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13 Bomb Boba Shops in the South Bay

Where to get your bubble tea fix in Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Santa Clara, and San Jose

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The South Bay Area has no shortage of boba. Whether you’re craving classic creamy milk teas, refreshing fruity drinks, or cheese foam galore, you’re sure to find it here. In fact, Cupertino is home to the first boba shop to ever open in the US. And though bubble tea may have hailed from Taiwan, the options for “boba’’ have since transcended beyond simple teas with chewy tapioca pearls, and today’s options run the assortment of sweet drinks and wild toppings. But out of the plethora of big chains and local spots, a few stand out as the cream of the crop. Slurp on.

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Yifang Taiwan Fruit Tea

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Yifang specializes in fruit teas with natural ingredients sourced from their own farmlands in Taiwan: Its original flavor was derived from a golden pineapple jam made by the founder’s grandmother, whose family had grown pineapples for generations. With homemade organic cane sugar, seasonal fresh fruit, and organic milk, Yifang recreates family recipes in various forms. But even as the shop sticks to its roots, it continues to expand on many fronts. Yifang’s three Northern California locations recently introduced freshly baked Taiwanese Egg Pancakes to their menus.

Happy Lemon

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Even as one of the largest beverage chains with more than 1,500 locations around the world, Happy Lemon doesn’t sacrifice quality. The franchise sources fruit from its own Happy Lemon Farm in Taiwan, and most of their toppings are handmade. The Bay Area locations serve a variety of fruit teas, cheese teas, fresh fruit smoothies, fruit slushies, milk teas, classic brewed teas, and yakult, but don’t miss out on their infamous Salted Cheese — a rich, cheesy foam with a dash of rock salt that is layered on top of their tea drinks — and their custardy, house-made puff cream. And for our friends in the city, fear not. Happy Lemon also has three locations in San Francisco.

Founded by the original creator of boba milk tea in Taiwan, TP Tea stands for “Taiwan Professional Tea” and aims to honor the tea-drinking culture that harkens back to the Tang Dynasty. As a chain that’s been around for more than 30 years, TP Tea still imports their ingredients, even their cane sugar, from Taiwan. And takes the quality of their tea seriously, as exemplified in their Tie Guan Yin Milk Tea, which is made from a special kind of oolong and carries a strong roasted flavor. Other crowd favorites include the Strawberry Milk Tea, Passion Fruit Green Tea, and Premium Green Tea Latte with green tea leaves that are aromatized five times using jasmine flowers.

Tiger Sugar Cupertino

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If you’re a fan of brown sugar milk boba, you’ve heard of Tiger Sugar, the boba shop that helped popularize the international trend. With roots in Taiwan, the chain is known for its Black Sugar Boba Milk, which brings out these distinct streaks — or “tiger stripes” — on the cup and makes for quite the Instagram photo. Tiger Sugar cooks their tapioca pearls in a sweet, caramelized brown sugar syrup, made daily with ingredients imported from Taiwan, and serves it with organic milk, which results in creamy and delectable drinks. There’s also a second location opening in San Jose soon, so stay tuned for more Tiger Sugar mania in the Bay Area.

Fantasia Coffee & Tea

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The first boba shop in the US was none other than Fantasia Coffee and Tea. Established in 1997, Fantasia made a name for itself by informing the community of tea’s many health benefits. To this day, the shop’s tried-and-true beverages are made with unrefined tea leaves and natural ingredients. Though their menu options vary by season, some of their most consistently popular drinks are the Classic Milk Teas, Fresh Grapefruit Green Tea, Lychee Green Tea, Taro Fresh Milk, and the Muddy Okinawa Teas, which are delicately topped with cream and Oreo crumbs.

Ten Ren Tea

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Ten Ren Tea originated in Taiwan as a small shop that sold loose teas. Once they began serving boba milk teas in the 1990’s, they introduced them at all locations, and the rest is history.

