Battle of the bubbles

Where to sip the most refreshing boba tea in the 716


Bubble tea was invented in Taiwan in the 1980s after a teahouse owner spontaneously decided to throw tapioca balls into a glass of iced tea. Bubble tea, also known as boba tea, is made up of a tea base with fruit or milk and chewy tapioca balls mixed in. While the drink has been a staple in Asian countries for decades, the whimsical libation has become increasingly popular in the United States over the past several years. Here are the best places to grab a boba tea in Buffalo.

No. 1 Tea Leaf Café

Location: 4224 Maple Road, Amherst, NY 

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Average bubble tea price: $3.85

Just a 10-minute drive from North Campus, Tea Leaf Café offers the best combination of ambiance and flavor for bubble tea connoisseurs. Tea Leaf Café is the perfect place for late night chats with friends after catching the latest movie at the AMC Theater next door.

This location offers 14 varieties of milk bubble tea and 13 fruit bubble tea made with a choice of black or green tea as the base. The teas are rich and flavorful, never watery. Customers can also add rainbow or lychee jelly to their drinks.

If boba isn’t your cup of tea, Tea Leaf Café has plenty of other beverage options, including a dozen or so espresso drinks and and over forty loose leaf teas. The café also offers spring rolls and a variety of deserts to munch on while you enjoy your boba tea.

No. 2 Pulp 716

Location: 45 East Avenue, Lockport, NY 

Hours: Monday- Friday: 11a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Average bubble tea price: $3.99

This café/comic book shop hybrid is the perfect place to geek out while enjoying a variety of delicious bubble teas. Even if you aren’t a comic fan, the bubble tea offerings alone make it worth a trip to the Lockport location.

Pulp 716 offers seven different bubble tea varieties. The flavors are rotated daily to keep things fresh. For those looking to get in the autumn spirit, check out Pulp 716’s unique apple cider bubble tea. The comic shop also offers nerdy themed beverages, such as their blue “Doctor Who” inspired bubble tea. They also offer a “Harry Potter” style “butterbeer” bubble tea. Pulp 716 is a quirky hidden gem that is sure to satisfy comic book fans and bubble tea aficionados alike.

No. 3 Pho Lantern Restaurant

Location: 837 Niagara Street Buffalo, NY 

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Average bubble tea price: $3.50

If you’re looking to enjoy a bubble tea with a dinner out on the town, Pho Lantern offers authentic Thai cuisine and a variety of customizable boba teas. Customers can choose between an iced bubble tea or have their tea blended into a smoothie for an additional 50 cents.

Flavors include Taro, honeydew, Thai tea, papaya, passion fruit, coffee, Burmese milk tea and mango. At $3.50, Pho Lantern Restaurant offers one of the more affordable bubble tea options in Buffalo. Their traditional Taro bubble tea pairs nicely with a steaming bowl of Pho Lantern’s pad Thai.

No. 4 Kung Fu Tea

Location: 520 Lee Road #111, Amherst, NY

Hours: Monday through Friday 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Average bubble tea price: $4.00

Located in The Commons next to CVS, Kung Fu Tea is the most convenient bubble tea option for UB students. With a quiet, relaxing atmosphere, it’s an ideal spot to grab a boba tea while studying or catching up with friends.

The café’s milk teas are blended with lactose-free milk, making this location ideal for lactose intolerant students. Kung Fu Tea also offers highly customizable beverages. Customers can adjust the sweetness of their drink and swap the lactose-free milk for almond or coconut milk. In addition to its signature milk teas, this location offers bubble tea slushes, iced herbal teas and a variety of espresso drinks.

Maddy Fowler is a news editor and can be reached at maddy.fowler@ubspectrum