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What’s the Best Bubble Tea in London? Testing 10+ Boba Tea Stores

What’s the Best Bubble Tea in London? Testing 10+ Boba Tea Stores
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Hey guys, if you’re looking for the best bubble tea in London, look no further! I created this list of the best bubble tea stores in London, so you know where and what to try of the best boba tea in London.

I originally wrote this post back in 2019 when I fell in love with boba tea and wanted to drink it pretty much every day. However, we all agree that now it’s time to update this post, as a lot has changed on the London boba tea / milk tea market. There are new flavours, new openings, some closures and well, a lot has changed in the last years. That’s why I’m updating this post in February 2022!

I also wanted to let you know that none of the places I mentioned sponsored this post! It’s all based on my personal taste and experience I had in named boba tea shops. We will also talk about the boba tea stores I would recommend avoiding for various reasons.

Well, let’s get started testing 15+ different bubble teas from 10+ different bubble tea stores in London!

Getting used to the authentic bubble tea

I tried real Taiwanese bubble tea about 8 years ago for the first time, and didn’t end up liking it at all. My problem was, that I didn’t know what to ask for and didn’t know what I would like. So I asked for an extra strong Oolong tea with Tapioka pearls and guess what… I hated it. Many months have passed until I gave bubble tea another chance and fell in love with it. Now I’m lucky to call London home and be able to order delicious authentic Taiwanese bubble teas in London!

Do you like Ramen? Check my guide to the best ramen in London! Or go straight to the guide to the best brunches in our favourite city (London, of course)! I also specialise in Instagrammable locations around the world. Here you can read the London edition of the most Insta-worthy places!

Without further ado, let’s get started! Let’s taste the major bubble tea shops in London and check which one is the best!

bubble tea nottingham
Trying Marucha bubble tea in Nottingham

Where to find the best bubble tea in London? (2022 edition). Trying 10 boba teas in London.

Coco Fresh Tea and Juice – for those, who love juices or want to avoid sugar

The first place on our list of the best bubble tea cafes in London is Coco Fresh Tea and Juice. Coco Tea and Juice is one of the biggest bubble tea and juice bar chains that originated in Taiwan. It just turned 25 years old a couple of days ago.

Coco has there bubble tea and juice stores in London and oh, my, they are very crowded. One of the stores is located in China Town, very close to the Les Miserables theatre. That one usually has the largest queue – once I spent 45 minutes there queuing for my favourite bubble tea in the entire London. The last one (and the newest one) is located in the O2 arena in North Greenwich.

When the queue is too big, I head to another Coco Tea and Juice bar located just in front of the British Museum – this one is usually emptier especially when the museum is already closed.

Drinks I’ve tried:

Coco Pearl Milk Tea, Bubble Gaga, Three Brothers, Two Sisters

Did I like it?

I loved it!

Why is Coco Tea and Juice so great?

Well, first, not only it is very authentic, but also the ingredients and the taste of the drinks is fantastic. I’ve tried 5-6 versions of tea and one juice, and they were terrific. Moreover, they never get my order wrong despite the massive queues and so many people!

On a hot summer day, you can get yourself an ice fruit tea (e.g. peach) or even a smoothie with tapioca pearls and even jelly etc., and on a cold winter day, there’s nothing better than a hot milk tea with some tapioca and coconut jelly!

Coco Tea and Juice bar also serves the famous Tiger Milk tea or brown sugar bubble tea in London, however, in the evenings, it’s always sold out, so head there in the morning, if you want it! They also have brown sugar tapioca (boba), however, it’s hard to catch a moment when they have it in stock.

I love getting a tea from Coco Tea & Juice because they are one of very few boba tea stores in London that have delicious & not very sweet drinks. My most frequent order is hot three brothers tea with tapioca, grass jelly and pudding and no extra sugar added. Tapioca and pudding are already sweet without needing to add sugar, hence, I love this drink and it’s only has half calories of very sweet drinks like brown sugar creme brûlée.

My verdict: go there and try everything! 8/10

Best bubble tea in London 2019

The Alley Bubble Tea

When The Alley opened their first store in London, I was euphoric. I’ve tried it in Seoul for the first time and then ordered it in Tokyo a week later. When I returned from this trip, I was devastated that I can’t find The Alley anywhere in Europe, but not for long, because they opened their first boba tea store in London just a year after!

The Alley is a pretty famous chain and it’s really big in Asia and in the USA. Howeer, it quickly became big in London as well. The secret is in their top 5 recommended drinks (brown sugar deerioca creme brûlée, royal No.9 milk tea, dalgona brown sugar deerioca creme brûlée, matcha peach oolong latte, snow strawberry Lulu) that you see everywhere on the screens (in-store). These drinks are insane! If you want to read a bit more about The Alley, I’ve got a separate review in this post.

Drinks I’ve tried:

Brown sugar deerioca creme brûlée milk, Brown sugar deerioca milk, Dalgona, Royal No.9, Trio Milk Tea,

Did I like it?

