Bubble tea is officially a thing in Auckland-town and we could not get any. more. excited. If you’re yet to get on the bubble tea bandwagon, you’re missing out—we guarantee you’ll love it.
So what actually IS bubble tea? Bubble tea (aka pearl milk tea or boba milk tea) originates in Taiwan and comes in two main types—fruit-flavoured teas and milk teas.
Added to the tea base are chewy tapioca pearls, which give the drink its most distinctive characteristic—the bubbly bits.
A wide range of other options can be used to add similar texture to the drink. Choose between the likes of green tea pearls, taro balls, aloe and jelly cubes that seem to come in every flavour imaginable.
It’s the drink of the people with countless flavours to appeal to every taste bud. If you’re not big on ya tea, you’ll find coffee options. And, if you’re a dairy-free kiddo, it’s common to find almond and coconut milk offerings.
If you’re curious to give it a go or love the stuff like us, then here’s where to find bubble tea in Auckland.
Hulucat Tea House
Auckland City, Balmoral, Botany
Hulucat Tea House is dominating the Auckland bubble tea scene with four locations across the city (Balmoral, Botany and Anzac Ave and Wellesley St in the CBD). You’ll discover creamy lychee, oatmeal milk tea, peach slushy and many, many more. You pretty much have free rein when it comes to choosing your bubbles—think honey aloe, green tea pudding and noodle jelly. Our fave is taro (try it before you judge it) with tapioca balls and a half serve of sugar. The sea salt cream extra is also not to be missed.
Originating from Taiwan, Gong Cha has expanded globally including an outlet on Lorne St. Priding themselves on their ability to deliver refreshing and healthy options to bubble tea fans, they have 51 (yes, 51) drink offerings. The crowd faves here include green milk tea, passionfruit green tea and mango yoghurt. You are the master of your drink—choose your cup size, sugar level and ice level before getting amongst the toppings. Anyone for basil seeds?
Over in Mt Roskill you’ll discover much-loved J’s Tea. You won’t go thirsty or hungry at this bubble tea joint—they also have a full food menu. Feast on dumplings, noodles and popcorn chicken (it’s an Urban List fave) before sipping on the main star of the show: bubble tea! There’s no shortage of options here with lemon cola, brown sugar ginger and red bean all making appearances. You can’t go wrong with their matcha green milk tea—mmm!
Go Go Music Café
Balmoral, Burswood, Glenfield
If you’re all about skewers and bubble tea, Go Go Music Café has you well and truly covered. They have skewers of every cut of meat imaginable—lamb chop, beef tongue, squid tentacles and even chicken feet (shudder). You’ll also find hand-pulled noodles, dumplings and—you guessed it—bubble tea! Choose between papaya, mashed red bean, taro and mango milk teas—yum! Stick around for dessert because their fried buns are not to be missed—they’re perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside and served with a dish of condensed milk for dipping.
V&V Bubble Tea
For an inner-city bubble fix, look no further than tiny (but mighty) V&V Bubble Tea. They have both cold and warm milk and fruit tea options as well as yogurt and slushy drinks. We can’t go past their signature plant milk tea that is served looking like an actual plant—complete with ‘soil’ and a rosemary leaf ‘plant’. Pro tip: get in touch with V&V in advance and they’ll hand draw an image of your cup (cute much?).
Howick, Albany, Newmarket, Birkenhead
Scattered across Auckland, you’ll find MoMoTea restaurant and bubble tea joint. Open until the wee small hours, this is the place to go for a late-night bubble tea fix. We’re warning you now: the menu is VERY extensive. You’ll be tearing your hair out as you choose between coconut milk tea, peach green tea, chocolate milk tea and egg pudding milk tea. If you’re after a bite to eat, they have an equally extensive food menu featuring all your South-East Asian faves.
Image credit: Kyoto Sushi & Grill