By Mariela Patron
Milk tea, cake, ice cream, shaved ice and ice pops.
These are some of the sweet treats in which foodies can find boba— the chewy tapioca balls, sometimes known as bubbles. Popular with milk tea, boba adds texture and a special sweetness to the drink. And luckily for boba lovers, the boba scene continues to expand in the D.C. area.
Judie K. uses Instagram to highlight some of her favorite boba shops in the area that offer the bubbles on soft serve with cones, cakes, iced tea or milk tea. For beginners, she recommends going for the classic black milk tea with boba. The drink is also known as pearl tea in some places.
"That is known to be a classic back in Taiwan and all over the U.S.," Judie, who is Taiwanese-American, said. "The black milk tea is usually an indicator if the place is even good in the first place."
So what makes a good boba? Judie says to look for a boba that is chewy, but not too chewy, and it does not melt in your mouth.
So whether you're a long-time boba lover or new to the game —here are four places to mix and match flavors to satisfy your sweet tooth.
312 Main St, Gaithersburg, Maryland
BobaPop in Gaithersburg, offers tea made with leaves from Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam and India. Sam Lin, the owner, said they brew the tea in small batches every hour for a fresh flavor. The shop offers a tea that isn't found in a lot of similar tea shops: Japanese brown rice tea.
Lin says that temperature affects the texture of the boba balls. Therefore, his shop got down to the science for the perfect texture. Just like the tea, Lin says the boba balls are made every hour, so customers can expect to have the perfect texture in their drink when it is served.
BobaPop also offers a community for K-Pop fans. The shop has held events to celebrate the birthdays of BTS members J-Hope and Suga, as well as NCT's Johnny.
4828 MacArthur Blvd NW Washington, D.C.
If you want the milk tea and boba experience along with Taiwanese cuisine, Momo's Cafe in Northwest D.C. is the whole package.
"They do a really good job in showcasing what makes Taiwanese food, Taiwanese," Judie said.
Momo's offers tea flavors such as wintermelon lemon and assam and hokkaido milk tea. The boba is "chewy and pretty tasty," Judie says. She also recommends their "smooth" matcha.
33 Maryland Ave Unit A, Rockville, Maryland
If milk tea isn't your thing, at Kyoto Matcha you can get boba as a topping for its milk or matcha soft serves. This spot also has a brown sugar boba milk cap cake that is perfect for Instagram.
1959 E Street NW Washington, D.C.
To accompany your boba, SecreTea offers tea that is "only picked in the current season of the countries" they are imported from. The shop offers seasonally inspired drinks and keeps its customers on their toes by regularly announcing its "secret tea of the month."
"Our goal is to redefine the way people think of boba," the owner Rong Tang said.
The "secret tea of the month" usually showcases the shop's creative side. For April, customers could get a "Sunny-Side Up Marshmallow Egg"— a marshmallow that resembles a sunny-side-up egg —as a topping.
Tang said her most popular drink has been the bunny drink that looked just as cute as its name.