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I enjoy the coffee bubble tea at Song Que, the little carryout deli associated with Huong Que (Four Sisters) in Eden Center in Falls Church at Seven Corners. They have a variety of flavors, mostly fruit, including avocado (unexpectedly refreshing and tasty). AND they are VERY generous with the Bubbles, which are nice and gummy and chewy.

(hmm, COFFEE bubble TEA huh.gif - well maybe it's not tea, but it's a bubble drink, or as one of the merchants at Eden Center describes it: "jelly gumdrop fruit drink" - either way I love it!)

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The following posts have been split into separate threads:

Ten Ren (Gastro888)
Yami Yami (turbogrrl)
Cornerstone Cafe (synaesthesia)
Jumbo Jumbo Bubble Express (porcupine)

Bubble Dip (goldenticket)

Capital Teas (Pat)

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Where to go for a decent bubble tea?  The one place in the area that does a good job is Ten Ren's Tea Time in College Park.  They also serve a green tea noodle dish with pork and tofu that's sublime.  Good dumplings, too.

I don't think I've ever had a bad boba from Ten Ren. All right, so I've only had it from three places, but I've had lots of bobas from them. (San Fransico, Rockville & College Park) I love going to the Rockville one to browse among the teas. There use to be another bubble tea place in College Park, but I'm not sure if it's still around. It was decent, and had diffeent flavorings from Ten Ren. Monkey Bubble Tea (or something like that) has a kiosk on the second floor of the Columbia Mall. Not as good as Ten Ren, but decent.

An Loi in Columbia also sells bubble teas, but they're more like bubble smoothies. The Four Sisters sandwich shop in Eden Center does really good bubble smoothies too. Dragon Chinese has decent ones, and so does a little dive near the Chinatown Express. Wok'n'Roll makes them too, but ever since they got closed by the Health Dept, I've been leery of trying theirs again.

Avoid the bubbles from the bakery in the Lotte Plaza on off to Rt 29/ Rt 40. They're way too sweet. Teasim had bubble tea on it's menu, and it was foul. The tea was way too strong, and the bubbles were rock hard.

There is the extent of my experience, and looking at it, I think I might have an addiction...

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Vietnamese bubble "tea" drinks aren't the same as the traditional bubble tea drinks. They don't use tea as the main base for the drink - it's the traditional fruit shake with bubbles added to them. Not that they're not good, mind you - they're great! (Personally, I prefer Kim Phung next to Song Que - they make THE BEST taro bubble drink in town. Holy moly, it's soooo thick and yummy.)

It's just apples and oranges, ya know?

Definitely try Ten Ren's in College Park. It's a cute little hangout and it's very inexpensive.

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Last time I went to A & J in Annandale -- they advertized bubble drinks.  Don't care for them myself (texture of the gummy balls coming thru the straw along with the liquid) so I can't comment as to quality.

they're good and they're tea based vs smoothies. I always end up getting passion fruit and my wife always gets the guava.

Edited by xdcx
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I've been on a boba binge for a month now. The best I've found is Ten Ren's in Rockville. Next to that is Green Tea Cafe, on Darnestown Rd also in Rockville. A&J's version is also very good. Teaism, much as I love the place, makes horrid boba - overcooked, mushy goo one time and rock-hard the next, and I couldn't identify the flavor. Teavana, in Tyson's Corner Center, makes an acceptable one. Please note, the previous opinions apply to black tea only, not fruit flavors). Hope my findings are useful...

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According to a blurb in the Post, the new-ish China Bistro in Rockville serves bubble tea. Back when I could still drink them, I preferred Ten Ren's version to the others in Rockville. So sue me, I even liked the fruity flavors (yay honeydew!), although almond was my addiction. A&J's was pretty good, too.

Sigh. I miss bubble tea.

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I haven't seen one or heard of one.  Your best bet is to take your chances with the restaurants in the incredible shrinking Chinatown.

Does Teaism still have it? I know Cozy Cafe between 18 and 19 on L advertises it. Wok and Roll in Chinatown is listed on bobafind.com.

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Does Teaism still have it?  I know Cozy Cafe between 18 and 19 on L advertises it.  Wok and Roll in Chinatown is listed on bobafind.com.

