We’re not quite sure if it’s the creamy sweetness of the drink, the bursts of flavours from the popping bubbles, the delightful chewiness of the tapioca pearls, or the aesthetically pleasing vibes it effortlessly emits that make bubble (or boba) tea one of our all-time favourite drinks.
And of course, our beloved Cape Town – the city that keeps on giving – offers a multitude of places to grab these iconic tall, thick-strawed drinks in a plethora of flavours and toppings that can be enjoyed as a refreshingly tasty drink or a liquid dessert appropriate at any time of the day.
Here are six places in and around Cape Town for when you’re craving your daily dose of bubbles:
The fictional ‘Princess Téa’ from the kingdom of Cha (Chinese term for tea) and her very real Royal Tea team have spread to over 600 locations across Asia, Canada, the USA and South Africa with the single mission of bringing the elite quality and joys of contemporary Chinese tea drinking culture.
From Fruit teas to ‘smooteas’ and milk teas, Royal Tea uses only natural ingredients and premium teas straight from China, Japan and India that make for a bubble tea that will keep you coming back for more.
Have you heard of the cheese tea trend? And no we’re not talking about gouda and cheddar cheese, don’t worry. Think of an already perfect-tasting oolong-based tea… then add a cream cheese topping to it. The ultimate liquid dessert? Yes, we think so too. Royal Tea offers an entire selection of cheese teas ranging from Creamy Lime, the Royal Green, to Rose and Shine and a few more.
You could also simply add it as a topping to any bubble tea on their menu.
- Locations: Level one, V&A Waterfront | WE ARE EGG, Cavendish Square, 1 Dreyer Street
- Times: Monday to Sunday 9am to 9pm
Susu Bubble Tea
Susu Bubble Tea popped onto the food scene and has been deemed a bubble tea lover hotspot. Beyond the fact that bubble tea (a gem of the 2010s) has made a huge comeback as a force to be reckoned with in the beverage department, Susu’s location is the epitome of quirky creativity. Colourful and playful in design, it’s the café that anyone who would love to live in a colouring book has to try. From ‘Susu slush’ to ‘milk teas’ and macchiato tasties, Susu’s menu is both expansive and niche to all your bubble tea dreams.
The trick to serving the perfect bubble tea is getting the ratio between tea and bubbles just right. If you enter from the street side, you’ll pass their window that says “Bring on the bubbles” and best believe, that’s exactly what they do.
- Locations: 72 Waterkant Street, Green Point | The Pumphouse, 6 Dock Road, V&A Waterfront | Tygervalley Centre, Willie Van Schoor, Bill Bezuidenhout Avenue
- Times: Monday to Saturday 9am to 8pm | Sunday 10am to 7pm
Ying Son Asian Foods
It’s your southern suburbs’ one-stop shop for light meals, Asian groceries, and bubble tea of course. This little gem just off the main road in Kenilworth Upper has something different on the lunch menu every day that’s always fresh and delicious too. From Katsu curry to dumplings and more.
You can even stock up on all the Asian staples – dashi stock, mirin, soy sauce, gochujang, frozen gyoza, dried seaweeds and mushrooms and a whole bunch more.
Once you’ve satisfied your tummy and stocked up on the staples. It’s time to get down to the bubbles. Their one-of-a-kind White Rabbit bubble tea is a drink you simply have to try. The bubble tea was only introduced in November last year but the iconic White Rabbit creamy milk candy with its edible rice paper wrapping that inspires it has been a Shanghai favourite since 1943. It’s a bubble tea you can’t get anywhere else, which makes it even more enticing than it already is.
Oh, we forgot to mention that if you don’t feel like leaving the house, Mr D can bring the goods right to your doorstep.
- Location: 3 Mains Avenue, Kenilworth
- Times: Monday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm | Saturday 9 am to 1 pm
If you’re yearning for some pink aesthetics and picturesque bubble teas, look no further than Booba Beautea. Its iconic flower wall and cute pink accents will make you giddy before even getting your bubble tea. With a choice of UJI matcha, ocean nectar, black tea latte and strawberry lover being just a few of the options on the menu, deciding which drink to order will be no easy feat.
But once you’ve conquered your indecisiveness, we guarantee it’ll well be worth it. And that’s not all. Customers looking to grab a bite to eat can also order a healthy, tasty and filling poké bowl and those with a sweet tooth can choose from the variety of desserts available. It’s not just a pretty spot, it’s an Asian-inspired trifecta: Bubble tea, poké, and mochi desserts.
If you’re situated in the southern suburbs and the thought of travelling to Stellenbosch just for a drink seems a little over the top, the fact that Booba Beautea has recently found a new home in Canal Walk might make you grab your car keys a whole lot quicker.
- Location: 112 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch | Upper level, Canal Walk
- Times: Monday to Saturday 10 am to 6 pm | Sunday 10 am to 3 pm
Say hello to the new kid on the block. Bobalicious is another bubble tea establishment that’s recently found a place of its own to call home after rooming it alongside Kaprinos Tikka Grill (affectionately referred to as KTG for short) that makes some killer burgers, wraps and toasties as well as mouth-watering chicken/meaty/prawns grills using basting sauces from honey and lime, to bbq, tikka, and lemon butter tikka.
But we digress. With an extensive menu ranging from the usual milk teas like taro and matcha, the fruit teas like mango, peach, and mixed berries, to more unique bubble ice coffees and gassy lemonade refreshers (talk about double bubbly), bubble tea lovers in the southern suburbs don’t have to look very far when those boba cravings rise.
Speaking of cravings, bubble tea lovers with an extra sweet tooth can opt for macarons, boba-shaped biscuits and other treats while soaking in all the good vibes that come with Bobalicious’ aesthetic decor.
- Location: 350 Imam Haron Road, Lansdowne
- Times: Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday 11am to 5pm | Friday 2:30pm to 9:30pm | Saturday 11am to 9:30pm
Amidst the usual hubbub one finds within the Mojo Market on a busy Friday night when live music performances serenade the ears, or the crowd’s cheers from the live-streamed sports game synergise your own excitement, a bubble tea oasis can be found in the heart of it all.
TeAwesome, a traditional Taiwanese Tea (otherwise known as bubble tea) and Juice bar was founded in 2015 and has simply been flourishing ever since. Their teas are brewed freshly in store to ensure that we bubble tea lovers can be guaranteed flavours and fragrances that will our noses, tummies and souls all at once. Since it’s a build-a-drink kind of format, they have a list of top bubble tea options to help guide any fellow indecisives (try the taro milk tea, one can never go wrong with taro).
And if you’re feeling peckish, there’s a range of poké bowls to choose from too.
- Location: Shop 43 Mojo Market, 30 Regent Road, Sea Point
- Times: Monday to Sunday 8am to midnight
Written by Tauhira Ajam for Cape Etc.
Feature image: Pexels