Where To Try Bubble Tea In London
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Where To Try Bubble Tea In London

The trend is going nowhere

Bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the early ‘80s, going on to gain popularity in China and the US in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but it took many years for the UK to catch onto the trend. The first bubble tea stall opened in London in 2011, Bubbleology in Soho, and the franchise soon expanded as the dessert-like drink garnered a cult-like following – with 69 stores now dotted across the country. But that’s not the only bubble tea brand: nowadays you can try the fun pearly tipple in a number of cafes and shops. Read on to discover the best bubble tea spots in London.

What Is Bubble Tea?

Also known as boba, bubble tea is a tea-based drink that began in Taiwan, which can be served hot or cold. The key ingredient is chewy tapioca balls, which create the bubble-like effect, and the drink is served with a thick straw, allowing you to suck up the chewy pearls while sipping. It originated as a sweetened black tea with milk, but these days you can get bubble tea in a wide variety of different flavours and styles, and add all sorts of toppings. 

With its vibrant, unique look and array of colour options, bubble tea became popular on Instagram many years ago, but recently it has blown up on TikTok too, as a whole new generation discovers its joys. The hashtag #BubbleTea has over 8.3 billion views on the platform, and fans regularly post about enjoying #BobaTime. So where can you try it in London?

Best Bubble Tea In London

 

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Happy Lemon, Chinatown

There are outposts of Happy Lemon all over the world, everywhere from China to Australia and the US. Its London branch is located in Chinatown, offering traditional bubble tea alongside jazzy flavours, such as the intriguing Rock Salted Cheese. The fresh lemon teas are particularly popular here, and you can customise your drinks with toppings aplenty, plus choose your sweetness level.

24A Newport Ct, London WC2H 7JS, happy-lemon.co.uk

Bubbleology, Multiple Locations

 

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With stores dotted all over London, you’ll never be too far from a Bubbleology. The chain offers a wide range of flavours, including unique specials like the popular Biscoff Bliss, Oreo Crush and Peachberry. Not a fan of tapioca? You can also opt to have your bubble tea ‘naked’, just with crushed fresh fruit (though the jury is out on whether this actually counts as bubble tea…). All drinks can be customised in terms of sweetness, and the milk ones allow you to choose soya, whole or oat. 

Multiple locations, bubbleology.co.uk

Dragon Cat Cafe, Hammersmith

Craving a bubble tea in West London? Make a pitstop at Dragon Cat Cafe, which is known for its sophisticated flavours and top-quality ingredients. The cream cloud tea is a hit here, with flavours including Dragon Cat Cheesecake and Crème Brulee Milk Tea, served with a dollop of cream on top. If you fancy something lighter, there are plenty of fresh, milk-free bubble teas, including lots of fruity concoctions.

Level 1, Livat W6 9HW, livat.com

 

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Cuppacha Bubble Tea, Chinatown

Another London favourite, Cuppacha reels in big queues every day of the week. The tiny spot serves a wide variety of teas that you can’t find elsewhere, plus its drinks are ultra-Instagrammable, particularly the ombre concoctions, which look oh-so-pretty when held up against the red lanterns of Chinatown.

23 Newport Ct, London WC2H 7JS, cuppacha.com

CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice, Soho

This popular franchise started in New York, going on to expand all over the world. You’ll find the London branch in Soho, serving all manner of bubble teas: from the signature 3 Guys Milk Tea to cloud varieties available in green or black tea flavours. Bonus points for the speedy service and super-friendly staff.

Ground Floor, 52-53 Dean St, London W1D 5BL, cocobubbletea.com

Xing Fu Tang, Soho

Curious as to how bubble tea is made? Head to Xing Fu Tang, where you can watch the pearls being whizzed up in a big cauldron. This spot originated in Taiwan, and it uses a traditional method of stir-frying the fresh brown sugar by hand, then blending it with natural ingredients and real tea.

9 Frith Street, London, W1D 5LG, xingfutang.co.uk

The Alley, Multiple Locations

With a number of branches across London, this authentic bubble tea shop makes its own tapioca from scratch, and this effort comes across in the high-quality flavour – drinks are sweet but not overpowering. The crème brûlée bubble tea is legendary here.

Multiple locations including Camden and Mayfair, the-alley.uk