Cozy Cafe will do just fine if you are in the area, especially on a hot summer day. Beats the hell out of some crappy faux coffee smoothie

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Last time I went to A & J in Annandale -- they advertized bubble drinks.  Don't care for them myself (texture of the gummy balls coming thru the straw along with the liquid) so I can't comment as to quality.

A&J's are among the best. The 5 year-old loves the passionfruit, while the adults waver between passionfruit, coffee, and milk tea. They manage to keep their bubbles at the right level of chewiness, and they don't use the dreaded powdered base.

The worst we've had was at Dragon Star in the Eden Center. The 5 year-old got through only about an inch of hers. It was a powered base and grossly sweet.

Song que is also excellent.

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Why does it seem that all the good buble tea places are in the burbs?

Anyone reccomend a good bubble tea house in the District?   :P

There's also a new bubble tea/crepe place in Georgetown called Snap! It's on Thomas Jefferson St by the C&O Canal.

Edited to say whoops - :lol: clearly, I am behind in my reading. There's a whole thread on Snap.

Edited by gabrielalala
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Why does it seem that all the good buble tea places are in the burbs?

Anyone reccomend a good bubble tea house in the District?  :P

Though I never ordered it, Cafe Philipps, with various locations scattered through downtown including Chinatown and 50 F St, advertises bubble tea and I've seen people slurping on some...thank me later for the detailed review. :lol:

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Cozy Cafe will do just fine if you are in the area, especially on a hot summer day.  Beats the hell out of some crappy faux coffee smoothie

It was a hot summer day so I went to Cozy Cafe last week...they use a mix, and mind you I'm no expert, but I was ready to toss it. It was that bad. :lol:

I like to get the Thai Iced Tea Bubble Tea from An Loi--now that is tasty!

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Teaism also offers a bubble tea (black tea only). Unfortunately, they lack consistency in cooking the tapioca pearls to their correct doneness. Sometimes the pearls are overcooked and mushy. Other times, the tapioca is far from cooked and it's like biting into hard balls of uncooked pasta. But, when the tapioca is cooked just right, the tea is really good!

I like the taste of the tea so much that I continue to order it hoping I'll get a good batch. But you just never know what you're going to get on any given day or time.

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Where to go for a decent bubble tea? The one place in the area that does a good job is Ten Ren's Tea Time in College Park. They also serve a green tea noodle dish with pork and tofu that's sublime. Good dumplings, too.
There are two places that I know of that serve good bubble tea..one is A&J in Annandale and the other is the bakery beside Anan-Gol. Interesting that one of the places is Taiwanese (what a surprise!) and the other is Korean.
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A&J's are among the best. The 5 year-old loves the passionfruit, while the adults waver between passionfruit, coffee, and milk tea. They manage to keep their bubbles at the right level of chewiness, and they don't use the dreaded powdered base.

The worst we've had was at Dragon Star in the Eden Center. The 5 year-old got through only about an inch of hers. It was a powered base and grossly sweet.

Song que is also excellent.

Song Que is my Eden Center choice for bubble tea -- usually coffee or one of the exotic fruits, of which they have a large selection. I'd like to know if some of the other Eden Center bubble tea joints are any good.

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I'm not quite sure what "traditional" bubble tea would be like, considering it originated as street food in Taiwan in the early 80's! I'm just sorry I didn't discover it when I spent a summer there.

TenRen still makes the tastiest ones I've found locally, but I'd have to say that theirs still pale in comparison to the best I've had - at the Bubble Tea Café in Amherst NY, not far from SUNY Buffalo. Vigorously frothed in cocktail shakers by local otaku youths, I was completely hooked by the first one. Maybe they lace it with an addictive substance.

The Canadians have taken to boba with a vengeance, with a chain called Bubble Tease expanding throughout Ontario and Quebec. I had one in Montreal last year and thought it was pretty passable. One of their novelties is a machine that applies a plastic seal (with requisite animé artwork) to the top of your cup so you can safely tote it around with abandon until you're thirsty, then you just punch the straw through the seal.

post-710-1148017723_thumb.jpg

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One of their novelties is a machine that applies a plastic seal (with requisite animé artwork) to the top of your cup so you can safely tote it around with abandon until you're thirsty, then you just punch the straw through the seal.
The bubble tea stand in Montgomery Mall by the Old Navy does the same thing. While it can't stand up to Ten Ren the tea and bubbles are pretty good too.

