you frequent boba spots or are just looking to try something new, Teaspoon offers a comprehensive experience for all.
- Wide variety of boba drinks and flavors.
- Option to customize sweetness, ice levels, and toppings.
- Efficient ordering system through kiosk or cashier.
- Friendly and personable staff.
- Notable drinks like “Guava Sunset,” “Black Sugar Assam,” and “Silky Mango.”
- Open late hours (up to 11 pm).
- Drinks are made from quality ingredients.
- Quick service and order preparation.
- Some drinks might be too sweet for certain customers.
- Occasional wait times during peak hours.
Location: 2125 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
2. District Tea
Located in the Mission District of San Francisco, District Tea is a family-established boba shop with deep ties to the city. Since its inception in 2019, it has aimed to blend the family’s history with San Francisco’s vibrant culture. At its core, District Tea focuses on its boba tea selection, offering a variety of flavors. The Green Thai Tea and Roasted Oolong Milk Tea are notable mentions, while the unique mung bean latte and Sunset District boba have also found favor with many.
Customers can expect a well-balanced drink, with the boba maintaining a consistent chewiness. But drinks aren’t their only forte. The menu extends to include snacks like the katsu sando and potato croquette, which have garnered attention for their taste and texture. The picnic pack is a practical choice for those wanting to sample a combination of District Tea’s offers.
The shop is set up for efficient service, providing ordering options via kiosks or directly from staff members. While primarily a pick-up spot with its compact space, District Tea stands as a reflection of community and a shared love for both quality beverages and San Francisco’s rich history.
- Wide variety of boba tea flavors, with some unique options like mung bean latte.
- Boba has a consistent and appreciated chewiness.
- Offers a diverse range of snacks, with the katsu sando and potato croquette being highlights.
- Efficient service with the option to order through kiosks.
- Picnic pack provides a combination of drinks and snacks.
- Celebrates San Francisco with themed drink names.
- Offers online ordering and promotions like free drink upgrades.
- Good portion sizes, especially for snacks like popcorn chicken.
- Limited sugar and ice customization for certain drinks.
- Small interior space, making it more suitable for takeout.
- Located in a busy area, which might make parking challenging for some.
Location: 2154 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Located in the heart of San Francisco, Urban Ritual isn’t just another boba tea spot. Rooted in a unique American brand ethos, this café seeks to unify everyone through a cherished daily habit—tea and coffee. What sets Urban Ritual apart is its commitment to quality. They rely on loose-leaf tea, pure natural ingredients, and even create their syrups in-house from scratch.
Their tea menu is a journey of exploration, bringing together unexpected flavors from diverse cultures, showing that even the most contrasting ingredients can harmoniously come together in a drink. Highlights from their offering include Strawberry Milk, Ube Creme Brulee, and Mango Sticky Rice, each carefully crafted to maintain the perfect balance of sweetness. For those wanting to delve into more distinctive combinations, there’s also the Matcha Toffee or the intriguing Cantaloupe Juice with Cheesecake Foam.
Inside, the décor is tasteful and contemporary, with a calm ambiance that invites patrons to linger a bit longer. The café has integrated technology for a streamlined experience, with self-serve kiosks for ordering, but that doesn’t detract from the friendly, warm interactions with their knowledgeable staff. Whether you’re a seasoned boba enthusiast or a newcomer to the world of tea, Urban Ritual promises an experience that’s both familiar and fresh.
- Central location in San Francisco.
- Unique, high-quality ingredients with a focus on natural products.
- Handmade syrups crafted in-house.
- Expansive tea menu with both classic and innovative flavors.
- Tasteful and contemporary interior décor.
- Streamlined ordering experience via self-serve kiosks.
- Knowledgeable and friendly staff.
- Might be too experimental for traditional boba lovers.
- The high-tech ordering system might not appeal to everyone.
Location: 488 Fell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Honeybear Boba, tucked away in a serene corner of San Francisco, is a boba tea spot worth visiting. With a simple exterior painted in turquoise, it fits right into the neighborhood charm. The café’s menu offers a varied range of boba teas, from traditional flavors like Green Tea to unique ones like Birthday Cake Milk Tea and Creamsicle. The consistency of their boba is notable, ensuring a satisfying chew with every sip. Those looking for a familiar taste might appreciate the Orange Creamsicle, reminiscent of the classic frozen treat, or perhaps the robust tones of Roasted Oolong.
