Homegrown tea brand Boba Guys started from the bottom and now they’re here, opening a flagship location in Hayes Valley that will take the company to the next level. From the beginning, founders Andrew Chau and Bin Chen have been dedicated to creating boba that’s very authentically San Franciscan — meaning, all-natural and housemade teas, boba, and mixes, rather than the usual pre-made powders and syrups with factory tapioca crowding the scene. Chau and Chen took that philosophy all the way across the nation, where they recently opened a NYC location.
Now, the Guys are refocusing on SF, opening their biggest location yet. With that expanded space comes new menu additions that they’ve been testing in the Union Square location for the past few weeks. On the food side, there will now be made-to-order onigiri at the new location, in unusual flavors like mapo tofu, khao mun gai, and sriracha salmon. Flavors will rotate daily and the balls will be $5 each, with two making up a meal. There will also be a new addition to the toast scene with a distinctly Asian bent of toppings like kaya jam made with pandan leaves and 100 percent pure coconut cream, as well as one topped with housemade condensed milk buttercream.
As for drinks, there will the typical milk teas, lattes, and smoothies that made Boba Guys famous, but with some inventive new additions like nitro tea, tea flights, housemade boba and more — you can see the permanent drink menu in full below. "It’s a much bigger menu with a lot more experimental stuff," Chau told Eater. "Teas have been not been doing well with Samovars closing and David's not doing so well. So we tried to figure out if there's a different take on tea."
The duo is very aware of the need to innovate in the tea space to stay afloat. The nitro tea, for example, has rarely been done before, and the guys partnered with Black Sands Brewery to get it right. Eventually Chau and Chen will also apply for a beer and wine license to add even more offerings, most likely this winter.
Hours at this store will be 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.