The Best Places for Boba in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is bubbling over with great boba places
There’s nothing like adding a little texture to your cup of tea, thanks to a good helping of slightly sweet and gummy tapiocas. While it may not be appropriate to call them “boba” in the tea drink’s native Taiwan due to its translation, that’s predominantly how it’s referred to here in the U.S. Enjoy this Taiwanese treat by pulling each pearl through the oversized straw inserted into every cup.
The chewy treats at the bottom are like a little snack that comes with your drink. The tea shops with the best boba soak their tapiocas every few hours so that they achieve just the right texture - a good gummy bite without any sogginess. Fortunately for L.A., top notch tea shops have opened throughout the city, so there are plenty of places where you can quench your thirst with this fun, caffeinated cocktail of whimsy.
NOTE: Hours and opening dates change frequently. Check individual websites for updated information.
Alfred Tea Room
This elegant shop off Melrose Place is the perfect, quaint getaway for a modern take on the tea house featuring natural sweeteners. They’ve got a tasty matcha tea and tea latte to which you can add your boba - available hot or iced - as well as the signature Alfred Pink Drink, and it looks exactly how it sounds. It’s infused with beetroot and sweetened with strawberry and pomegranate and one of their best boba flavors to try.
The bi-coastal boba tea phenomenon, Boba Guys opened its first L.A. location at PLATFORM in Culver City in May 2018. A second location followed in Historic Filipinotown. Since launching in 2011 as a pop-up in S.F., founders Andrew Chau and Bin Chen have garnered national acclaim for their artisanal, “third wave roasting” approach to boba. The Boba Guys only stock high end ingredients including Straus Family Creamery organic milk, house-brewed heirloom premium tea, house made syrup (no powders or artificial syrups), Grade A balls, and almond jelly and grass jelly made from scratch.
If a good Taiwanese boba tea house in the middle of Chinatown is what you need, then Bubble U is just the place for the best bubble tea in Chinatown. They’ve got teas, icees, smoothies and all the toppings you could ever want, besides boba, of course. Bento boxes as well as snacks such as popcorn chicken, squid balls and flavored french fries are perfect for washing down with your tea drink.
CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice - FIGat7th
CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice is a prolific drinks purveyor straight from Taiwan to the Taste Food Hall at FIGat7th in Downtown LA. Delivery is available via Postmates. One of their unique offerings worth a try is the Panda Milk Tea, which includes sago - made from the starch of the pith from palm trees - itself worth exploring for its texture other than boba.
Half & Half Good Old Time
Half & Half is a longtime San Gabriel Valley favorite with several Tea House / Tea Express locations and especially good tea and freshly soaked boba. Just when you thought tea house menus couldn’t get any more extensive, the Half & Half Good Old Time menu offers yogurt drinks, slushes and smoothies as well as brick toasts and dry noodles.
Kung Fu Tea - Koreatown
Kung Fu Tea is a New York import that comes with a lot of options for customizing your drink - but they’ve also got seasonal items for your evolving tastes. Some unique takes include their slushes, Milk Strike (with freshly cooked Red Bean or Oreo WOW Bubbles), and specials like the rich and creamy Purple Yam Latte.
Little Fluffy Head Cafe
If you’re looking for unique boba, this tiny tea shop in the heart of Downtown LA will have you rethinking what it means to have cheese on your tea. Though other places offer milky toppings, Little Fluffy Head has a variety of “cheeses” with which to top whichever tea you desire - resulting in a variety of interesting combinations that will have you coming back for more. The to-go cap that allows you to sip your cheese tea is essential!
MILK+T - Little Tokyo
Launched as "the world's first self-serve boba truck" in December 2015, MILK+T opened a flagship location in Little Tokyo in October 2017 and has since expanded to Portland and Chicago. MILK+T touts its all-natural ingredients, including real fruit and sugar for syrups and lactose-free milk teas. The signature Sip N' Dips are Instagram-ready and include the Feelin' Salty (black milk tea, salted caramel, topped with vanilla ice cream) and the aptly named Guilt Trip with "milk snow" and vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate and caramel.
Mini Monster - Universal CityWalk
Located at Universal CityWalk Hollywood, Mini Monster offers some of the most Instagram-ready drinks in LA. Order your drink in a giant upside-down light bulb or an etched mason jar, topped with a spun-to-order cotton candy cloud for that perfect shot. Don't miss the Mini Macarons filled with ganache!
Pearl's Finest Teas
Priding themselves on using all natural sugars while creating visually appealing teas that span the rainbow, Pearl’s Finest Teas is a gem on Fairfax that serves drinks pretty enough to hydrate a unicorn. They serve a trim menu of refined options to which of course you can add boba, including horchata boba milk tea, chamango and orange yuzu.