Thursday, August 19, 2010

Got boba? Where the bubble tea is brewing in Tampa Bay

Posted By on Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 8:01 AM

click to enlarge Boba

The Taiwanese tapioca pearl drink called bubble tea, or "boba", has become a popular drink around  Tampa Bay in the last few years. New places serving various forms of this drink have been sprouting up around town from Brandon to Clearwater and, although many people are still unaware of what the drink is, a number of joint yogurt shops have  helped to spark popularity of the drink in the Tampa Bay community. Many shops offer free Wi-Fi, board games, magazines, and more to entertain guests to the tea shops. Here are some of the best places around town to grab some boba.

Kaleisia Tea Lounge: Popular among many college students to the nearby University of South Florida and vegans for their vegan food options, Kaleisia Tea Lounge on Fletcher Avenue offers numerous tea flavors, smoothie options, and milk tea options for boba lovers. Kaleisia's fruit smoothies have a fresh taste to them and their drinks are sweetened to perfection. Offering several drink specials, free Wi-Fi, live music on select days, and comfortable couches in the back upon reservation. Kaleisia creates a relaxing atmosphere to have a drink with a few friends, game night, or to have a meeting in the back. 1441 East Fletcher Ave., Tampa.

Got Tea: A small shop located next to the popular Chinese restaurant Yummy House on Waters Avenue, Got Tea offers over 100 flavors of Bubble Tea, Slush, Coffee, and Tea. You will not find a greater variety of smoothies and milk tea flavors in town. Their Taiwanese Milk Tea, a personal favorite, is hard to find around town and a blissful drink with the right balance so it is not too sweet, but hits the palate just right. They also have some hard to find Taiwanese food and yogurt that many people rave about. In addition, Got Tea has free Wi-Fi, some magazines and books, as well as some popular Asian music playing in the background during your stay. 2202 West Waters Ave., Tampa.

Green Island Frozen Yogurt & Tea Bar: Satisfying the boba craving of Brandon residents and surrounding areas, Green Island opened in Brandon on Adamo Drive not too long ago and has already become a popular spot. Providing self-serve frozen yogurt with many toppings and a respectable number of tea, coffee, and smoothie flavors. Customers can watch employees make their drinks and catch them cut the fruit into the smoothie blends. Green Island's drinks can pack a sweet punch as a warning to those with sensitive teeth, but they taste fresh regardless of this. A small food menu with eel and sweet types of toast can hold you over if you're hungry during your visit. The place is spotless and very modern-looking with some couches in the front and tables towards the back. Offering free Wi-Fi, board games, and playing some of the latest Top 40 music in addition to some Asian soundtracks as well; a visit to Green Island can turn into hours of fun and games. 10047 E. Adamo Dr., Tampa.

Saigon Deli: Already offering delicious and cheap Vietnamese sub sandwiches, Saigon Deli also sells some excellent boba smoothies as well. Not quite as many flavors or features as some other locations, but Saigon Deli still has great flavor in their drinks and the boba drinks are a nice complement to the food offered. 3962 W. Waters Ave., Tampa.

Tea Times: Clearwater's boba choice, Tea Times is a small boba stand located in the Westfield Countryside Shopping Center by Macy's. They have several fruit blends, milk teas, and green tea flavors to choose from. Their fruit smoothies have a strong taste that comes close to the actual taste of the fruit. It may be the only boba spot in town with handmade gelato as well. 27001 US Highway 19 N., Clearwater

There you have it. Your boba journey can now begin. Make sure to drag some friends and family along for the fun.

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