My personal favorite flavor is avacado which I have only found at the Eden Center.

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There's a great bubble tea place in College Park besides Ten Ren. (I've always found Ten Ren's bubbles a little inconsistent.) It's called Bubble Mix. Unfortunately it's got extremely bizarre hours, especially for a college town. But they have some great options and you can mix various flavors like strawberry with lychee. They also have various jellies (i.e. lychee and coconut) as a choice instead of boba. It's on College Ave. across from the Maryland Book Exchange.

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They also have various jellies (i.e. lychee and coconut) as a choice instead of boba.

As does Ten Ren, and also something called pudding, which I had yesterday when they ran out of boba. Not bad for a change of pace, but kinda wierd. Though, come to think of it, no wierder than boba.

Thanks for letting us know about this place!

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The bubble tea stand in Montgomery Mall by the Old Navy does the same thing. While it can't stand up to Ten Ren the tea and bubbles are pretty good too.

My personal favorite flavor is avacado which I have only found at the Eden Center.

I tried the avocado at Song Que, and it was as good as I had hoped. Very refreshing on a hot day.

Of course, I don't think I've tried a flavor there that I haven't liked.

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There is a little Vietnamese carry-out place on 6th and H st corner.

It is between Kanlaya and Chinatown Express. Unfortunately, I don't know the name. :)

I didn't taste their bubble tea but I think that you could try if you are looking for bubble tea place in DC area.

Shilla Bakery?

Shilla Bakery is on Little River Turnpike, The one Escoffier is talking about is located behind Giant Grocery supermarket. I think the name is Napoleon Bakery.

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There is a little Vietnamese carry-out place on 6th and H st corner.

It is between Kanlaya and Chinatown Express. Unfortunately, I don't know the name. :)

I didn't taste their bubble tea but I think that you could try if you are looking for bubble tea place in DC area.

Shilla Bakery is on Little River Turnpike, The one Escoffier is talking about is located behind Giant Grocery supermarket. I think the name is Napoleon Bakery.

There is also a Shilla in Beltsville that also has jazz nights. http://www.shillabakeryandcafe.com/ They have bubble tea also.

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June Coffee in Alexandria (next to Stella's) just started selling bubble tea yesterday - they only have honeydew, mango and greentea-honeydew...I'm drinking a greentea-honeydew right now...

It's not horrible but the bobas are a little too chewy for my liking still it's not a bad effort especially since I don't know where else in walking distance to my office I can get any others.

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Why does it seem that all the good buble tea places are in the burbs?

Anyone reccomend a good bubble tea house in the District? :)

Try Snap in georgetown. Its a tiny place off Thomas Jefferson between M and K in a townhouse. I havent had their bubble tea, but I have had their Bubble Tea Smoothies! Great for the summer and they go great with their crepes!

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Try Snap in georgetown. Its a tiny place off Thomas Jefferson between M and K in a townhouse. I havent had their bubble tea, but I have had their Bubble Tea Smoothies! Great for the summer and they go great with their crepes!

Or, don't... Snap made the single worst bubble tea I have ever had in my life. I took one sip, grimaced, then decided "no, it can't really be that bad", took another, then dumped the contents of the cup on a poor, unsuspecting tree. I think the bubble tea failed as an arborcide, but I've been too scared to go back and check.

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Or, don't... Snap made the single worst bubble tea I have ever had in my life. I took one sip, grimaced, then decided "no, it can't really be that bad", took another, then dumped the contents of the cup on a poor, unsuspecting tree. I think the bubble tea failed as an arborcide, but I've been too scared to go back and check.

Welll, even though I read this review, I decided to try Snap anyway since I walked right by it and I was craving boba. Tried the passionfruit bubble tea, and yeah, I probably would not order this here again... the boba were totally mushy and even might have had a slightly bitter taste? it was weird. the tea was sweet and fruity but had no discernable tea taste. Because I was craving it, I ate them all anyway.

Refrained from subjecting the flora to what remained, probably a good decision - the shrubbery nearby did seem to be dwindling somewhat...

I'm hopeful that the place at 15 and M will come through...

