Between 2013 and 2014, I think I may have gone overboard with my milk tea craze. In 2013, I discovered my love for milk tea after experiencing it in the 626 area aka San Gabriel Valley aka the home of milk tea.
You’re probably thinking, “What? You’re Asian. How is it that you JUST discovered your love for it?” Well, let’s see… I’ve tried homemade milk tea before at my friend’s house and I wasn’t too much of a fan of it back in high school. That was probably my first and last time ever trying milk tea specifically. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely tried boba drinks before like those fruity slushy ones but I wasn’t a fan of them at all.
Flash forward about 8 years later after my first real milk tea encounter, my life changed. Everything made sense now. I guess my tastebuds had changed but now I understood why people loved milk tea! I too was in love with it and just wanted more! Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I knew I had a problem but didn’t want to fix it. Anywhere I went especially after lunch or dinner with friends, I would do research to see if there were any boba shops nearby for dessert! I grew so curious how all the milk teas tasted at the various boba shops and enjoyed comparing the differences.
After countless boba adventures, this brings me to share with you my favorite boba spots of 2014 in no special order but alphabetically because I have OCD:
1. 7 Leaves
- Yelp: 4 stars with 1144 reviews
- Favorite drink: Jasmine Milk Tea
- This is probably one of the more hip boba places to hang out at in Orange County because of their interior design. A lot of boba shops are more for to-go drinks but here, they want you to hang out with your friends and enjoy your drink!
2. Almond Haus
- Yelp: 4 stars with 498 reviews
- Favorite drink: Almond Milk Tea or Hazelnut Iced Coffee
- One summer, I came here every week for three months in a row and they started to remember me. I know, it was a little embarrassing but the drinks were that good.
3. Cafe Brown
- Yelp: 4 stars with 85 reviews
- Favorite drink: Golden Milk Tea
- Hidden in the edge of Fullerton, they’re known for their Golden Milk Tea. Once you have a sip of it, you experience an eye opening golden moment. You will not see life the same afterwards.
4. Cha For Tea
- Yelp: 3.5 stars with 1047 reviews
- Favorite drink: Honey Green Milk Tea or Mango Green Tea
- There’s great customer service as they are always willing to make all sorts of adjustments to your drink without additional costs. They’re usually more on the sweeter end compared to other places but there’s nothing wrong with anything being too sweet!
5. Champion Food Co.
- Yelp: 4 stars with 140 reviews
- Favorite drink: Milk Tea or Almond Milk Tea
- This little mom and pop shop was probably the first boba shop that opened up in Irvine. I’d like to consider them the OG of boba in the bubble tea town of Irvine. The bobas here are affordable at $2.50 and it hits the spot!
- Yelp: 4 stars with 950 reviews
- Favorite drink: Honey Green Milk Tea or Nom Nom Milk Tea
- I come here mainly for two reasons, the drinks and the ambiance. This is probably one of the biggest boba places I’ve been to where there’s a lot of tables and couches. Sometimes the place isn’t big enough that there’s a wait to get seated!
- Yelp: 4 stars with 529 reviews
- Favorite drink: Brown Sugar Milk Tea
- Located in the heart of Little Tokyo, this place is one of my go-to places when I’m in the area. The Brown Sugar Milk Tea is similar to the Cafe Brown’s Golden Milk Tea but it’s just a tad bit bolder and sweeter.
8. Tea Station
- Yelp: 3.5 stars with 339 reviews
- Favorite drink: House Special
- There’s honestly something special about that House Special drink, hence the name. Tea Station is a little more on the pricey end for milk tea but hey, they won’t disappoint you!
I wish I could have given you a list of 10 of my favorite boba places because 10 is more of a wholesome number compared to 8. (This is the OCD in me.) Because I take milk tea pretty seriously, I just don’t think it’s right to add 2 mediocre boba shops just so I can list out 10. So there you go, 8 of my favorite boba places in 2014!
Do you have a favorite boba place in Orange County or LA County area that I didn’t list? If so, feel free to share it with me! Comment below or tweet me! If you end up checking out one of these places, take a picture of it on Instagram and hashtag TinaTalksToday!