Unlike modern boba shops that adapt to new trends, Ten Ren has always focused on the quality of the teas themselves, emphasizing their flavor and strength. By making them extra strong when brewing, they ensure the distinct taste of the teas remains intact even with the addition of ice, milk, and sugar. Ten Ren’s best selling drinks at their Bay Area locations are the Black Milk Tea, Green Milk Tea, and Roasted Oolong Milk Tea, and they continue to sell their premium tea products that range from $10 to over $300 per pound.

Tan-Cha

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SoCal native Tan-Cha found a home for itself in the Bay. Unlike boba shops that offer sweet foam in just one flavor, Tan-Cha is known for its variety, with options like cheese foam, matcha foam, and tiramisu puff cream. They discourage the use of straws, so you can enjoy the foam in all its glory. When it comes to fruit teas, Tan-Cha drinks contain slices of real fruit without any artificial sweeteners or syrups. The elegant blend of ingredients makes for pretty aesthetic drinks.

Tong Sui (Sunnyvale) - Desserts & Drinks

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“Tong Sui” is a Cantonese term that conveys the essence of thoughtfully prepared, traditional desserts, and this Sunnyvale shop captures that with their hearty teas, fresh smoothies, and coconut puddings. Tong Sui prides itself on using local ingredients, like organic milk from Alexandre Family Farm. The hydrating Coconut Ice Bomb is one of their most commonly ordered drinks, made with whole coconut and topped with coconut flakes, and the Avocado Smoothie with Mango Paste is another nutritious option that regulars enjoy. Tong Sui will soon open a second location in San Mateo, and the team is ideating some special drinks for the Peninsula .

Teaspoon

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Though Teaspoon may have started as one small shop in Los Altos, it now boasts locations throughout the Bay. There’s an open kitchen at each of its shops, so visitors can see what goes into crafting their drinks. Teaspoon keeps its menu fresh, regularly introducing new drinks that incorporate seasonal fruits and ingredients. Their homemade marmalades make for delicious sweet fruit teas — namely their Silky Mango drink, which is inspired by mango pudding and made with their signature mango marmalade, organic milk, and honey boba. Another popular beverage, dubbed Liquid Gold, is a sparkling double-roasted honey oolong tea topped with cream.

Jiaren Cafe

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As a nonprofit cafe that aims to raise awareness for female empowerment and wellness, Jiaren Cafe’s mission resonates deeply with the South Bay Area community. They host fundraisers to elevate local nonprofit organizations and even offer mindfulness and yoga classes in a designated studio space connected to the cafe. Sourcing ingredients from other female-owned businesses, Jiaren Cafe serves an assortment of local craft coffees, teas, sparkling fruit beverages, and herbal drinks. During the pandemic, the shop introduced boba drinks to their menu, which now make up a majority of their sales. The Charcoal Hojicha Milk Tea and matcha drinks have become staples.

Urban Ritual

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Urban Ritual made its way south after its original SF location drew large crowds from all over the Bay. Not only can visitors create their own drinks with selections of base teas, milk options, sweetness levels, and toppings, but the specialty drinks push the boundaries of what a boba drink can be. The Crème Brûlée drink embraces Urban Ritual’s creative approach: After Crème Brûlée is baked via traditional techniques, it’s then infused into a classic milk drink with honey boba and torched raw sugar — which creates a unique mix of velvety and crumbly textures.

TeaLyfe Drinks

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Tea Lyfe may have started in a family’s small kitchen but it quickly climbed its way up the boba chain after transitioning to a pop-up and then opening at a brick-and-mortar store in San Jose. With two locations today, it still embodies its humble beginnings. By melding both the family’s Vietnamese and Mexican cultures into their menu offerings, Tea Lyfe stands out from other boba shops through drinks like Vietchata, which is infused with Vietnamese coffee and the family’s time-honored horchata recipe.

