Two new boba shops opening in the past two years brings downtown Evanston’s tally to four stores that specialize in selling bubble tea. Around campus, we’ve overheard questions like, “Where should I go,” “Why is it so expensive” and “Which one is the best?”
Boba, also known as bubble tea, is a traditional Taiwanese beverage that has a tea base and toppings, commonly tapioca pearls. The popular drink became known for its sweet, refreshing taste after making its way to America in the ‘90s. In Evanston, students satisfy their boba cravings at four shops: TEAlicious, Happy Lemon, Kung Fu Tea and Möge Tee. We tried each store’s signature drink and compiled a comprehensive guide to Evanston’s boba shops.
1. TEAlicious BUBBLE
Address: 1565 Sherman Avenue (11-minute walk from the Arch)
Shop vibes: Pleasant and comfortable. TEAlicious is quite busy most of the time because people like to study and hang out there. The decorations are pretty standard, but its signature Squishmallow-covered wall screams “photo-op.” Pricing: $ (10% off with Wildcard)
Pricing: $ (10% off with Wildcard)
Signature drink: Strawberry Matcha Bubble Latte
+ Review: Who would have thought strawberry and matcha could make such a flavorful combination? Because all the drinks here use cane sugar, there’s a subtle sweetness that keeps you sipping. TEAlicious’s tapioca is wonderfully soft and chewy. Our only gripe is that there’s not enough strawberry syrup. This item is definitely a must-try.
Other bestsellers: Brown Sugar Bubble Tea with Milk, Blueberry Bubble Tea Latte, Taro Bubble with Milk, Bubble Tea Latte with Oreo Mochi, Wintermelon Lemonade
2. Möge Tea
Address: 1590 Sherman Avenue (11-minute walk from the Arch)
Shop vibes: The spacious seating area makes Möge Tee perfect for both relaxing and studying. Bonus point for providing self-ordering kiosks, which saves customers time.
Pricing: $$$ (No Wildcard discount)
Signature drink: Brown Sugar Bubble Milk
+ Review: Möge Tee generally does a great job at blending caramel dark sugar with the tea’s light flavor. The tapioca pearls are fresh and chewy, which reminds us of the bouncy texture of mochi or candied jellies. We recommend decreasing the sweetness for a better experience. If you go to Möge Tee and don’t know what to order, try this drink!
Other bestsellers: Super Fruit Green Tea, Mango Pomelo, Grapefruit Yakult, Strawberry Tea, Oreo Milk Tea
3. Happy Lemon
Address: 1607 Chicago Avenue (7-minute walk from the Arch)
Shop vibes: Bright and cheerful. The employees are friendly and helpful, and they prepare your drinks quickly. However, the shop has limited tables and can get crowded.
Pricing: $$ (10% off with Wildcard)
Signature drink: Jasmine Green Tea with Salted Cheese
+ Review: For a signature drink, this didn’t impress us. The drink tastes better once the ice has melted, and the salted cheese has a somewhat powdery texture that rapidly mixes with the liquid. Still, the green tea is light and sweet and pairs well with the salted cheese and tapioca. If you have a sweet tooth and love creamy tea, you’ll enjoy this drink.
Other bestsellers: Mango Matcha Smoothie, Boba Milk Tea, Mango Jasmine Green Tea, Dark Brown Sugar Boba Milk Tea, Strawberry Green Tea with Salted Cheese
4. Kung Fu Tea
Address: 726 Clark Street (6-minute walk from the Arch)
Shop vibes: Warm and relaxing. Kung Fu Tea is relatively small, only big enough for two tables and bar counters. If you want a cozy place to chat with friends, this shop is the place to go.
Pricing: $ (No Wildcard discount)
Signature drink: Kung Fu Milk Tea/Milk Green Tea
+ Review: When we first poked a straw into the drink, the tooth-aching sweetness startled us. We suggest reducing the sugar level for a more balanced taste. The tapioca pearls were firm and weren’t satisfying to chew. However, the jasmine tea flavor saved the drink. This is a great classic for those new to the shop.
Other bestsellers: Oreo Milk Strike, Honey Oolong Tea, Taro Slush, Wintermelon Green Tea, Passion Fruit Green Tea