Bubble tea, also called pearl tea (珍珠奶茶), is a Taiwanese tea drink with tapioca pearls. While most concur the drink emerged from the island in the late 80’s, there are two ‘rival’ teahouse chains credited with its invention – Hanlin Tea Room (翰林茶館) in Tainan and Chun Shui Tang (春水堂人文茶館) in Taichung.
Tapioca¹ pearls transition from white to deep brown once soaked in brown sugar. While the squishy pearls are often added to black or green tea, many cafes allow you to add ‘bubble’ to a number of other drinks such as: matcha, coffee, and smoothies. Drinks with Boba may be served hot or iced. Once the drink is filled with liquid and ‘bubbles’, it’s sealed with plastic. Breaking the plastic seal is a novelty; it takes a bit of dexterity to puncture with a wide ‘Boba’ straw.
If you’re looking for a bubble tea spot, there several in College Park to choose from:
Wasabi Bistro – While this Japanese spot is known for its sushi and take-out; they also offer bubble tea and smoothies. Located at 4505 College Avenue, their hours are 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. View their full menu on their website, or call 301-277-4038 to place an order for pick-up.
Jumbo Jumbo Cafe – 3711 Campus Drive below Domain Founded in 2003, Jumbo Jumbo Café is best known for its Taiwanese street food and bubble tea offerings, and is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. View their menu here
The Spot Mini (Gong Cha) – 4270 Knox Road, (Under Terrapin Row Building One). The Spot Mini is a multi-vendor Asian restaurant selling: bubble tea, sushi, bento boxes, dumplings, and Poki DC. The Spot Mini is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. To view their full list of offerings, visit their website.
Jidong Tea – 8145 Baltimore Avenue in the Campus Village Shoppes (below enclave) on Route 1. In addition to Boba tea, Jidong offers jelly desserts and cheese foams and yogurts. They are open every day from 12:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. View their website here.
Moge Tee – 8150 Baltimore Avenue (Under the Varsity). Moge Tea is known to offer less-sweet teas with organic milks. They are open daily from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. To view full menu offerings, visit their website.
Cuppa Tea – 8700 Baltimore Avenue (below enclave) on Route 1. Cuppa Tea offers Hong-Kong style tea and eats. Their hours are from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. They are closed on Tuesday. To view their menu or place an order online, visit their website.
Kung Fu Tea- Located at 7313 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 1 (across from College Park Shopping Center. Their hours are 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Order online at the College Park location here.
Tapioca¹: A sweet starch derived from the cassava root.