Pekoe Tea Bar

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Stepping into Pekoe might feel like entering the doors of a nightclub — the booming EDM tunes, colorful neon lights, and dim atmosphere make for an upbeat ambience unlike typical boba shops. Though started in a home kitchen, it’s grown into a new social experience for boba lovers at both locations in San Jose. The menu options allow for full customization of tea strength and flavor, as well as the amount of cream, sweetness, and ice. Specialties include the Pretty in Pink, a strawberry milk tea drink that comes with strawberry hearts, and Foxy Brown, a milk tea infused with organic golden, demerara, and turbinado sugars.

Yifang Taiwan Fruit Tea

Yifang specializes in fruit teas with natural ingredients sourced from their own farmlands in Taiwan: Its original flavor was derived from a golden pineapple jam made by the founder’s grandmother, whose family had grown pineapples for generations. With homemade organic cane sugar, seasonal fresh fruit, and organic milk, Yifang recreates family recipes in various forms. But even as the shop sticks to its roots, it continues to expand on many fronts. Yifang’s three Northern California locations recently introduced freshly baked Taiwanese Egg Pancakes to their menus.

Happy Lemon

Even as one of the largest beverage chains with more than 1,500 locations around the world, Happy Lemon doesn’t sacrifice quality. The franchise sources fruit from its own Happy Lemon Farm in Taiwan, and most of their toppings are handmade. The Bay Area locations serve a variety of fruit teas, cheese teas, fresh fruit smoothies, fruit slushies, milk teas, classic brewed teas, and yakult, but don’t miss out on their infamous Salted Cheese — a rich, cheesy foam with a dash of rock salt that is layered on top of their tea drinks — and their custardy, house-made puff cream. And for our friends in the city, fear not. Happy Lemon also has three locations in San Francisco.

TP Tea

Founded by the original creator of boba milk tea in Taiwan, TP Tea stands for “Taiwan Professional Tea” and aims to honor the tea-drinking culture that harkens back to the Tang Dynasty. As a chain that’s been around for more than 30 years, TP Tea still imports their ingredients, even their cane sugar, from Taiwan. And takes the quality of their tea seriously, as exemplified in their Tie Guan Yin Milk Tea, which is made from a special kind of oolong and carries a strong roasted flavor. Other crowd favorites include the Strawberry Milk Tea, Passion Fruit Green Tea, and Premium Green Tea Latte with green tea leaves that are aromatized five times using jasmine flowers.

Tiger Sugar Cupertino

If you’re a fan of brown sugar milk boba, you’ve heard of Tiger Sugar, the boba shop that helped popularize the international trend. With roots in Taiwan, the chain is known for its Black Sugar Boba Milk, which brings out these distinct streaks — or “tiger stripes” — on the cup and makes for quite the Instagram photo. Tiger Sugar cooks their tapioca pearls in a sweet, caramelized brown sugar syrup, made daily with ingredients imported from Taiwan, and serves it with organic milk, which results in creamy and delectable drinks. There’s also a second location opening in San Jose soon, so stay tuned for more Tiger Sugar mania in the Bay Area.

Fantasia Coffee & Tea

The first boba shop in the US was none other than Fantasia Coffee and Tea. Established in 1997, Fantasia made a name for itself by informing the community of tea’s many health benefits. To this day, the shop’s tried-and-true beverages are made with unrefined tea leaves and natural ingredients. Though their menu options vary by season, some of their most consistently popular drinks are the Classic Milk Teas, Fresh Grapefruit Green Tea, Lychee Green Tea, Taro Fresh Milk, and the Muddy Okinawa Teas, which are delicately topped with cream and Oreo crumbs.

Ten Ren Tea

Ten Ren Tea originated in Taiwan as a small shop that sold loose teas. Once they began serving boba milk teas in the 1990’s, they introduced them at all locations, and the rest is history.

Unlike modern boba shops that adapt to new trends, Ten Ren has always focused on the quality of the teas themselves, emphasizing their flavor and strength. By making them extra strong when brewing, they ensure the distinct taste of the teas remains intact even with the addition of ice, milk, and sugar. Ten Ren’s best selling drinks at their Bay Area locations are the Black Milk Tea, Green Milk Tea, and Roasted Oolong Milk Tea, and they continue to sell their premium tea products that range from $10 to over $300 per pound.