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Now open: Jumbo Jumbo Bubble Express Chinese Restaurant, at 765 E. Rockville Pike (in the Ritchie Center). Black milk tea (my benchmark): really, really good. Nice tea flavor, not too sweet, perfectly cooked boba. Haven't tried anything else there yet. Picked up two carryout menus. The first shows rather typical Chinese-American dishes. The second has more unusual things - a bunch of dishes "with spiced salt and basil", for example.

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Now open: Jumbo Jumbo Bubble Express Chinese Restaurant, at 765 E. Rockville Pike (in the Ritchie Center). Black milk tea (my benchmark): really, really good. Nice tea flavor, not too sweet, perfectly cooked boba.

I can confirm that this is a top-notch place for Bubble Tea. My sister and I both stopped in for Jasmine Green Milk Teas and found them to be a perfect balance of tea and milk flavor. They are fair with the boba ration, although we would've loved a few more of those wonderfully soft and chewy pearls. I'd rank this place equally with Green Tea Cafe in Gaithersburg, although Green Tea Cafe has more atmosphere and variety. Flavor-wise, they're pretty on par with each other. This place is a welcome addition to the generally creditable ethnic food establishments in the Ritchie Center. I haven't tried their food, but their bubble tea alone makes this place worth a visit (photos below):

Bubble%20Express.jpg

Bubble%20Tea%20Menu.jpg

Green%20Milk%20Teas.jpg

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I enjoy the coffee bubble tea at Song Que, the little carryout deli associated with Huong Que (Four Sisters) in Eden Center in Falls Church at Seven Corners. They have a variety of flavors, mostly fruit, including avocado (unexpectedly refreshing and tasty). AND they are VERY generous with the Bubbles, which are nice and gummy and chewy.

(hmm, COFFEE bubble TEA :) - well maybe it's not tea, but it's a bubble drink, or as one of the merchants at Eden Center describes it: "jelly gumdrop fruit drink" - either way I love it!)

Their coffee bubble tea isn't tea, per se, but it is delicious!!! You can order the coffe medium or dark, both of which, I assume (since they just pour it from a pre-mixed pitcher), are sugared up to the extreme. Then the plentiful, perfectly chewy bubbles seem to have been boiled in sugar syrup, because they have a sweet taste of their own. YUM!!!!! Even on a cold, windy day :lol:

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The location doesn't seem to be on the company website yet, but there's a Lollicup near the Marshall's in the Landmark strip mall on Little River Turnpike across from Hee Been and Tempt Asian. It's the shopping center with Total Wine and Shoppers Food Warehouse (and where Tower Records used to be).

The shop was larger than I would expect for a coffee shop type place, and they have two computers with free internet with purchase. I got the almond milk tea with boba, and the boba had a good chewy texture. The almond flavor was fine, though I think I'll try a fruity flavor next time. I haven't had almond milk tea before, and I was imagining it would have a strong marzipan flavor, but it was a more subtle nut flavor.

The Canadians have taken to boba with a vengeance, with a chain called Bubble Tease expanding throughout Ontario and Quebec. I had one in Montreal last year and thought it was pretty passable. One of their novelties is a machine that applies a plastic seal (with requisite animé artwork) to the top of your cup so you can safely tote it around with abandon until you're thirsty, then you just punch the straw through the seal.

The cup here also comes with a plastic seal on top. I just punched through it immediately and started drinking. I hadn't thought about the portable aspect.

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The cup here also comes with a plastic seal on top. I just punched through it immediately and started drinking. I hadn't thought about the portable aspect.

The Song Que bubble tea also has seals on the top.

During the great bubble tea hunt of 2008, I tried to find the Shilla's bakery near me. There was supposed to be one by Fairfax Circle and I finally figured out the bakery is a stand store inside the Lotte building. They didn't have any bubble tea. What they do have, however, is a brand-new Fairfax location (10940 Fairfax Blvd, Fairfax, VA 22030) in the new plaza with the 5 Guys and the Starbucks past H Mart (heading west). This place is ADORABLE! Bright colors and clean lines, cafe-style seating and tons of bakery snacks. There are an assortment of sandwiches and some hot food Korean entrees. Most importantly for me, they also have boba! $5 seemed expensive, but it turns out that their "tea" is the icee/slushee version, as a flavored ice dessert complete with small, chewy, sweet bubbles. I really enjoyed mine, though it was different experience than just a bubble tea. They have a variety of flavors - teas, coffees, and fruits.

