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A white and pink bubble tea is held up by a hand.
Bubble tea from Xing Fu Tang.
Mott Street Girls

The Ultimate Guide to Boba in New York City

Boba, or bubble tea, keeps reinventing itself with ingredients ranging from coconut jellies and non-dairy milks to cheese foams and soft serve

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Bubble tea from Xing Fu Tang.
| Mott Street Girls

Slowly but surely, New York City’s boba scene keeps growing. The craze over tapioca balls bobbing in various tea-based drinks, also called bubble tea, started in Taiwan and various shops have been a staple in Chinatown for years. These days, international chains and mom-and-pop shops keep popping up throughout the city to meet the seemingly never-ending appetite for the drinks.

But it can be overwhelming to choose from different teas, toppings, and milk options. Creating a best-selling boba drink has become an art form of sorts as many boba store owners keep finding creative ways to invent new drinks while maintaining traditional methods. There’s a good chance one of the spots on this curated list can customize a boba drink that shows why the beverage’s popularity has only increased through the years.

Anna Huang and Chloe Chan run the Instagram account Mott Street Girls. They host walking tours, create educational social media content, and partner with community organizations to make Chinese American history and culture more accessible.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Shiny Tea

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Shiny Tea, a hole-in-the-wall bubble tea spot, has been popular with local college students since opening in June 2016 near Columbia University. They’re known for their affordable prices and innovative combinations. Try the Panda Milk Tea, a black milk tea with a mix of perfectly cooked black and white pearls.

A brown bubble tea is held up on a red and black checkerboard backdrop.
Shiny Tea is a favorite amongst Columbia University students.
Mott Street Girls

Tiger Sugar

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Tiger Sugar opened in Taichung, Taiwan, in 2017 and has grown into a massively popular international chain. Their Flushing location opened soon after in May 2019, the first in NYC. The brown sugar boba series, where the caramelized brown sugar syrup forms a unique tiger stripe design, is a signature of the drinks here.

A hand holds up a cup of brown sugar boba.
The popular brown sugar boba.
Mott Street Girls

Tea and Milk

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After working in the food and beverage industry for almost a decade, Mathew Wong decided to open a boba shop in 2012 when he realized that much of the boba he had been drinking was full of artificial colors and flavors. At his shop, he only uses natural, fresh, and high-quality ingredients, such as fresh milk, fruits, and tea leaves. The shop’s signature taro root milk tea is made with homemade taro root puree blended with black tea and dairy. There is also a vegan version of the drink made with coconut milk.

A hand holds up a brown bubble tea with boba.
Stop by Tea and Milk after a visit to the nearby Museum of the Moving Image.
Mott Street Girls

I’Milky

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I’Milky is a global bubble tea chain that opened its Midtown West location in 2018. The shop prides itself on using high-quality ingredients such as cane sugar, farm-fresh milk, fresh fruit, pure honey, and premium tea leaves. Their popular drinks include the coconut taro milk with boba, mango milk, and strawberry milk. They also offer special combo meals that include a drink, rice ball, and side dish.

A yellow and white bubble tea is held up by a hand.
This global bubble tea chain catapulted into Midtown West back in 2018.
Mott Street Girls

Machi Machi

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The name Machi Machi means “best friend” in Taiwanese. The Taiwanese chain’s Koreatown store is Instagrammable with neon lights, interactive wall art, and cute bottles. They are most known for their strawberry latte with panna cotta, jasmine green tea with plum jello, and black milk tea with creme brulee. There are also mochi donuts and Korean corndogs for purchase inside the storefront for those craving a snack.

A bottle holds a pink and white drink.
The Instagrammable Machi Machi.
Mott Street Girls

Teazzi Tea Shop

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The owner and franchisee, Nigel Huang, emigrated from Taiwan in the 1980s and decided to open Teazzi in April 2021 due to the high demand for bubble tea in Long Island City. All drinks — which are served in beautiful white-and-blue paper cups reminiscent of Chinese porcelain — are made from scratch in the store, and the tea leaves and sugar are imported from Taiwan. The shop caters to its customers and only uses lactose-free milk and non-dairy creamers in its teas. Besides the usual boba and grass jelly, there’s also an option for an oat topping. The bestsellers include the house special milk tea, taro latte, and Strawberry Four Seasons milk tea.

