Naturally flavored, deliciously sweet, and aesthetically pleasing enough to post on your Instagram feed, bubble tea — also known as boba — does it all. Bubble tea mixes flavorful tea blends with popping juice pearls or chewy tapioca balls. The drink, which originated in Taiwan, can be served up in endless combinations. Check out these metro Detroit bubble tea spots to give it a try.
Z’s Bubble Tea
Located in Dearborn Heights, Plymouth and Taylor, Z’s Bubble Tea has tons of flavors to choose from. Perk up with caffeinated drinks like the Original Coffee Boba or the Blended Cappuccino. Standout specials include Z’s Mocktail Boba and the best-selling Brown Sugar Boba. Visitors looking for a fruitier experience can try the Strawberry Matcha or the Blue Hawaiian Lemonade. Z’s Bubble Tea, 22000 Ford Road, Dearborn Heights; 313-908-4835; 575 Forest Ave., Suite A, Plymouth; 734-359-3375; and 23255 Eureka Road, Taylor; 734-288-0664. zsbubbletea.com.
Detroit Bubble Tea
Breaking the bubble tea process down into steps, Detroit Bubble Tea is great for novice drinkers. Step one — choose your tea flavor. The shop offers fruity flavors like raspberry and peach, sweet flavors like cake batter and cotton candy, or caffeinated options like matcha and coffee. Step two — decide if you want an iced tea, a milk tea, a smoothie, or slushie. Finally, choose the type of boba you want from options like traditional tapioca pearls or popping pearls that contain fruit juice. Detroit Bubble Tea, 22821 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-239-1131; detroitbubbletea.com
In addition to coffee and chai tea lattes, Goldfish Tea also sells its own milk bubble tea and dairy-free bubble tea. The shop’s tea flavors range from agave and banana to honeydew and toasted marshmallow. The shop has countless flavors of popping pearls, making it a truly customizable experience. For dairy-free drinkers, Goldfish Tea offers alternatives like almond milk and vanilla soy milk. Goldfish Tea, 117 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak, 248-541-5252; goldfishtea.com
With locations in Ann Arbor, Madison Heights, Canton, Dearborn Heights, and Clinton Township, this national chain sure has a local presence. The shop specializes in the Vietnamese sweet drink chè, coffee, and teas and offers pre-selected combinations signature to Bambu. Options include the Peach Fruit & Basil Seed tea, which contains rainbow jellies, and the Smashed Avocado Bo Dam chè, which includes condensed milk, fresh avocado, rainbow jellies, and boba. Bambu, visit drinkbambu.com for locations
From banana and chocolate Oreo milk teas to Jasmine honey teas and matcha slushies, Tea Ninja a range of drink options. Popular menu items include the Brown Sugar Crème Brûlée milk tea, the Mango Tea, and the non-dairy Taro Milk Tea. Pair your drink with a sweet treat like their keto-friendly chocolate hazelnut cookie bar, the banana foster cake, or macarons. Tea Ninja, 535 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-263-2772; teaninjaannarbor.com
Tou and Mai
Tou and Mai’s bubble tea menu focuses on simple flavors for a traditional experience. Fruit tea flavors include cucumber fresh, jasmine blossom, and tropico mango, and milk tea flavors include coffee and almond bliss. Toppings, which include tapioca pearls, kiwi popping boba, and coffee jellie, are all gluten-free and — except for the flan custard topping — vegan. Customers can also opt for soy milk or coconut milk. And for those looking for a bite to eat, consider shopping Tou and Mai’s selection of southeast Asian snacks and candies. Tou and Mai, 4240 Cass Ave., Suite 102, Detroit; touandmai.com.