When they're done well, bubble teas and other "boba" drinks, with their characteristic chewy-sweet tapioca pearls, are the ideal summertime treat — a cold beverage, a dessert, and a meal, all in one. And who doesn't love the fat straws and the vacuum-sealed plastic lids? In the Bay Area, boba shops are a dime a dozen, but most are selling drinks chock full of artificial ingredients and stale, almost plasticky tapioca balls. At Sweet Booth, they use real tea and real fruit (fresh, when possible), and the boba is fresh and soft, with just the right toothsome quality — in Taiwan, they call this texture "QQ." A particular standout is the Pearl Taro drink, which is essentially a milkshake: a generous portion of fresh taro blended with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a little bit of ice. Factor in those good tapioca pearls, and this is one drink you won't mind ordering over and over and over again.
© 2018 East Bay Express