Two white cups with blue, Chinese porcelain-inspired detailing.
Teazzi Tea Shop’s signature Chinese porcelain-inspired cups.
Mott Street Girls

Surreal Creamery

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Surreal Creamery, an ice cream and bubble tea spot, feels like a hidden gem in Kips Bay. It is known for its unique, Instagram-worthy treats, including the Floaters (bubble tea topped with soft-serve ice cream) and Mason jar specials (soft-serve ice cream with colorful toppings in a Mason jar). Must-try items include the Nom Nom Cookie Mason Jar, Thai milk bubble tea with Vietnamese iced coffee ice cream, and taro bubble tea topped with a swirl of matcha-taro ice cream.

A taro bubble tea topped with a swirl of matcha-taro ice cream is held up by a hand.
A taro bubble tea topped with a swirl of matcha-taro ice cream.
Mott Street Girls

Pa Tea is a cute bubble tea spot easily recognizable by its adorable cartoon bear logo. It first opened in Chinatown in 2013, and its second location on 14th street opened in 2016. Their popular drinks include the rose milk tea, an Oreo milkshake, and the Black-and-Yellow Milk. For those that can’t get enough, there is also a bigger stubby size — at 26 ounces — available.

A bubble tea has a bear logo that says Pa Tea.
Look at the cute bear logo.
Mott Street Girls

Raccoon Cave

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Raccoon Cave is a raccoon-themed boba spot that just opened in January 2022. Started by the same owners behind Biao Sugar, the drinks are delivered via a furry raccoon’s paw in a small window. The walls and floor are all gray, mimicking rocks in a cave. The drinks are creamy with just the right amount of sweetness. The signature drinks include Taro Heaven (brown sugar boba milk, taro foam, brown sugar boba, herbal jelly, and pudding) and Raccoon’s Milky Way (signature brown sugar boba milk with milk foam).

A mascot-like raccoon hand serves bubble tea out of the opening of a wall.
Yes, New York does have a racoon-themed boba shop.
Mott Street Girls

Wanpo Tea Shop

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Wanpo Tea Shop was founded by Peter Chang, whose family sold a variety of drinks at their grocery store in Taichung, Taiwan, in the 1950s. It was a popular hangout spot where aunties and uncles from the neighborhood would spend their afternoons over cups of aiyu lemonade and winter melon tea. Inspired by his family’s grocery store, Chang opened the first Wanpo Tea Shop in 1992, and it has since become a global Taiwanese bubble tea chain with locations in Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Australia, and the United Kingdom. At the Greenwich Village location, the vintage-style decor is reminiscent of tea shops in the 1940s. The most popular orders here include the red bean jelly drink, Wanpo milk tea, and aiyu jelly lemon tea.

A brown tea with black boba bubbles is held up by a hand.
Bubble tea comes with a side of decor inspired by the 1940s.
Mott Street Girls

Debutea

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The owner of Debutea gave up his job as a lawyer in China and came to New York in the hopes of bringing authentic Chinese tea culture to the city while also aiming to change Americans’ perception of tea. Since 2018, Debutea’s most popular drinks include fruit teas (fresh fruit blended with tea) and cheese teas (freshly brewed tea topped with rich cheese foam). Don’t miss out on the seasonal drink menu featuring fresh fruits such as pink glow pineapple, white peach, and lychee.

Two mismatched sized pink teas sit side-by-side.
Don’t miss out on the seasonal drink menu.
Mott Street Girls

Xing Fu Tang

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Xing Fu Tang, meaning “Hall of Happiness,” is a Taiwanese bubble tea chain that opened its East Village location in October 2021. Customers can watch the staff make the brown sugar boba from scratch inside the shop. Recommended items include the boba soft serve, strawberry boba milk, and taro boba ube milk.

A white and pink bubble tea is held up by a hand.
The “Hall of Happiness” is where you’ll find this boba.
Mott Street Girls

Lazy Sundaes Canal St. Market

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Tammy Na and Amber Luan opened Lazy Sundaes, a bubble tea and bingsoo shop, in 2020 inside Canal Street Market. Inspired by their Korean and Taiwanese heritage, respectively, their offerings are highly creative and have something for all diets, including dairy-free alternatives that make their drinks creamier and fluffier. An added bonus: the perfect, eco-friendly paper straws don’t get soggy even after several hours. Try the strawberry matcha latte, white chocolate matcha latte, and Ispahan rose milk tea (a seasonal special).

