Photo Credit: Moujib Aghrout
Top five bubble tea spots near campus
Maryam Wasim, The Mike Contributor
Bubble tea, pearl tea, boba, whatever you want to call it: it’s certainly incredibly popular in Toronto. Hailing from Taiwan, bubble tea now comes in a rich variety of flavours and presentations, and you’re bound to see people enjoying the drink in classes around campus. I personally thought bubble tea was a strange concept when it was first introduced to this city, but a friend from Hong Kong convinced me to try it, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Here are the top five bubble tea places near campus.
CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice -— 648 Yonge St.
CoCo now has a couple of locations across the city (including two right on Yonge Street near St. Mike’s), and rightfully so; its teas are high in quality and taste. I’ve yet to try a single item from the menu that I didn’t enjoy! My personal recommendations are the Bubble Gaga, classic Pearl Milk Tea, and Mango Green Tea. CoCo is a staple for when I’m craving bubble tea, but not feeling too adventurous. Look out for its monthly deals and specials if you want to try a new drink, but don’t feel like spending too much money for something you might not end up liking.
The Alley — 5 St. Joseph St.
You’re unlikely to nab a place in the seating area at busy times, and that’s no surprise: The Alley has an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere, with wood accents and lighting that make the experience even better. Its Aurora series drinks, while on the pricier side at $8, are colourful layered tea concoctions that look like the summer sky or Northern lights in a jar, and would look great on an Instagram feed. High-quality tea and visuals make this place a favourite for many people I know.
Labothéry — 717 Bay St.
Labothéry opened this year and boasts an interesting concept: make your own bubble tea from tubes and syringes as if you’re in a laboratory! The fact that you can act like a tea scientist and choose your own tapioca flavours that are charmingly packaged to resemble petri dishes, combined with being able to pick literally any flavour combination you want makes this a fun experience overall! Bonus: the people who work there all wear lab coats.
Chatime — 439 Yonge St.
Chatime is overall a popular chain and one of the first mainstream bubble tea chains to make it to Toronto. It has a wide variety of flavours and types of drinks (e.g. slushies), so you can try them all out and see which ones you would like! It also has drinks topped with savoury mousse, which can be hit-or-miss but are perfect for when you’re feeling adventurous.
Budget Pick: Dragon City Mall — 280 Spadina Avenue
Craving bubble tea? Have you, like me, already used up all your money for the month? Were you too broke to begin with (again, like me)? Try this small restaurant in the corner of Dragon City Mall at Kensington Market that also sells bubble tea, where you can get a Pearl Milk Tea for about $2.50 if you’re willing to scrounge change from your pockets. You will be sacrificing a lot of the quality and taste compared to other places on this list, but it will hit the spot, guaranteed!