I love brown sugar deerioca milk and I’m always keen to return to have it again (it’s the best drink in London in my opinion), the rest of the drinks are not my favourites

My verdict: Cold brown sugar deerioca milk is 100000/10, the rest 7/10

Xing Fu Tang

Another bubble tea store that is so good that it deserved a separate blog review is Xing Fu Tang. Xing Fu Tang is another international chain and unlike its competitors, it relies on the preparation of brown sugar tapioca and visual presentation of the drinks rather than the variety and authenticity of the menu.

I also like the location – it’s just one street away from Coco and whenever I’m in the area, I visit either of two stores. Usually, in winter I visit Coco because of their variety of hot drinks and in summer I go to Xing Fu Tang because they have great cold drinks, especially, the ones with their signature brown sugar tapioca that they prepare in the front of the store!

Xing Fu Tang only has one store in London, located in Soho and the queues there are usually not that big.

Drinks I’ve tried:

Brown sugar boba milk, brown sugar boba milk tea, Mango smoothie with bunny panna cotta

Did I like it?

I loved brown sugar boba milk & milk tea – they are the ones I keep ordering every single time.

Verdict

8/10 – the best tapioca in London and the most Instagrammable boba tea in London

Brown Sugar Pearl Milk Xing Fu Tang

Machi Machi

Machi Machi is another unique and unusual bubble tea spot in London. Their teas are very different compared to other regular bubble tea places and are a bit more expensive as well. They specialise in cream cheese top teas and cream foam teas. They also sell their teas in cute and creative bottles!

Drinks I’ve tried:

Milk tea with cream foam, caramel cream cheese milk tea

Did I like it?

I loved it! Very unusual and heavy on calories but works as a treat when you need some comfort food

Verdict

7/10 – unique teas that are worth trying!

Machi Machi - the best boba teas in London

Ding Tea

Ding Tea opened its first store in Central London in September 2021. Before that, it existed exclusively in the suburbs of London and various commuter towns. On the opening day, there was a huge queue, but since we were really excited about the opening, we decided to stay in the queue. Another reason for such a large queue (besides it being a lovely warm Sunday were a lot of people naturally were hanging out on the Upper street in Islington, one of the busiest residential areas of the city) was a promo deal, offering 50% off all drinks on the opening day.

In my opinion, Ding Tea didn’t have a massive difference to tens of other boba tea shops in London – the drinks were almost the same, the service was similar and there was no distinct branding or other unique features (e.g. a huge variety of fresh juices like in Coco, fresh store-made brown sugar tapioca and Instagrammable bubble tea in Xing Fu Tang, unusual drinks in Machi Machi or signature Deerioca milk in the Alley). If I had Ding Tea next to my work or house, I would probably go there, but I don’t see a reason going to Islington just to buy boba tea from Ding Tea!

Drinks I’ve tried:

Ding Pearl milk tea, Kiwi Green tea, Peach tea

Did I like it?

I found it alright – not the best, not the worst

Verdict

6/10 – good place to have if you live nearby, but not worth travelling just to try a tea there

Yifang Fruit Tea

104 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 5EQ

Another tea shop I decided to test was Yifang Taiwan Fruit Tea. Just like Coco Tea and juice bar, Yifang is an authentic Taiwanese place, and it also offers the Tiger milk tea in London at two times on the first come – first serve basis. I recall the times being something like 12 pm and 6 pm, but it makes sense to double check with them, as they could have changed.

Yifang is located just across the street from Coco in China Town, so in case the queue is too long, you can head there instead.

My verdict: even though the menu is somewhat limited, there are some great teas you can try. I liked Yifang Fruit Tea, however, sometimes it can be hit and miss and depends on the store that prepares it. Also, I find their tapioca pearls slightly too small.

Drinks I’ve tried:

Pearl milk tea, Fruit tea

Verdict: 5/10

Best bubble tea in London 2019

Woo Tea London

26 Wardour St, London

Woo Tea just got pretty popular just two months after opening. Its location just couldn’t be any better. Woo Tea is located in the heart of Chinatown, next to the famous bubble waffle and it always has a queue outside (although not as long as Coco’s queue).

My experience with Woo Tea was hit and miss. I absolutely loved their signature milk tea, but lychee woo tea in the peach resin section was the worst drink in my life (after the fish oil), so be careful if you opt in for some creative options.

The brown sugar milk tea was good, though, however, it’s pretty sweet as well.

Verdict: 5.5/10

Woo Tea London

T4 (Tea For You)

Another sweet spot for a bubble tea in London is T4. Located in two busiest shopping malls in London, Westfield White City and Stratford, T4 also has massive queues. I also noticed (recently) that it started expanding and opening stores in other locations of London such as Spitalfields and Warren Street.

What did I try there?

A couple of drinks including a frozen mango juice (it wasn’t a bubble tea. Hence I will not evaluate it in this post, but I can mention that it wasn’t one of my favourite drinks).