Two brown bubble teas stand side by side with the Lazy Sundaes logo.
Lazy Sundaes opened in 2020 inside Canal St. Market.
Mott Street Girls

Solely Tea

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The owners Amy and Kenney are second-generation Chinese American siblings who grew up in Manhattan’s Chinatown and opened NYC’s first boba and sneaker store in May 2021. They decided to combine their love for sneakers with boba drinks as they hadn’t seen that concept before in the city. Past the shelves full of sneakers and an array of streetwear from emerging young artists, there’s a small bubble tea counter in the back. The most popular drinks include Pacific Lemonade (butterfly pea flower tea with lemonade), Shattered Mango (a mango slushie with mango jellies and popping boba), and Lychee Yakult with lychee jellies. They also regularly host events in their storefront.

A hand holds up a white bubble tea with the Solely Tea logo.
Solely Tea is a hybrid boba and sneaker store that opened in 2021.
Mott Street Girls

Bambu, started by four Vietnamese sisters in 2008 in the heart of the Vietnamese community in San Jose, California, made it to Manhattan’s Chinatown in May 2020. They’re known for their authentic Vietnamese che dessert drinks, boba milk teas, Vietnamese coffees, and real fruit smoothies.

A purple and white bubble is positioned on a wooden table.
Bambu’s take on bubble tea.
Mott Street Girls

Ten Ren Tea Time

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For an old-school bubble tea experience, check out the Chinatown branch of Ten Ren Tea Time. Opened by Mark and Ellen Li in 1984, Ten Ren seeks to introduce its four-generation lineage of farm-fresh teas to New York City. The delightful aroma of freshly brewed tea hits you in the face upon entering the shop, where the boba is perfectly chewy and the flavorful milk teas are made with traditional tea leaves. The menu also includes fruit slushies and traditional Chinese teas for those looking for alternative drink options – all from their historical Mott Street storefront.

A brown bubble tea with the Ten Ren logo is held up by a hand.
At the Chinatown branch of Ten Ren.
Mott Street Girls

Chun Yang Tea

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A new addition to Chinatown that opened in July 2020 is Chun Yang Tea, a Taiwanese bubble tea chain. The term “Chun Yang” is named after a village in Ren’Ai, a widely renowned tea farming region in Taiwan. At Chun Yang Tea, the workers brew a diverse selection of modern bubble tea drinks infused with traditional recipes, focusing on fresh ingredients such as premium tea leaves and fresh fruit. Make sure to try the creamy and decadent toffee cheese cocoa latte, which is part of the new Cocoa Latte Drink Series.

This Taiwanese bubble tea chain landed in Chinatown in July 2020.
Mott Street Girls

Alimama Tea

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Known for its trendy desserts and fruity drinks, Alimama Tea opened in Manhattan’s Chinatown in February 2018. It’s the first shop in New York City to offer Japanese-style mochi donuts. Janie Wang, a Lower East Side native with gluten intolerance, was inspired to open the cafe because she found there were insufficient offerings for people with the same dietary restrictions. So it’s no surprise that most of the items on the menu are either gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan. The lychee rose drink and royal milk tea with mini boba are worth ordering.

Two purple bubble tea sit side-by-side on a wood table.
Brightly colored drinks at Alimama.
Mott Street Girls

Miss Du's Tea Shop

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Cynthia Wang, who is originally from Shenyang, China, opened Miss Du’s Tea shop in 2021 on historic Pell Street in Manhattan’s Chinatown. A piano performance student at the Mannes School of Music, she opened the shop in honor of her mom, Miss Du. The shop specializes in fruit and bubble milk teas low in sugar and calories. Customers especially love the Hand-Hit Lemon Red Dragon Fruit Tea, Super Fruit Tea, and Black Grape Yakult. Make sure to try the crystal bubble topping made of agar-agar powder that’s translucent and chewier than regular boba.

A yellow and pink bubble tea are held side-by-side.
Miss Du’s tea shop.
Mott Street Girls

Mudflow

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Mudflow is a popular bubble tea chain in Brooklyn’s Chinatown that opened in July 2018. The store name references the avalanche that begins when the brown sugar milk series drinks are turned upside down. Besides the brown sugar milk, the cheese rose milk tea is another popular drink option. Rich, creamy, and floral — it’s like a dessert in a cup.

