Boba are black tapioca balls in tea. It is also known as Bubble Tea or Pearl Milk Tea, and it is the best thing on the planet. This Taiwanese
delicacy has become extremely popular, and because of San Francisco’s large Asian
representation, San Francisco has been the epicenter of refining and innovating it. Here are the best places to grab yourself your own Bubble Tea treat.
Boba Guys is everything good about San Francisco mixed and shaken with everything good about Boba. The variety of tea (including Thai Iced Tea, Horchata, or the Original Milk Tea), the selection of different milks (Straus Family Organic Milk, Califia Farms Almond Milk, or Organic Soy Milk), the choice of level of ice and sweetness, and the ability to pick different kinds of tapioca additions (most of them homemade) come together to make your experience at Boba Guys exactly what you want it to be. While having choices at a Boba place isn’t rare, the quality options that are available is exclusive to Boba Guys, making it a must visit for lovers of Boba.
3491 19th St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 967 2622
429 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA, USA
Purple Kow is another great option for Boba lovers who want to fine-tune their Boba experience. What Purple Kow excels in is toppings. Whether you want the regular black Boba, pudding, mango, aloe vera jelly, or the black Boba in noodle form, Purple Kow has you covered. If you are already experienced in the Boba-verse, Purple Kow is the perfect place to go out of your comfort zone and get wild with it. Be prepared to wait in a line, though. Depending on the time of day, the line can be out the door and down the street.
3620 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 387 9009
2164 Center St, Berkeley, CA, USA +1 510 356 4808
If you love all different kinds of tea, Super Cue is the Boba place for you. With over 15 different options of tea, including Earl Grey, Jasmine, Dark Roast Oolong, Assam, and toffee (to name a few) and choices in sweetness, ice, and toppings, there are thousands of combinations to choose from. The different teas give your Boba its own character. Super Cue caters to the people who care about the quality of tea first.
1139 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 566 5888
1330 Ocean Ave, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 349 4407
Quickly is like the Starbucks of the Boba world, it’s everywhere and it gets the job done. It’s not as exciting or unique as some of the other options on the list, but due to the sheer number of locations and interesting food choices, Quickly has made itself a mainstay in the Boba world. The cute and colorful environment adds to the experience.
331 Clement St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 279 6833
44 W Portal Ave, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 340 3905
709 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 447 9003
Similar to Quickly, Posh Bagel is handy for a Boba emergency, with three locations spread throughout the city. While it does specialize in bagels (hence the name of the place), the Boba isn’t the worst and is definitely an option for those in need. Just don’t let it be your first Boba experience, for it is not a good representation of what the treat has the potential to be.
270 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 951 0133
495 Castro St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 552 2767
742 Irving St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 665 8858
Little Sweet feels like the most authentic Boba experience on the list. With the inclusion of Chinese characters on the menu and cups, assisted by the unique exotic flavors such as White Gourd and Ginger Milk tea, getting Boba at Little Sweet feels like stepping into an authentic Chinese Boba shop.
Little Sweet, 3836 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 702 6763
Bubble Tea Shop, Tea , $$$
STEEP is one of the newest kids on the Boba block. Being that as it may, STEEP’s Boba is already known by many to be a good, solid option for Boba in SOMA. The industry standard options of tea and toppings won’t surprise veterans of the Bubble Tea world, but the simple menu is a good entry point for Boba beginners.
STEEP, 240 Ritch St, San Francisco, CA, USA