By Mercedes Adams
Is Boba the new Starbucks? Boba culture, rooted in Taiwan, has made its way into the Lexington community. The little black gelatin spheres, made from tapioca starch, are tapioca pearls. Often dipped and simmered in brown sugar syrup giving them a sweet taste and dark color are added to your choice of milk tea as a topping. Of course, if this doesn’t sound like something that you could get behind, most boba shops offer other options as toppings like red bean or lychee, as well as non-milk-based drinks that you can get regularly iced or slushed. A nice thing about boba is that you can choose your level of sweetness by choosing sugar percentages. This way you have more control over making your perfect drink. The good news is that with four major boba shops it’s hard not to find one that fits what you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for an authentic, all-natural cup of milk tea, then Tsaocha is the place for you. Focused on making a pure-tasting bubble tea by using real and fresh ingredients, the flavor is serving in more ways than one. The shop is decorated in warm and unique ways, from the charming velvet chairs to the various tchotchkes, some simply come for the decor. The establishment is near downtown, located in a suite off South Broadway and is available for dine-in, takeout and no-contact delivery.
A Boba shop that has more of a New York feel is Black Pearl Bubble Tea. Directly connected to a Vietnamese restaurant, Pho BC, located on West Lowry Lane off Nicholasville Road, you have plenty of options if you’re craving something other than milk tea. They also have macarons shipped in from NYC that pair nicely with your choice of Boba. Simplistic decor and limited seating make this place somewhat exclusive when it comes to the dine-in experience, however, they do also offer takeout.
If you don’t have much experience with Boba, Bubble Tea Studio might be a better fit for you! They have a pretty self-explanatory menu and a very knowledgeable staff to help with any questions. There are a couple of Instagram-worthy photo ops with their beautiful deer mural and bright lighting fixtures that create the perfect setting for a date with friends or partners. They even have free parking in the garage for customers. As for service options, they are available for dine-in, takeout, and delivery, through Grubhub.
Kung Fu Tea is the newest addition to our community, perfectly located for UK students under the Hub on South Limestone. Kung Fu Tea is considered to be the largest bubble tea brand in America, according to their website. With perfectly cooked toppings and delicious flavors, it makes for some good Boba. While they may be known for their drinks, if you get the chance to try their chicken sandwich, we promise it won’t disappoint! Although it is already open for business, in a soft launch phase, the boba shop is expected to have a grand opening later this month. Parking is free for customers in the garage under the Hub, but space is limited. However, they do offer takeout and no-contact delivery if that ever does become an issue.
Whether you’re in or near downtown Lexington, there’s sure to be a Boba shop close to you. Boba is more than the toppings and flavor, it’s a culture and experience that is worth being a part of. If it’s new to you, then give it a try. It may surprise you how much you enjoy it. If you’re a veteran when it comes to Boba, maybe it’s time to give a new place a try! Either way, go get your Boba on, and don’t forget to tip your Boba baristas!