Four Black & White editors went hunting for the best bubble tea in Rockville, the go-to place for good Asian cuisine. They went to four stores—Bubbles & Tea, Gong Cha, The Lab Cafe and The Pearl Lady—and asked for their most popular and aesthetically pleasing drink. Drinks are scored from 0 to 10 based off flavor, presentation and bubble taste and texture. Each review also features two photos, one from before shaking the drink and one after shaking. All photos by Yiyang Zhang.
What is bubble tea?
Bubble tea, also known as boba tea, milk tea or pearl tea, originates from Taiwan. The common milk-tea consists of a mixture of milk and tea (who would’ve guessed), with tapioca pearls—commonly known as “boba” or “bubbles”—at the bottom of the drink. Recently, stores have been adding more fruity flavors to attract a wider range of customers.
Meet your critics
Jenny drives all the way to Tysons Corner just for bubble tea on the weekends since Kung Fu Tea at Montgomery Mall gives too much ice and not enough boba. She consistently orders the same drink every single time: Winter Melon Milk Green Tea. In her opinion, the tapioca pearls are the best part of the drink, since without the bubbles, bubble tea is just tea… or juice… or whatever they make the drink out of now.
Zoe is moderately well versed in bubble tea, but with embarrassingly basic taste—a Jasmine Milk Tea kind of gal. As a the token White Girl™, she knows nothing about #authenticity; she’s just here for the boba.
Yiyang is a true tea addict. Isn’t bubble tea just a fancy tea dessert? She’s not exactly a tapioca pearl lover but is always open to trying new drinks. Probably cares more about nutritional values and ingredients than taste.
Katherine is a complete bubble tea novice. She tried it for the first time in August 2018 and could only describe it as “weird, but good.” She’s childishly excited about every aspect of bubble tea,astonished by milk caps and yogurt bubbles and is probably unworthy of the company of these bubble tea connoisseurs.