I also tried the classic milk tea with tapioca pearls, and I tried a black milk tea with the coffee jelly.
They did mess up my order just once – I asked for no sugar, but my drink had at least 1/2 sugar. But I loved the milk tea with coffee jelly – something I would order again. And it’s great for cold weather, so definitely give it a try.

Summary: not bad and a huge variety of different tastes. It’s a large chain with bubble tea spots all around the world, so they know what they are doing. Also, you don’t need to travel far to try T4 – there are plenty of them in London

5.5/10

Best bubble tea in London 2019

Gonuts boba tea

Holloway Rd (opposite the tube station)

Located just outside the Holloway Road tube station, Gonuts boba tea mostly attracts local students from London Metropolitan University and the student accommodation right in front of it. I was very curious about this place for a while because this is the best-rated bubble tea in London (based on Google reviews).

We must have visited Gonuts on a bad day because a) the entrance door was broken and was making horrifying noises every time somebody tried to open it.

b) They ran out of lids for hot tea, and we received our drinks open – that was so unusual that my brain was confused and couldn’t perceive this tea as all.

c) They messed up my order – instead of a crown tea I got a normal one.

Pepe also got a boba tea – the brown sugar milk tea. To be completely honest with you, it didn’t taste like a typical tiger milk tea, but it didn’t taste bad either.

Summary: So, overall, my experience wasn’t the best with Gonuts, but the tea definitely wasn’t bad. However, I don’t think I will come back.

Verdict: 4.5/10

Best bubble tea in London 2019

Cuppacha

Multiple locations

I have a love-hate relationship with Cuppacha. Once I got a terrible drink from there – something I couldn’t drink at all, and it had something to do with lychee. I was really upset and tagged them in the stories – they never replied anything. However, a couple of months later they messaged me on Instagram and invited to nominate them as a best “sweet treat” in some competition. LOL

However, for the sake of this post, I decided to give Cuppacha another try. And you know what, it wasn’t bad. This time, I opted for a classic milk tea with tapioca and jelly in warm with no sugar.

My verdict: It was a good tea, and I guess if you stick to basics, you can buy your tea in Cuppacha. Don’t ever ask for that lychee thing though if you don’t want to throw your drink away after one sip. 4/10

Biju Bubble Tea

Biju positions itself as fresh bubble tea that uses organic milk instead of traditional powder milk that we are used to seeing in bubble teas. I went to the store in Westfield Shepherd Bush, and I would like to share with you my opinion.

My verdict: I asked for a Roiboos milk tea with jelly and well… Apart from the jelly, it was no different from the tea from Pret for 1/2 the price (I paid £5). It didn’t take like a bubble tea AT ALL, but it wasn’t bad. However, if you want just a regular tea, head to Costa, Pret or Starbucks that does nice Teavana tea latte with Roiboos and save some pounds. 4/10 (all the 4 points for the organic milk).

Best bubble tea in London 2019

Bubbleology

And the last, but not least of the bubble tea shops in London is Bubbleology. At some point, there was a bubbleology around every corner. Bubbleology also has nothing to do with a traditional Taiwanese bubble tea, and in the queue, you will mostly see locals or tourists. And that’s for a reason. All the tastes are adapted for Europe, and it’s just not an authentic Taiwanese bubble tea at all.

However, at some point, I really liked the coconut milk tea, however, I could only get it right in about 30% of the cases – I was asking no sugar or 10% sugar, but always ended up with AT LEAST 100% sugar in it, as the store assistants just simply disregarded what I asked for.

Bubbleology has some problems with the service – once a store assistant was really rude to us for no reason and refused to sell us tea even though it was 35 minutes before the store was supposed to close. He said that he already cleaned all the store and won’t do it again just to serve us a tea. No comments.

Summary: overall, I had hits and misses in Bubbleology – I’ve tried bubble tea from different Bubbleology stores (South Kensington, Angel, Tottenham Court Road (now closed), Soho and more) and I liked my order in 40% of the cases. 4/10.

Best bubble tea in London 2019

Summary of the best boba teas in London

I hope you found this post useful and now made your mind, which bubble tea in London to try next! If you were looking for Tiger Milk (Brown Sugar) Tea in London, I told you about four places that serve it, but I’m sure, more places will start serving it, as it became pretty popular!

As I mentioned before, the top 5 boba tea cafes in London have something unique and special. If you’re into not very sugary drinks as well as juices and smoothies, I recommend trying Coco. If you love a unique sweet treat that tastes like a cake, head to Machi Machi! For the best tapioca pearls of your life head to Xing Fu Tang (and also for the most Instagram-worthy bubble tea) and the best brown sugar milk is in The Alley!

Share your favourite bubble tea places in London in the comments below!

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Chris

Monday 10th of October 2022

Lucky bubble is the best

ania

Wednesday 24th of July 2019

We tried bubble tea in Taiwan and loved it, my girls were crazy about it

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