It’s sweet and creamy. There’s a fat straw. Oddly delicious chewy balls are piled at the bottom of your cup. It’s none other than bubble milk tea!
EDIT: Everyone has assumed this list is in ranked order. It is not. It’s simply a numbered list to be organized.
As the perfect combination of a snack and a beverage, boba is one of those treats you either love or hate. And well, I think it’s pretty clear what side we’re on.
So for all you bobaholics, we got you covered. Here are the 11 best spots in San Francisco to get that tapioca fix you crave!
1. Boba Guys
429 Stockton St in the Financial District/Union Square or 3491 19th St in the Mission
Boba Guys has been credited as one of the best boba spots in San Francisco. With a simplistic yet scientific approach, Boba Guys use premium teas, house made syrups, and Strauss organic milk to formulate their perfect concoctions. Yes, it’s a bit on the pricey side, but they guarantee that the quality and taste make up for the extra dollar.
Must try: Horchata Milk Tea, Iced Matcha latte, and their homemade almond jelly.
341 Kearny Street in Chinatown
You’ve seen pictures of those specialty milk bottles all over Instagram and you can’t deny that it looks great. Not only are the glass bottles cute, but you can bring them back to get a discount on your next drink — or just keep it for your own use.
Must Try: Green Ice Milk Tea with Grass Jelly, Strawberry Fresh Fruit Tea with Lychee Jelly, and the Sea Salt Crema Oolong Tea.
5336 Geary Blvd in the Inner Richmond and 135 4th St in the Financial District/SoMa
I personally love my boba so much I wouldn’t share it, but it’s cool if you do. Around since 1992, this place is legit and even has options like Yakult drinks, coffee milk tea, and ice cream green tea.
Must Try: Okinawa milk tea, Oolong milk tea, Mango Green Tea Creama, and the Oreo milk tea.
4. Purple Kow
3620 Balboa St in the Outer Richmond
They’re all about sweetness, big portions, and iced milk drinks with their signature pudding. They also have 10 toppings you can choose from, ranging from aloe vera to boba noodle.
Must Try: D3: Iced Milk Tea with Caramel, Pudding and Boba, or any house special.
1139 Taraval St in Parkside or 1330 Ocean Ave in Westwood Park
This boba place has the cutest little blob mascots and possibly one of the largest menu varieties ever. Prepare for unfamiliar choices like “Twisted Milk Teas,” and the option to Supersize your drink for a guaranteed sugar coma. As for a bit of refreshment, they also offer fresh mint as a topping for herbal tea.
Must Try: Toffee Milk Tea, Irish Cream Milk Tea, and Passionfruit Pineapple Slush.
6. Cool Tea Bar
728 Pacific Avenue, 103 Waverly Pl, and 229 Columbus Ave in Chinatown, or 643 Clay St in the Financial District
Fun fact! The General Manager traveled to Taiwan to learn from the original makers of boba and milk teas. Talk about determination. Cool Tea Bar values customer service and excellence, and every drink is tailor-made for the customer’s liking — you can even customize your level of sweetness from 0% to 125%. They also have leaves selected and imported from Taiwan to ensure a perfectly tasty boba drink.
Must try: Grass Jelly Roasted Milk Tea, Kumquat Green Tea, and Matcha Red Bean Smoothie.
2035 Irving St in the Outer Sunset
The OG of boba. This little gem is small but known for having big taste and an authentic selection of boba teas in various flavors. Aside from a ton of milk tea options, they also have milk tea shakes and a full candy bar. This is a one-stop shop for all your sweet, sugary desires.
Must try: Honey Lemon Chrysanthemum Tea, Gummy Bear Fruit Tea, and Roasted Brown Rice Milk Tea.
1314 Noriega St in the Outer Sunset
Adorable decor, board games, WIFI and boba. That’s all you really need in life, right? BB Tea Station is everything. They offer tons of flavors, cheap prices, and huge sizes — especially popular with the broke college crowd or anyone on a budget.
Must try: Lavender Milk Tea, Pomegranate Green Tea, and the Chocolate Black Milk Tea.
1916 Irving Street in the Outer Sunset
With affordable prices you can’t beat, great flavors, and delicious boba, the hipster spot Tpumps has really made a name for itself in the Bay Area.
Must try: Go a little crazy and check out Tpumps’ Secret Menu online, or go for their tried-and-true flavors like guava, chocolate cookie dough, marshmallow, almond roca, and more!
3157 Geary Blvd in the Inner Richmond/Laurel Heights
Can’t make up your mind between coffee and tea? Get both at Fifty/Fifty. For being a shop that isn’t all about boba, this place is serving up really great stuff — including delicious pastries. Keep in mind that the boba usually isn’t ready until after 12pm!
Must Try: Jasmine Milk Tea, Honey Coconut Milk Tea, and Dynamo Donuts to eat with them on the weekend.
Where is your go-to boba spot? Also, here’s a fun boba fact: did you know that ‘boba’ is Taiwanese slang for big boobs? I’m serious, Google it.