Whether it’s the peak of summer or the middle of winter in Hong Kong, there’s one staple drink that no one can resist: bubble tea. The Taiwanese drink fixture is more ubiquitous than ever — the renewed craze driven by more specialised shops and new trends such as honey pearls, brown sugar syrup and ‘cheese tea’. These days, you can’t walk a few blocks in Hong Kong without passing a corner shop with locals and expats alike lining up for their very own cup of bubble-filled joy. We spill the tea on the best shops for boba below.
Do you like both cheese and tea? We sure do. So what happens when you mix the two? Meet HeyTea, the originators of the now prevalent ‘cheese tea’ trend, bringing us one of the biggest recent fads in bubble tea’s evolution. With cheese that’s imported from New Zealand blended with fresh and condensed milk, every sip of your bubble tea promises to have an indulgent foamy layer that’s both light and refreshing. Unsure about adding cheese to your tea? HeyTea also offers the more basic bubble tea variations.
If you were around in 2017 when Cha Long first did a pop-up in Hysan Place, you’ll remember the long lines and early ‘sold out’ days. Thankfully, their iconic wolf head logo can now be seen at a number of shops around Hong Kong, offering us quick access to refreshing fresh fruit and pure drip iced teas, the best-selling nitrogen cha — an oolong and jasmine tea brewed in a similar way to beer — as well as different seasonal specials to watch out for.
Have you been hit by the brown sugar boba craze yet? Named after the streaks of brown sugar running down the sides of the cups that resemble tiger stripes, Taiwanese bubble tea brand Tiger Sugar was launched in Hong Kong last year, and has been met with huge enthusiasm from sugar fiends. Almost every item on the menu features the ingredient, regardless of whether you order a green or black tea. Looking for a creamy indulgent treat this summer? We highly recommend the brown sugar boba milk with cream mousse.
Xing Fu Tang
With a name that literally translates to ‘House of Happiness’, Xing Fu Tang is a must try if you’re an avid bubble tea fan. Their signature is also a brown sugar milk tea with tapioca pearls, but this place offers more variety with a selection of sodas and smoothies as well. Looking for a less calorie-dense quencher? Opt for the rose petal tea or the Taiwanese honey lemon tea.
The days of Instagramming cute moustaches are not quite over yet. Stamped with their charming facial hair logo, Mr. Tea offers a variety of traditional teas and juices, as well as cheese foam drinks that include an infusion of fresh juices — their cheese peach and cheese watermelon drinks are particularly nice for the ‘gram, boasting a pretty pink colour.
Mr. Tea, Shopa4, Causeway Place, 2-10 Great George Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 9222 9474
Recognisable by its flamboyant pink flamingo mascot, Flamingo Bloom takes its tea with a large spoonful of seriousness. All-natural with no preservatives, this tea house boasts freshly brewed tea every four hours. With drinks such as “let’s par-tea”, “love you so matcha” and “shake your boo-tea”, the cups are also adorned with highly Instagrammable, punny slogans.
If you haven’t seen a TenRen’s Tea in Hong Kong, it’s safe to say you’ve been walking around with your head in the clouds. As one of the original Taiwanese tea brands, TenRen’s Tea has exploded to more than 60 locations in Hong Kong, and is a true OG of the Hong Kong boba scene. They offer freshly brewed teas, smoothies, tea yoghurts and even decaffeinated teas — all with no artificial flavouring and only fresh fruits. Our top pick from this place would be their classic honey jasmine green tea.
Yuan Is Here
One of a handful of authentic Taiwanese eateries in town, Yuan Is Here brings the best of Taiwanese street food culture to our city, which naturally includes a healthy menu of bubble teas, with add-ons like boba, nata de coco and coffee jelly. The restaurant’s tea offerings can rival those from a dedicated tea house, and so can the line to get a table at the Kennedy Town location on any given night. If you’re looking for good bubble tea in Hong Kong, this is a place you don’t want to miss.
Yuan is Here, 31 North Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, +852 3579 2460
Not your cup of tea? Here’s where you can find the 20 best coffee shops in Hong Kong instead.