On a disappointing note, the asian bakery on Pickett in Fairfax (one plaza down from Trader Joe's and Blue Ocean) that claims to serve bubble tea does so, but it's not anything you'd actually want to drink. I ordered a black tea, but they made me something like a Thai iced tea (which I don't care for). Then the bubbles were both slimy and crunchy. Avoid!!!!!

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Dan's post prodded me into going out to a new place spotted by MrP last week: Bubble Tea Cafe on Rollins Ave. in Rockville, in the building that stands on the old putt-putt property.

I ordered a black tea with milk (my benchmark drink), and I can say that it had perfectly cooked bubbles, a clean, pronounced black tea flavor, and a good sweet fresh milk flavor. And that makes me wonder why I still prefer Ten Ren's. They must use something that isn't fresh and wholesome, but I love it anyway. Still, this is a very nice cuppa boba.

Bubble Tea Cafe has been open one month. The space is bright and clean, with a long bubble tea menu and an even longer smoothie menu. They also had a small selection of pastries, which they buy from a wholesale French bakery someone on East Gude Dr. The palmier I ate was not nearly as good as the tea, but I won't bother criticizing it here because ever since I learned how to make puff pastry I've become a pseudo-intellectual palmier snob, and this is about the tea.

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Bubble tea at the pho place in the Pan Am center on Nutley Street in Fairfax is OK. The drinks are very sweet and the bubbles are a tad overcooked, ALMOST, but not quite slimy, though nicely chewy.

I don't like the bubble tea at Pho Hot in Annandale at all - the tea is the mildly icee kind and the bubble are hard to begin with, so the additional chilling makes the bubbles harder (though not actually crunchy) and some are very mealy.

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Is there a place in the DC Metro area that does Bubble Tea with fresh fruit like at [Joy Yee]?

Yes and no. No is that I have not found a place in this area that uses fresh fruit; most places use powder or syrup or prefab juice mixes (i.e. island oasis). Yes in the sense that the Eden Center places may be using fruit, but I cannot tell since it's usually behind a partition; or Jumbo Jumbo up in Rockville makes their own mung bean and red bean soup, as well as their milk tea products. One day...
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Wasn't there a bubble tea place by the Verizon Center? At, say, 7th and F? I could've sworn there was a shop that always tempted me after seeing a performance at the Shakespeare Theater (in vain, since it was always too late in the day). Am I crazy? I was in the neighborhood today with a boba craving and walked up and down 7th street looking for the shop, thinking all the time that we really need a DR hotline, so those in the field without iphones can call in and find out where places are/supposed to be. I think that it has been replaced by the Tangysweet shop. Am I right?

Anyway, I ended up getting the black milk bubble tea from Teaism. It's disguised as the Zhenzhou Pearls (I was very excited when it turned out to be the normal bubble tea). It's...OK. The drink itself is fine, good, really (sweet and milky, but not too sweet), but the boba were almost mealy, with a little bit of crunch in the middle and slightly slimy outside. Still edible, though (I have definitely thrown away gross boba).

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It's disguised as the Zhenzhou Pearls <snip> boba were almost mealy, with a little bit of crunch in the middle and slightly slimy outside.

珍珠 ("zhenzhu" in pinyin) is used to describe any tapioca-based balls, typically because they reminded people of actual pearls, which is known by the same name (zhenzhu). When this drink was first introduced, I think both the little clear ones and the ones more commonly known now were used. In order to distinguish the bigger, black pearls, someone renamed or dubbed them 波霸 (boba). Eventually boba became bubble. Both of them can be and often are used interchangeably, as is 粉圓 (fenyuan), which is a generic word to indicate any glutinous starch balls (most often used as a side item to add to your shaved ice and is offered in multiple colors).
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Wasn't there a bubble tea place by the Verizon Center? At, say, 7th and F?

There's one on 6th Street, near H. The name escapes me, but it's between Chinatown Express and some adult movie rental shop on the corner. Tangysweet used to be Juan Valdez Coffee.

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