Tan-Cha

SoCal native Tan-Cha found a home for itself in the Bay. Unlike boba shops that offer sweet foam in just one flavor, Tan-Cha is known for its variety, with options like cheese foam, matcha foam, and tiramisu puff cream. They discourage the use of straws, so you can enjoy the foam in all its glory. When it comes to fruit teas, Tan-Cha drinks contain slices of real fruit without any artificial sweeteners or syrups. The elegant blend of ingredients makes for pretty aesthetic drinks.

Tong Sui (Sunnyvale) - Desserts & Drinks

“Tong Sui” is a Cantonese term that conveys the essence of thoughtfully prepared, traditional desserts, and this Sunnyvale shop captures that with their hearty teas, fresh smoothies, and coconut puddings. Tong Sui prides itself on using local ingredients, like organic milk from Alexandre Family Farm. The hydrating Coconut Ice Bomb is one of their most commonly ordered drinks, made with whole coconut and topped with coconut flakes, and the Avocado Smoothie with Mango Paste is another nutritious option that regulars enjoy. Tong Sui will soon open a second location in San Mateo, and the team is ideating some special drinks for the Peninsula .

Teaspoon

Though Teaspoon may have started as one small shop in Los Altos, it now boasts locations throughout the Bay. There’s an open kitchen at each of its shops, so visitors can see what goes into crafting their drinks. Teaspoon keeps its menu fresh, regularly introducing new drinks that incorporate seasonal fruits and ingredients. Their homemade marmalades make for delicious sweet fruit teas — namely their Silky Mango drink, which is inspired by mango pudding and made with their signature mango marmalade, organic milk, and honey boba. Another popular beverage, dubbed Liquid Gold, is a sparkling double-roasted honey oolong tea topped with cream.

Jiaren Cafe

As a nonprofit cafe that aims to raise awareness for female empowerment and wellness, Jiaren Cafe’s mission resonates deeply with the South Bay Area community. They host fundraisers to elevate local nonprofit organizations and even offer mindfulness and yoga classes in a designated studio space connected to the cafe. Sourcing ingredients from other female-owned businesses, Jiaren Cafe serves an assortment of local craft coffees, teas, sparkling fruit beverages, and herbal drinks. During the pandemic, the shop introduced boba drinks to their menu, which now make up a majority of their sales. The Charcoal Hojicha Milk Tea and matcha drinks have become staples.

Urban Ritual

Urban Ritual made its way south after its original SF location drew large crowds from all over the Bay. Not only can visitors create their own drinks with selections of base teas, milk options, sweetness levels, and toppings, but the specialty drinks push the boundaries of what a boba drink can be. The Crème Brûlée drink embraces Urban Ritual’s creative approach: After Crème Brûlée is baked via traditional techniques, it’s then infused into a classic milk drink with honey boba and torched raw sugar — which creates a unique mix of velvety and crumbly textures.

TeaLyfe Drinks

Tea Lyfe may have started in a family’s small kitchen but it quickly climbed its way up the boba chain after transitioning to a pop-up and then opening at a brick-and-mortar store in San Jose. With two locations today, it still embodies its humble beginnings. By melding both the family’s Vietnamese and Mexican cultures into their menu offerings, Tea Lyfe stands out from other boba shops through drinks like Vietchata, which is infused with Vietnamese coffee and the family’s time-honored horchata recipe.

Pekoe Tea Bar

Stepping into Pekoe might feel like entering the doors of a nightclub — the booming EDM tunes, colorful neon lights, and dim atmosphere make for an upbeat ambience unlike typical boba shops. Though started in a home kitchen, it’s grown into a new social experience for boba lovers at both locations in San Jose. The menu options allow for full customization of tea strength and flavor, as well as the amount of cream, sweetness, and ice. Specialties include the Pretty in Pink, a strawberry milk tea drink that comes with strawberry hearts, and Foxy Brown, a milk tea infused with organic golden, demerara, and turbinado sugars.

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