Beginners Guide to Bubble Tea

With so many bubble tea shops popping up in Edmonton Downtown, it can be daunting to know what to expect and what to order

First things first, what is bubble tea?

In the past several years, Bubble tea has skyrocketed in popularity and Downtown Edmonton is no exception. Boba or bubble tea, however you like to call it, is essentially brewed tea shaken with milk and ice, topped with tapioca pearls and drank with a fat straw. That’s the most basic form of it but the beauty is that there are countless ways to customize your drink.

Five components of bubble tea

  • Base: water, tea and/or milk
  • Flavour: syrup, powder or fresh fruit
  • Creamer: fresh milk, milk powder or any non-dairy milk
  • Topping/Add-ins: tapioca pearls, jelly, herbal grass, cheese foam, red bean and so much more. This is what gives the drink texture!
  • Sweetener: sugar, honey, syrup or fructose

What are tapioca pearls?

Every bubble tea shop has its own signature add-ins but the fundamental ingredient that they all offer is tapioca pearls. The pearls are made from tapioca starch and the texture is chewy and soft, similar to eating gummy bears. If you’re not a fan of tapioca pearl, try one of the other add-ins, such as a fruit jelly.


CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice

Our Pick: 3 Guys Milk Tea

The OG of bubble teas is the classic pearl milk tea. It’s made with brewed black tea, milk and sugar, then shaken vigorously with ice and served with tapioca pearls. CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice is guaranteed to make it perfect every time. If you’re looking to amp up your drink, order the 3 Guys Milk Tea which consists three of their most popular toppings: tapioca pearls, pudding and grass jelly. It turns into a creamy vanilla drink with a mouthful of toppings in each sip. Looking for something lighter? Try the refreshing tea-based Bubble Gaga, made with passionfruit green tea, tapioca and coconut jelly. We recommend ordering it with 0% sugar and less ice. 10147 109 St NW


Quickly Bubble Tea & Waffle

Our Pick: Chocolate Smoothie

The colourful and vibrant smoothies at Quickly Bubble Tea & Waffle makes it one of the cooler spots for bubble tea. Most of their smoothies are simple with standard flavours such as fruit or  chocolate, but there are also unique jelly add-in options like heart-shaped strawberry and star-shaped mango. Try a fruity option that explodes in your mouth – the famous Mango Poppy made with a mango smoothie base, topped with mango jelly and, you guessed it, mango pearls. For the chocolate lovers, order up the Chocolate Smoothie topped with Maltesers and whipped cream. 10140 104 St



Our Pick: Coffee Milk Tea With Grass Jelly

Sharetea is located inside Edmonton City Centre Mall (West) and makes a refreshing pit stop before or after any shopping trips or on your lunch break. This non-caffeinated bubble tea is made with powered taro that gives the drink a sweet and nutty flavour. Another note-worthy aspect of Sharetea is the large selection of flavoured milk teas. Our favourite is the Coffee Milk Tea with grass jelly. It tastes exactly like a Coffee Crisp! 10200 102 Ave


Gong Cha Ultima

Our Pick: Lychee Oolong With Milk Foam

Gong Cha Ultima is the hotspot for bubble tea addicts and tea lovers. Upon the first sip, you will instantly notice a stronger tea flavour. Gong Cha prides themselves for serving premium quality teas brewed every four hours for optimal flavour. For toppings, make sure to try their signature sweet and salty milk foam. It’s slightly saltier than other milk foams and we recommend the Lychee Oolong Tea with milk foam, 30% to 50% sugar. Ask for an open lid for the perfect sip of equal foam and tea. When bubble tea is consumed hot, it is like a hot sip that hugs that soul. Order the hot roasted milk tea with pearls. 10236 103 St


Dagu Rice Noodle

Our Pick: Mango Yakult

In addition to noods and soups, Dagu Rice Noodle serves a whole menu of real fruit bubble teas with the same satisfaction as milk tea-based drinks. Texture options are expanded beyond tapioca pearls and jelly to yogurt, cereal, panna cotta, mochi and more. You can’t go wrong with any drinks here, but we loved the mango yakult. If you’re in a dilemma between a milk-based or tea-based drink, opt for an in-between choice like yakult. The drink is water-based and lighter than milk teas while providing a slight tanginess to balance the sweet fresh fruit. 10408 Jasper Ave