A significant aspect of Honeybear Boba is its efficient service. The staff is known to handle orders promptly, ensuring minimal wait time for customers. Inside, the ambiance is a blend of a typical boba shop with hints of a music venue, nodding perhaps to its Bay Area artist roots. As an added touch, the shop offers a small range of merchandise, such as keychains and stickers, for those looking to take a piece of Honeybear Boba with them.
- Varied and unique boba flavors.
- Boba has a good, chewy consistency.
- Efficient and friendly service.
- Offers merchandise like keychains and stickers.
- Located in a quiet and accessible neighborhood in SF.
- Influenced by a Bay Area artist, lending a unique ambiance.
- Prompt drink preparation.
- Some drinks can be overly sweet if not adjusted.
- The shop can get warm inside.
- Limited caffeine-free options.
- Some may find the boba to be tough or slimy on occasion.
- Small shop with limited space inside.
Location: 801 22nd Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
5. Boba Guys
Boba Guys crafts a truly distinctive boba experience, prioritizing authenticity and quality. At the heart of their drinks lies real tea leaves, sourced from premium estates around the globe, and steeped in-house for utmost freshness. This commitment to genuine flavors extends to their choice of milk; they exclusively use Straus Family Creamery organic milk, ensuring a rich taste profile. Dairy not to your liking? Opt for Califia almond milk or Oatly oat milk, both of which complement the tea flavors impeccably.
In their pursuit of genuine taste, artificial sweeteners are left by the wayside. Boba Guys has curated its very own housemade syrups, made from natural brown sugar, granting their teas the right touch of sweetness without any fructose. Their refreshing fruit beverages boast real fruit, steering clear of artificial powders and syrups.
Each drink is a testament to Boba Guys’ dedication to quality, evident in their Grade A boba balls, freshly brewed teas, and handshaken froth. For those seeking a bubble tea experience grounded in authenticity and commitment to real, high-quality ingredients, Boba Guys stands as a beacon.
- Uses real tea leaves sourced from premium estates.
- Offers a selection of high-quality milk options, including organic milk from Straus Family Creamery.
- Housemade syrups made from natural brown sugar eliminate the need for artificial sweeteners.
- Beverages contain genuine fruit, avoiding artificial powders and syrups.
- Grade A boba balls enhance the overall quality.
- It might not cater to those who prefer non-organic or conventional milk options.
- The exclusive use of natural brown sugar might not suit everyone’s sweetness preferences.
- The absence of artificial fruit powders may limit certain flavor options.
Location: 1522 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
6. Little Sweet
Located in San Francisco, Little Sweet Cafe has been operational since 2012, offering beverages inspired by traditional Taiwanese pearl milk tea recipes. The cafe’s foundation stems from the aspirations of its founders, including a young man from Taiwan, aiming to provide an authentic taste experience to its patrons.
Every beverage at Little Sweet is made to order, emphasizing freshly brewed tea as its central component. The menu encompasses a variety of drinks, with the White Gourd Milk Tea, Mango Sago, and Thai Green Milk Tea being among the options. These drinks range in taste profiles from creamy to fruit-based, catering to diverse preferences.
For order placement, Little Sweet Cafe employs a digital approach: customers can utilize an in-store kiosk or scan a QR code to make their selections. This system aims for efficiency in service, catering mainly to those looking for takeout options. The cafe stands as a representation of Taiwanese beverage culture in San Francisco, bridging traditional tastes with the convenience of modern ordering systems.
- Authentic Taiwanese pearl milk tea offerings.
- Drinks made freshly to order.
- Variety in the menu, with popular options like White Gourd Milk Tea and Mango Sago.
- Digital order placement through an in-store kiosk and QR code system.
- Boba is soft, chewy, and fresh by many.
- Ability to adjust sweetness levels for drinks.
- Convenient location near other food spots.
- Some may find the drinks pricey.
- Lack of seating inside the cafe, primarily takeout.
- Some may find certain drinks not sweet enough or lacking strong tea flavor.
Location: 1253 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122
Located in San Francisco, Plentea is a boba tea establishment with a twist. It prides itself on using USDA-certified organic loose-leaf teas from the historic Jingmai Mountain in Yunnan, China. This choice ensures that customers get to taste the depth and heritage of teas cultivated from ancient trees, which are prepared through either hot or cold brewing methods.
