Traditionally, bubble tea was much simpler than what it’s turned in to today. A drink that used to be comprised of just three ingredients—tea, powdered milk, and tapioca balls—has definitely seen some creative flair. As more and more delicious bubble tea spots pop up around New York City we’re seeing bubble tea featuring ingredients like cheese foam (basically a mix of cream cheese and whipped cream), and you can even get your bubble tea in slushee form. One thing is obvious—no matter how it’s made we can’t seem to get enough!
There are more delicious bubble tea spots around the city than we can count, but here are 15 of our favorite ones:
1. Raccoon Cave, West Village
Raccoon Cave is the West Village’s new bubble tea spot bringing authentic boba to NYC. After ordering, your drink will be served to you through a “raccoon’s cave” (aka a cut-out in the wall), with a raccoon paw. They have several tasty drinks to choose from, including their “Coconut Wonderland,” which blends fresh coconut into a creamy and delicious smoothie topped with mango. Strawberry smoothies, fresh lemonade, and coffee are among other tasty items on the menu, all with boba of course!
Where: 275 Bleecker Street
When: Monday-Sunday 12p.m. – 8p.m.
2. Tiger Sugar, Chinatown
Tiger Sugar is a popular Taiwanese shop known for their “dessert drinks,” or brown sugar bubble teas with cream mousse—which they claim to have been the first to make in Asia. Tiger Sugar recommends shaking your drink 15 times before drinking to throughly mix the layered flavors, and in doing so the brown sugar drips through the milk giving it its distinctive “tiger stripes” along the sides of the cup.
Where: 197 Canal St
When: Monday-Thursday 11:30a.m. – 8:30p.m., Friday-Sunday 11a.m. – 9p.m.
3. Culture Tea Bar, Morningside Heights
For tasty bubble tea and a delicious pastry, look no further than Culture Tea Bar. This Morningside Heights café and bakery offers a ton of tasty teas that you can specify as hot or iced depending on your mood. Then you can choose your level of sweetness and whether or not you’d like to add in some boba bubbles or lychee jelly.
Where: 3111 Broadway
When: Monday-Sunday 11a.m. – 8p.m.
4. Yaya Tea, Chinatown
Yaya Tea has a delicious selection of fruit teas, milk teas, and freshly brewed teas. They also have a customizable menu where you can choose your own tea and then add up to 3 different flavors, which include kiwi, peach, mango, and lychee among others. Some of their most popular teas are the “Boyfriend,” which is mango and lychee white tea, and their “Better Life,” which is strawberry, lychee, and pineapple green tea.
Where: 51 Chrystie St
When: Monday-Sunday 10:30a.m. – 8p.m.
5. I’Milky, Midtown
I’Milky is a Tawainese women-led store offering fresh milk and fruit teas using only natural ingredients like their hand-picked tea leaves and farm-fresh milk. Their menu always features a limited edition menu item, such as the “Golden Strawberry Mango Pomelo,” as well as a full vegan milk tea section using soy or oat milk. You can also purchase your own bubble tea kit!
Where: 992 6th Ave
When: Monday-Friday 11:30a.m. – 9p.m., Saturday-Sunday 12p.m. – 9p.m.
6. Debutea, Multiple Locations
Debutea serves Taiwanese-style cheese tea, fruit-flavored iced teas, and freshly brewed coffee. Their most popular items include their “Bobo Milk Tea” (of course!), which is brown sugar boba with milk tea, their “Golden Phoenix,” which is a deep roasted oolong tea, and their “Pinkglow Pineapple,” which is green tea or oolong tea with fresh pinkglow pineapple.
Where: 71 Smith St, Boerum Hill / 217 Thompson St, Greenwich Village
When: Monday-Thursday 11a.m. – 8p.m., Friday-Sunday 11a.m. – 9p.m. (both locations)
7. Kung Fu Tea, Multiple Locations
Founded in Queens in 2010 by three friends, Kung Fu Tea has grown into America’s largest bubble tea brand with more than 250 locations nationwide. Kung Fu Tea offers all the original go-to’s like classic oolong tea, but also some out of the box flavors like purple yam lattes, winter melon milk green tea, and a red bean slushee.