A pink bubble tea with cheese rose milk is held up by a hand.
Dessert in a cup.
Mott Street Girls

Shiny Tea

A brown bubble tea is held up on a red and black checkerboard backdrop.
Shiny Tea is a favorite amongst Columbia University students.
Mott Street Girls

Shiny Tea, a hole-in-the-wall bubble tea spot, has been popular with local college students since opening in June 2016 near Columbia University. They’re known for their affordable prices and innovative combinations. Try the Panda Milk Tea, a black milk tea with a mix of perfectly cooked black and white pearls.

A brown bubble tea is held up on a red and black checkerboard backdrop.
Shiny Tea is a favorite amongst Columbia University students.
Mott Street Girls

Tiger Sugar

A hand holds up a cup of brown sugar boba.
The popular brown sugar boba.
Mott Street Girls

Tiger Sugar opened in Taichung, Taiwan, in 2017 and has grown into a massively popular international chain. Their Flushing location opened soon after in May 2019, the first in NYC. The brown sugar boba series, where the caramelized brown sugar syrup forms a unique tiger stripe design, is a signature of the drinks here.

A hand holds up a cup of brown sugar boba.
The popular brown sugar boba.
Mott Street Girls

Tea and Milk

A hand holds up a brown bubble tea with boba.
Stop by Tea and Milk after a visit to the nearby Museum of the Moving Image.
Mott Street Girls

After working in the food and beverage industry for almost a decade, Mathew Wong decided to open a boba shop in 2012 when he realized that much of the boba he had been drinking was full of artificial colors and flavors. At his shop, he only uses natural, fresh, and high-quality ingredients, such as fresh milk, fruits, and tea leaves. The shop’s signature taro root milk tea is made with homemade taro root puree blended with black tea and dairy. There is also a vegan version of the drink made with coconut milk.

A hand holds up a brown bubble tea with boba.
Stop by Tea and Milk after a visit to the nearby Museum of the Moving Image.
Mott Street Girls

I’Milky

A yellow and white bubble tea is held up by a hand.
This global bubble tea chain catapulted into Midtown West back in 2018.
Mott Street Girls

I’Milky is a global bubble tea chain that opened its Midtown West location in 2018. The shop prides itself on using high-quality ingredients such as cane sugar, farm-fresh milk, fresh fruit, pure honey, and premium tea leaves. Their popular drinks include the coconut taro milk with boba, mango milk, and strawberry milk. They also offer special combo meals that include a drink, rice ball, and side dish.

A yellow and white bubble tea is held up by a hand.
This global bubble tea chain catapulted into Midtown West back in 2018.
Mott Street Girls

Machi Machi

A bottle holds a pink and white drink.
The Instagrammable Machi Machi.
Mott Street Girls

The name Machi Machi means “best friend” in Taiwanese. The Taiwanese chain’s Koreatown store is Instagrammable with neon lights, interactive wall art, and cute bottles. They are most known for their strawberry latte with panna cotta, jasmine green tea with plum jello, and black milk tea with creme brulee. There are also mochi donuts and Korean corndogs for purchase inside the storefront for those craving a snack.

A bottle holds a pink and white drink.
The Instagrammable Machi Machi.
Mott Street Girls

Teazzi Tea Shop

Two white cups with blue, Chinese porcelain-inspired detailing.
Teazzi Tea Shop’s signature Chinese porcelain-inspired cups.
Mott Street Girls

The owner and franchisee, Nigel Huang, emigrated from Taiwan in the 1980s and decided to open Teazzi in April 2021 due to the high demand for bubble tea in Long Island City. All drinks — which are served in beautiful white-and-blue paper cups reminiscent of Chinese porcelain — are made from scratch in the store, and the tea leaves and sugar are imported from Taiwan. The shop caters to its customers and only uses lactose-free milk and non-dairy creamers in its teas. Besides the usual boba and grass jelly, there’s also an option for an oat topping. The bestsellers include the house special milk tea, taro latte, and Strawberry Four Seasons milk tea.