Moreover, Plentea is conscious of the ingredients that go into their drinks. Instead of relying on the traditional non-dairy creamer, the café opts for Clover Stornetta dairy, a greener choice from the Bay Area. Their teas are sweetened with natural ingredients like brown sugar, honey, and homemade syrups, and they incorporate seasonal fruits for added flavor.
A noticeable feature of Plentea is its glass bottles. In a move towards sustainability, these bottles are intended to reduce plastic waste, underscoring the cafe’s commitment to eco-friendly practices. The space itself is described as having a clean and contemporary design, providing a pleasant backdrop for enjoying a variety of boba tea flavors, from the popular to the novel.
- Offers free glass bottles, which are eco-friendly.
- Open late with ample seating across two floors.
- Convenient location.
- Drinks are generally tasty.
- Good ambiance with seating inside.
- Service is typically quick and friendly.
- Wide range of drink options, including some unique flavors.
- Drinks are served in reusable glass containers with distinct lavender lids.
- Clean and modern interior design.
- Fresh ingredients used in drinks.
- Overuse of ice in some drinks, making them hard to consume.
- Occasional mistakes in orders.
- Parking can be challenging due to its location in a busy area.
- Some drinks, like the strawberry smoothie, can be watery.
Location: 341 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
Tpumps is a bubble tea spot in the city that emphasizes quality through its use of loose-leaf teas. Each day, the teas are freshly brewed, ensuring a genuine flavor for regulars and newcomers alike. The variety here is commendable; from classic flavors to unique combinations like Rose vanilla green milk tea, there’s something for everyone. Particularly notable is the boba’s texture – consistently soft and chewy, with a hint of honey sweetness, a delightful distinction from many other places.
The interior is straightforward, with colorful signs adding vibrancy and a chalkboard wall inviting patrons to engage. Tpumps offers decent value, especially evident in their generously sized 32 oz drinks priced around $6. On Tuesdays, there’s an added perk of a free upgrade to a larger size. The staff is efficient, and while it can get busy, they ensure that orders are processed quickly. With its array of flavor combinations and its dedicated approach to quality, Tpumps provides a reliable option for those searching for a good cup of boba tea.
- Uses high-quality loose-leaf teas.
- Freshly brewed tea daily.
- Wide variety of flavors and milk alternatives.
- Boba is consistently soft, chewy, and honey-sweetened.
- Friendly and efficient staff.
- Vibrant ambiance with a chalkboard wall for customer interaction.
- Good value: large 32 oz drinks priced around $6.
- Special deals, like free upgrades on Tuesdays.
- Many unique drink combinations are available.
- Some may find their drinks too sweet, even at reduced sweetness levels.
- The ordering process can be overwhelming for some.
- Limited seating is available.
Location: 1916 Irving Street, San Francisco, CA 94122
9. Purple Kow
Purple Kow, with its roots in San Francisco since 2011 and later a presence in Berkeley, is a nod to the boba tradition with a modern twist. The cafe sets itself apart by emphasizing the use of organic ingredients in its drinks.
Their boba drinks, known for their distinct sweetness, include the notable caramel iced milk drink. For those seeking customization, Purple Kow offers intriguing additions like chocolate and matcha pudding. Beyond beverages, the cafe has a selection of snacks, with popcorn chicken being a frequent favorite among regulars.
Popular among locals, especially students, the place often sees a steady stream of patrons. Its interior, marked by subtle pops of color, provides a relaxed setting. Its proximity to the Golden Gate Park makes it a convenient stop for both a drink to-go or a sit-down snack. Friendly staff round out the experience at Purple Kow, making it a familiar spot for many seeking their boba fix in San Francisco.
- Offers a wide variety of boba teas with excellent texture.
- Drinks, especially the caramel iced milk drink, are notable favorites.
- Uses organic ingredients.
- Provides customization options for drinks.
- Serves popular snacks like popcorn chicken.
- Located conveniently near the Golden Gate Park.
- Friendly and warm staff.
- Often cited for its value-for-money drink portions.
- Unique, distinguishable cup design.
- Drinks tend to be on the sweeter side.
- It can get very busy, leading to longer wait times.
- Indoor cleanliness is sometimes not up to par.
- WiFi can be unreliable.
- Parking is challenging.
- Drink cups don’t fit in standard vehicle cup holders.
Location: 3620 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94121