Where: Multiple locations
When: More info here
8. Sweet Cats Cafe, Flushing
This entirely pink bubble tea shop also doubles as an arcade. Test your skills at their many claw games and pay anywhere from $1-$3 for your chance to win an adorable plushie before sipping on one of their many specialty colorful drinks like “Tinkle Bell” (kiwi), “Purple Paradise” (lychee & lemon), and “Frozen Volcano” (dragonfruit).
Where: 168-17 Union Tpke
When: Monday-Sunday 12p.m. – 8:30p.m.
9. Tea and Milk, Astoria
Recognized for their award winning boba drinks in 2021, Tea and Milk is serving up some tasty bubble tea. They have a selection of seasonal teas to choose from, such as Peppermint Mocha, and you can even choose their Mystery Drink, which is the chef’s choice of beverage. If you’re up for the challenge you can can even purchase DIY kits so you can make these tasty drinks yourself!
Where: 32-02 34th Ave
When: Monday-Sunday 12p.m. – 8p.m.
10. M Tea, Flushing
M Tea is two floors of pink overload—downstairs is full of pink cloud walls, pastel pink couches, and mini pink and white hot air balloons hanging from the ceiling, while upstairs there are pink alcoves with private seating (including one with two swings!) and a light-up table top for getting the best photo of your tea. And, speaking of their tea, the menu is quite extensive, with a wide selection of flavors of cheese foam tea, fresh fruit teas, milk tea, and creme brûlée teas.
Where: 36-56 Main St
When: Monday-Sunday 11a.m. – 9p.m.
11. Yi Fang Taiwan Fruit Tea, Long Island City
Family-owned Yifang Fruit Tea inherited not only their grandma’s name, but also her secret recipe for their fruit drinks that was created after she turned her home grown overripe golden pineapples into preservable homemade jam. As an ode to her you’ll find an assortment of fresh fruit flavors on their menu from passionfruit green tea to green plum green tea, and, of course, pineapple green tea.
Where: 44-68 21st St
When: Monday-Sunday 12p.m. – 9p.m.
12. The Alley, Flushing
For quality bubble tea, look no further than The Alley. This spot not only hand picks the tea leaves they use in their drinks but they also make their own tapioca and sugar cane syrup from scratch daily using only the highest quality ingredients. Their bubble tea options are tasty and look almost too good to drink.
Where: 38-02 Prince Street
When: Monday-Sunday 11a.m. – 10p.m.
13. Pearl Dynastea, Riverdale
Pearl Dynastea serves up all the most popular bubble tea drinks, including fresh fruit tea flavors like passionfruit, mango, and rose and lavender. They also have a few different fresh fruit slushees including lychee, strawberry, and green apple. And, of course, they carry the wildly delicious brown sugar lattes with boba that are a must-try.
Where: 3702 Riverdale Ave
When: Monday-Sunday 12p.m. – 10p.m.
14. ViVi Bubble Tea, New Dorp
ViVi Bubble Tea launched in 2007 and is known for its quirky graphics and deliciously fresh teas. Each drink is made fresh to order, and in addition to the usual toppings they also offer not-so-common ones like chia seeds and aloe. Their menu is split into sections and offers a ton of options including signature teas, cream float series, milk tea, yakult drinks, organic milk series, fresh fruit series, slush series, and flavored teas.
Where: 337 New Dorp Ln
When: Sunday-Thursday 12p.m. – 9p.m., Friday-Saturday 12p.m. – 10p.m.
15. Gong cha, Multiple Locations
Gong cha is arguably one of the most well known bubble tea joints and is known around the world for its signature milk foam. This Taiwanese spot has some pretty creative flavors, like their “Lemon Wintermelon Basil Seeds” drink. As for their milk foam, we suggest trying their “Creme Brûlée Brown Sugar Milk Tea” (it’s to die for!).
When: More info here