Two white cups with blue, Chinese porcelain-inspired detailing.
Teazzi Tea Shop’s signature Chinese porcelain-inspired cups.
Mott Street Girls

Surreal Creamery

A taro bubble tea topped with a swirl of matcha-taro ice cream is held up by a hand.
A taro bubble tea topped with a swirl of matcha-taro ice cream.
Mott Street Girls

Surreal Creamery, an ice cream and bubble tea spot, feels like a hidden gem in Kips Bay. It is known for its unique, Instagram-worthy treats, including the Floaters (bubble tea topped with soft-serve ice cream) and Mason jar specials (soft-serve ice cream with colorful toppings in a Mason jar). Must-try items include the Nom Nom Cookie Mason Jar, Thai milk bubble tea with Vietnamese iced coffee ice cream, and taro bubble tea topped with a swirl of matcha-taro ice cream.

A taro bubble tea topped with a swirl of matcha-taro ice cream is held up by a hand.
A taro bubble tea topped with a swirl of matcha-taro ice cream.
Mott Street Girls

Pa Tea

A bubble tea has a bear logo that says Pa Tea.
Look at the cute bear logo.
Mott Street Girls

Pa Tea is a cute bubble tea spot easily recognizable by its adorable cartoon bear logo. It first opened in Chinatown in 2013, and its second location on 14th street opened in 2016. Their popular drinks include the rose milk tea, an Oreo milkshake, and the Black-and-Yellow Milk. For those that can’t get enough, there is also a bigger stubby size — at 26 ounces — available.

A bubble tea has a bear logo that says Pa Tea.
Look at the cute bear logo.
Mott Street Girls

Raccoon Cave

A mascot-like raccoon hand serves bubble tea out of the opening of a wall.
Yes, New York does have a racoon-themed boba shop.
Mott Street Girls

Raccoon Cave is a raccoon-themed boba spot that just opened in January 2022. Started by the same owners behind Biao Sugar, the drinks are delivered via a furry raccoon’s paw in a small window. The walls and floor are all gray, mimicking rocks in a cave. The drinks are creamy with just the right amount of sweetness. The signature drinks include Taro Heaven (brown sugar boba milk, taro foam, brown sugar boba, herbal jelly, and pudding) and Raccoon’s Milky Way (signature brown sugar boba milk with milk foam).

A mascot-like raccoon hand serves bubble tea out of the opening of a wall.
Yes, New York does have a racoon-themed boba shop.
Mott Street Girls

Wanpo Tea Shop

A brown tea with black boba bubbles is held up by a hand.
Bubble tea comes with a side of decor inspired by the 1940s.
Mott Street Girls

Wanpo Tea Shop was founded by Peter Chang, whose family sold a variety of drinks at their grocery store in Taichung, Taiwan, in the 1950s. It was a popular hangout spot where aunties and uncles from the neighborhood would spend their afternoons over cups of aiyu lemonade and winter melon tea. Inspired by his family’s grocery store, Chang opened the first Wanpo Tea Shop in 1992, and it has since become a global Taiwanese bubble tea chain with locations in Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Australia, and the United Kingdom. At the Greenwich Village location, the vintage-style decor is reminiscent of tea shops in the 1940s. The most popular orders here include the red bean jelly drink, Wanpo milk tea, and aiyu jelly lemon tea.

A brown tea with black boba bubbles is held up by a hand.
Bubble tea comes with a side of decor inspired by the 1940s.
Mott Street Girls

Debutea

Two mismatched sized pink teas sit side-by-side.
Don’t miss out on the seasonal drink menu.
Mott Street Girls

The owner of Debutea gave up his job as a lawyer in China and came to New York in the hopes of bringing authentic Chinese tea culture to the city while also aiming to change Americans’ perception of tea. Since 2018, Debutea’s most popular drinks include fruit teas (fresh fruit blended with tea) and cheese teas (freshly brewed tea topped with rich cheese foam). Don’t miss out on the seasonal drink menu featuring fresh fruits such as pink glow pineapple, white peach, and lychee.

Two mismatched sized pink teas sit side-by-side.
Don’t miss out on the seasonal drink menu.
Mott Street Girls

Xing Fu Tang

A white and pink bubble tea is held up by a hand.
The “Hall of Happiness” is where you’ll find this boba.
Mott Street Girls

Xing Fu Tang, meaning “Hall of Happiness,” is a Taiwanese bubble tea chain that opened its East Village location in October 2021. Customers can watch the staff make the brown sugar boba from scratch inside the shop. Recommended items include the boba soft serve, strawberry boba milk, and taro boba ube milk.

A white and pink bubble tea is held up by a hand.
The “Hall of Happiness” is where you’ll find this boba.
Mott Street Girls

Lazy Sundaes Canal St. Market