Saturday, 04 April, 2020

Boba: Costa Mesa’s New Obsession


Boba drinks (aka Bubble tea and/or pearl milk tea) originated in Taiwan in the 1980’s. Since then, Boba drinks have exploded in popularity, especially here in Costa Mesa.

Boba are small, chewy, tapioca balls, commonly paired with milk tea. You can find Boba tea places just about everywhere you go. 

Most of the boba places in Costa Mesa are extremely close to each other. For example, That Boba Place and It’s Boba Time are next door neighbors, by Harbor and Adams. Having both boba places so close to each other causes competition between them. Since That Boba Place has been around much longer than It’s Boba Time, most people don’t even know that It’s Boba Time exists! 

The 6 closest boba places around Costa Mesa are Tastea, 7 Leaves Cafe, That Boba Place, Eight Fold, It’s Boba Time, and Ding Tea. There are so many options, you might ask yourself, “Which one should I go to?” Luckily, we can answer that for you. 

We’ve carried out a survey asking 25 people what their favorite boba place is out of the 6 places in Costa Mesa. That Boba Place came out on top with a total of 9 votes. Here were the results:

That Boba Place - 9

7 Leaves Cafe- 6

Tastea- 4

Ding Tea- 2

It’s Boba Time- 2

Eight Fold- 2

This data proves that the longer the place has been around, the more popular it is. For example, Eight Fold, It’s Boba Time, 7 Leaves Cafe, and Ding Tea are relatively new compared to Tastea (opened April 2014) and That Boba Place (opened approximately 15-20 years ago!)

That Boba Place may be more popular, but every place in Costa Mesa has their perks. That’s why we did a second survey with those same people on what drinks to get at their chosen place. 

That Boba Place’s snows are liked by a large portion of people that voted. Three people said they especially liked the Oreo snow and some people preferred the strawberry snow. Fruity drinks including passion fruit tea and strawberry popping boba (as an add on in their drinks) were also popular options. One pro about That Boba Place is that they have a variety of food options, and plenty of places to sit inside. All in all, That Boba Place has many different fun drinks and snacks, but their traditional milk teas aren't as popular. 

If you want a nice, simple, ordinary milk tea, 7 Leaves Cafe or Eight Fold would be a great choice! The most loved drink at 7 Leaves is their Thai Tea with boba, and Eight Fold has an amazing Signature Milk Tea. Both places have small menus, but what they do have is great. Plus, 7 Leaves offers macarons!

Many Mesa people go to Tastea after school because it is close by, and easy to walk to after school. Tastea has the best specialty drinks including Peach Me Sweet Tea, Bootea Shaker, and Amazing Strawburst. Overall, Tastea has the most unique drink flavors out of all the places. They even have a drink called Avocado Avalanche! Tastea also has food options including fries, chicken, and shrimp. However, not as many food options as That Boba Place. 

It’s Boba Time is great for people that like a variety of options. They have a huge menu of all kinds of drinks and all kinds of add ons, similar to That Boba Place. They have smoothies, frappes, shakes, teas, coffee, hot chocolate, slushes, shave ice, frosty milk and more. They even have Acai bowls! Although the menu is huge, the place itself is pretty small, and parking is limited. Other than that, the only problem is deciding what to get!

Inside of Ding tea is very aesthetically pleasing, and would be a great place to go to with a friend. They are very traditional, and they have just about every flavor of milk tea you can think of. Ding Tea has unique add on choices, from golden boba to sea cream. 

Most people absolutely love boba, but surprisingly there are some people that just don’t like it! Whether it’s the boba itself, or the sweetness of the drink, boba can be modified so that it can be loved by everyone. 

First of all, if you don’t like boba, most places offer other yummy add ons like jellies or fruit bits that you can add in your drinks, or you can just get it plain. Sweetness can also be controlled at most places. For example, at Tastea there are different sweetness levels you can choose from.

In conclusion, That Boba Place is the most popular boba around, but all of the places have something for everyone to love!

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