Battle of the boba: A bubble tea review


Tatiana Martinez, Section Editor

It’s a sweltering hot day, and you really want to drink something other than water. Sitting in your desk is agony, especially when the AC isn’t doing anything to combat the heat. You’re thirsty and you want something that’s tasty and will quench your thirst. Popular beverage places around and by Gunderson are Starbucks, Jamba Juice, or my personal favorite, a ton of boba shops.

Tons of people in the Bay Area are starting to like boba more, and as a result, boba shops are popping up in malls and outdoor shopping centers. Not only is boba becoming more popular, but new flavors and toppings are being created, and it’s fun to try new things, especially with friends. If you’re thirsty one day and want to try something new but don’t know where to go, I got you.

There are many boba places near Gunderson. Many students have heard of boba, but haven’t had the guts to try it. They see the black blobs at the bottom of the drink and the multicolored teas and get scared. What if I don’t like it? It’s ok to be scared, but fear no more, because I am here!

For this review, I went to three different boba shops in San Jose: Tea Zone, Bobafitt, and 85 degrees cafe. To keep things fair, I ordered a regular black milk tea with boba, keeping the ice and sugar level regular. I graded these places based on four criteria: tea, boba, ice, and flavor.

The first place I went to was Bobafitt, and it was love at first sip. I ordered “The Classic,” which is a black milk tea with boba. It cost $5.25 which is a decent price for the amount you get. It came unmixed, with the dark brown tea at the bottom and milk at the top. It looked gorgeous. The boba was amazing; it was chewy and sweet and had a delicious honey taste.

A map of the four closest boba shops near Gunderson and their walking and driving distances.

The tea was amazing too. It was strong, but not too strong, and was sweet but not too sweet. The sweetness mostly came from the boba, which I didn’t mind because if the tea tastes too sweet, it ruins the flavor.

The ice and ice level was good, as well. It was big chunks so it didn’t come up the straw, and there was just enough where the drink was kept cold throughout the hour that I drank it.

The flavor was amazing. It was sweet, cold, and refreshing. It tasted perfect: brown sugar sweetness and just enough sugar. The tea was just strong enough, and the boba completed the whole thing and brought the flavors together. Overall, one of the best milk teas I’ve ever tasted.

This cup of boba made my day 100% better and received a perfect 5/5 in total. I highly recommend trying Bobafitt!

Second, I went to 85 degrees. I’ve been here numerous times, but the day I went must’ve been an off day for them. I ordered the Boba Milk Tea, which cost $4.50.

The boba was subpar. It was chewy, and had a great consistency, but was just lacking in flavor and taste. It was like chewing a rubber ball. No flavor or sweetness at all.

The tea was really disappointing. All the times I’ve been here, it was delicious, sweet, and tasty. Of course, the one time I’m reviewing it, it lacks taste and flavor. It tasted watered down like there was too much milk added to it and it was lacking sweetness. It wasn’t that refreshing, and it was like drinking flavored milk. 

The ice was good, and there wasn’t too much or too little of it. It’s kind of hard to mess ice up.

The flavor was bland and was just like drinking flavored milk. It was disappointing and not that great.

Overall, this was pretty disappointing and received a 2.6/5 in total. The flavor just wasn’t there and the boba was not flavorful or sweet.

Finally, I went to Tea Zone, one of my personal favorites. I ordered the Regular Milk Tea with boba, which cost $4.75. It was a bigger cup, so the price was pretty good for the quantity.


The boba was pretty good. It was sweet and chewy, and they put at least a good 3 or 4 scoops. I love when they’re generous with boba!

The tea was decent and it was already mixed. There was a lot too. It just wasn’t as sweet and tasted more floral than most black milk teas.

The ice was not that great, which is funny because it’s really hard to mess ice up. I didn’t like it because the cubes were way too small. It’s a cute idea, small ice, but it became annoying when the ice came up into the straw and immediately watered down the tea in my mouth. How do you mess up ice? This ice was odd and it sucked especially when I got to the bottom of my drink and the ice became more frequent.

      The flavor was pretty good and was sweet and refreshing after track practice. The boba was great because it added a great texture and some sweetness.  

      Overall, Tea Zone was pretty delicious, and it lived up to my standards. It was a great cup full of sweet tea and chewy boba, and it was all harmonized. Tea Zone received a 3.8/5 in total.

Of these three places, Bobafitt was definitely the best, and it’s the place that I recommend. Have fun experimenting with different flavors and toppings. Hopefully this review helped you figure out if you are finally brave enough to try boba!