Bubble up.

Bubble tea may have hospitalized a Chinese teenager with severe constipation back in June, but our habit for this addictive, high-calorie combo of sweet milk tea and chewy tapioca balls is unkickable. As ubiquitous—if not more—than coffee, bubble tea (a.k.a. boba tea, pearl milk tea) is nothing new to Thailand, but the Taiwan-hailing beverage has been undergoing something of a revival over the past year. With more than 30 brands now on the Thai market, we put five of the most popular to the test—all original flavor and all at 100 percent sweetness level. 
 
 

Mr. Shake WINNER!

Origin: Thailand.
The boba: Soft and chewy all the way, if a little sticky and slightly too big. 
The taste: This tea stands out due to its dark color. It tastes like (diluted) Thai tea. Despite being very sweet, it is oddly satisfying. 
Verdict: Dark horse.
Price: B55
Multiple branches. Try Siam Square Soi 7, 02-658-1739. Open daily 10am-9pm
 
 

Dakasi Tea RUNNER UP!

Origin: Taiwan.
The boba: Flawlessly munchy. 
The taste: The thick milk in this foamy cup leaves an unappealing residue on the glass, but the creamy taste wins us over. All told, a well-rounded contender. 
Verdict: Cream of the crop.
Price: B55
Multiple branches. Try 1/F, Gateway Ekamai, 982/22 Sukhumvit Rd., 02-108-2888

 

Koi The

Origin: Taiwan.
The boba: Set apart by their brownish-yellow color, these balls may be small but they are plentiful and pleasantly chewy. 
The taste: The rich milk taste and smell overpowers the tea, though the consistency is nice and smooth. 
Verdict: Smooth operator.
Price: B70
Multiple branches. Try 1/F, Silom Complex, 191 Silom Rd.

 

Ochaya 

Origin: Thailand.
The boba: Chewy and a little tough on the inside. Nothing outstanding.
The taste: Although the tea has a pleasant fragrance, it starts off slightly sweet then quickly falls flat. The milk is a little watery but transports us back to childhood bowls of cereal.
Verdict: Time machine.
Price: B70
Multiple branches at BTS stations. Try BTS Ari and BTS Thong Lo
 
 

Kamu 

Origin: Thailand.
The boba: Pleasantly chewy, like gummy sweets. 
The taste: The tea over-powers the milk and the sweetness leaves us wanting to down a glass of water. 
Verdict: Next stop: diabetes. 
Price: B50 
Multiple branches at BTS stations. Try BTS Chong Nonsi and BTS Phayathai
 
 

Cha Bar YIKES!

Origin: Thailand.
The boba: The stingy amount of “homemade rice berry boba” are tasteless and slightly tough in texture.
The taste: Watery, bland and not nearly sweet enough. We were ashamed to find out this low-calorie tea is created for health-conscious drinkers. 
Verdict: What diet?
Price: B75
Multiple branches. Try 1/F, Lido Connect, Rama 1 Rd., 065-937-7144. Open daily 10:30am-9:30pm 

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