Boba Girl in a Boba World

From the wise words of Fergie, bobalicious definition make them boys (and girls) go loco. Alright, that might not be quite what she said, but it still holds true. For those of you who don’t know, bubble tea has been a big part of my life. Growing up, I lived three blocks away from a local boba shop, where I would get crazy flavors like Chocolate Strawberry or Mint Mocha. In high school, boba shops were a frequent hangout spot for me and my friends. The cast of How I Met Your Mother had MacLaren’s Pub, the Friends cast had Central Perk, and my friends had TeaRex. I have tried many different teas from many different places– Chicago has a plethora of boba shops to suit any taste. In college, I currently work at a boba shop called 8 Degrees which my friends all say is very on-brand for me.

Tina and friends drinking boba
Me and my tapio-crew

I may not be a boba expert, but I do know my way around a good boba drink. For those who are less experienced with bubble tea, let me help you lose your tea-card (you know, like a v-card, but with tea). Don’t worry, I’ll go slow and make sure you’re comfortable the whole time. I figured I would make a little guide to help pick the right drink for you. I’ll be using the drinks from 8 Degrees because that’s all I have access to at the moment (oh, how I do miss my Windy Ci-tea). There are three main types of drinks at 8 Degrees, and I’ll go through each of them and my perceptions of each one. Hopefully, after learning about each type of tea, you’ll be able to choose which one suits you best.

Fruit Teas

For those who like the taste of Starbucks Refreshers, fruit teas are the drink for you! I love to drink fruit teas on a hot summer day when I really just need to cool off. It’s the lightest out of the other teas, so if you’re not looking for much of a commitment, I’d say go for a fruit tea. When I think of fruit teas, I think of lounging by the pool in my white summer dress and sun hat. My bedazzled cat-eye sunglasses are resting at the end of my nose as I flip through the pages of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. This image in my head may be a bit dramatized, but it’s just so you can get the full effect of what it feels like to drink a fruit tea.

Personally, I love 8 Degrees’ strawberry green tea. It’s not too sweet, yet still refreshing. Think about when you ran through the sprinkler as a kid. It’s like that. There is also some strawberry pulp in the drink which I absolutely love, but you can always ask for no pulp if that’s not your thing. If you want something with a more citrus taste, I would say go for the passionfruit green tea, or as my coworker likes to call it, the thirst quencher. This drink is a bit sweeter than the strawberry green tea, but it still tastes delicious. When I think of this drink, I think of playing volleyball on the beach, so if volleyball is your thing, I’d say go for the thirst quencher and quench that thirst.

Milk Teas

Milk teas are my personal favorite because they’re smoother and richer than the fruit teas. Even though 8 Degrees serves all their drinks cold, milk tea still feels like the perfect winter drink for me. When I think of milk teas, I think of being holed up in the back of the library with a blanket wrapped around you and books and papers sprawled across the table. Milk teas are my go-to study drink, and people often find me with a milk tea in my hand during midterms and finals. My two favorite milk teas at 8 Degrees are the thai milk tea and jasmine milk tea.

The rich color of thai milk tea is one of my favorites

Thai milk tea is very sweet, and I only get it when I’m feeling a little bubbly and want to satisfy my sweet tooth. I would compare it to when you’re with friends roasting marshmallows by the campfire. It’s a sweet feeling, yet very cozy and comforting. Being Thai, my mom makes thai tea every once in a while, so thai milk tea especially makes me feel a little closer to home.

Jasmine milk tea is less sweet than the thai and makes me feel more sophisticated whenever I drink it. It’s lighter than the other milk teas and is the perfect everyday drink. When I think of jasmine milk tea, I think of sitting on my living room couch with my purple socks brushing against the rug. I feel like the jasmine milk tea is suitable for any type of taste bud and is the jack-of-all-trades for milk tea.

Classic Teas

Last but not least, there are the classic teas. The classic teas at 8 Degrees are pure tea with no creamer and little to no sweetness. It can be a little bitter because of that, but don’t let that stop you from trying it out! Classic teas are a bit more traditional and take a more acquired taste in my opinion. When I think of classic teas, I think of college professors in sweater vests and elbow pads giving a history lecture. Even though I’m personally not a big fan of these teas, I would say that the jasmine green tea or matcha tea is the way to go. If you want something sweeter, I’d recommend going for the jasmine green tea. The matcha tea is a bit more bitter and has a stronger flavor to it, so unless you have a thirst for being adventurous, the jasmine green tea is the safer route.

Conclusion

So there you have it! Hopefully, my rundown on types of bubble tea helps some of you decide what you’re craving. Everyone has different tastes though, so it’s okay if you don’t agree with my choices. In fact, that makes things more interesting because then it allows for the opportunity to try new things and develop your own list of things you like! If there are any other flavors you love that I didn’t mention, feel free to comment and let me know! I’m always open to trying new things. So round up your bubble tea-mmates and your bo-buddies and quench that thirst for boba!

“T to the A, to the S T E Y, girl, it’s tasty”

– Fergie

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