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FOOD & DRINK

The Ten Best Bubble Tea Shops in Sydney

From mega chains and traditional Taiwanese operators to homegrown Sydney talent and all the cheese foam you could ask for.
By Marissa Ciampi
February 05, 2020
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The Ten Best Bubble Tea Shops in Sydney

From mega chains and traditional Taiwanese operators to homegrown Sydney talent and all the cheese foam you could ask for.
By Marissa Ciampi
February 05, 2020
  shares

THE TEN BEST BUBBLE TEA SHOPS IN SYDNEY

From mega chains and traditional Taiwanese operators to homegrown Sydney talent and all the cheese foam you could ask for.

It's hard to say when it started, but the bubble tea craze in Sydney has well and truly taken over. What originated as a Taiwanese sweet treat has grown into a global phenomenon, and Sydneysiders are all too happy to embrace the trend. Our deep love of tapioca balls in milky or fruity teas has taken on a force all of its own.

The ever-growing list of boba shops in our city is astounding. To help you find the best of the best, we've put together our list of the top ten bubble tea stores in Sydney. From mega chains and traditional Taiwanese operators to homegrown Sydney talent and all the cheese foam you could ask for, this list has you covered.

  • 10

    Melbourne franchise Gotcha Fresh Tea is rapidly expanding — into Sydney. It opened three CBD shops and one Parramatta outpost in 2019 alone. Gotcha’s eye-catching neon purple and pastel pink hues make it easy to spot, and it is swiftly becoming a contender for one of the city’s favourite bubble tea shops. It also stands out from the pack thanks to its teas, which are all exclusively grown and hand-picked on the Gotcha plantation in Taiwan. The extensive menu goes deeper than your average bubble tea shop, too. Milk teas come in bamboo charcoal and durian flavours, and has salted egg, cheese and tiramisu foams. A range of ‘healthy’ collagen teas are available in aloe vera and mulberry varieties, too.

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  • 9

    Haymarket is clearly not short on bubble tea joints. But when Chippendale’s Bubble Nini opened within the Maker’s Dozen food hall in mid-2019, it brought something a little different to the area. Here, the team makes fresh pearls every morning, of which there are six different flavours. Once you’ve chosen from the 50 different tea options (with punny names like Jasmine Is a Cute-Tea, It Takes Two to Mango and How Ya Bean, Matcha Happening?) you can pick your pearls: sakura, matcha, taro, brown sugar, mango peanut or strawberry. It’s a lot of decision making. If you’re looking to narrow it down, our pick is the lavender-coloured taro pearls number, A Taro-Bly Bad Name. Bubble Nini also has locations in Chippendale’s Central Park and on Sing Street in Waterloo.

    Image: Kimberley Low

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  • 8

    The Alley Lujiaoxiang sets itself apart with its ‘deerioca’ — tapioca balls made from scratch, with each batch kneaded and rolled in house. The brand also makes its own sugar cane syrup and hand-picks and roasts its tea leaves. The signature brown sugar Deerioca series is available in limited quantities each day, and comes in cocoa, matcha, milk tea and fresh milk varieties. The finished product often has an appealing marbled look as the different ingredients are layered, and is a favourite among Instagrammers. And, with six Sydney locations across the CBD, Bankstown, Cabramatta, Canley Heights and Parramatta  — plus one soon to open farther afield in Orange — it’s easier than ever to get your hands on these bobas.

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  • 7

    A Sydney original, Beau Tea began in Cabramatta and now boasts five locations across Sydney, including in Burwood, Chatswood, Kingsford and Haymarket. The tea here is brewed fresh daily and is made from a ‘secret’ recipe — and you’ll notice the difference in the taste. The brand specialises in traditional fruit and flower teas, but has continued to expand into new territory. Think purple rice yoghurt drinks, hibiscus tea punches and a coffee frappe range (topped with milk foam, of course). There are also cream lattes, cheese teas and hidden menu items to watch out for.

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  • 6

    Mega-chain Chatime started off in the bubble tea motherland — aka Taiwan — back in 2005, and, since then, has expanded to over 2000 outposts worldwide. And 120 of those are in Australia. Sydney specifically boasts 30 stores citywide, with more than 10 locations in the CBD alone. It serves up all of your usual suspects, including brown sugar pearls, matcha and oolong milk teas, plus heaps of fruity, no sugar and soy options — and they’re all done well. For true fans, there’s also a Chatime app and free ‘loyal-tea club’, which gets you perks like freebies on your birthday, points for every dollar spent, queue skipping and other members-only benefits. In a win for the environment, the chain is also aiming to eliminate all single-use plastics — including straws, cups, lids, cup seals and bags — by the end of 2020

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  • 5

    While overseas boba chains are kicking goals all over our city, there’s something to be said for a local haunt. No Fail is Sydney’s homegrown bubble tea brand. Its signature item is the brûlée pearl milk tea, which you can also add cheese foam and even a full on side of crème brûlée to. No Fail has also recently released a new yoghurt range, which changes seasonally — at the moment, there are watermelon, paw paw and strawberry yoghurt flavours to choose from. Secret menu items are on the docket here, too, and the new cups have a caricature of a pig dabbing on them. The brand has recently expanded from Haymarket to open a second outpost in Sydney’s other bubble tea mecca: Burwood. We expect more will follow.

     

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  • 4

    One of world’s biggest bubble tea chains, CoCo originated in Tamsui, Taiwan back in 1997 and now boasts over 4000 stores worldwide — across countries like Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, the UK, the US and, of course, Australia and New Zealand. Yet, despite the brand’s magnitude, each shop still serves up a quality product every time. The tea is made using fresh seasonal fruit and whole tea leaves, sourced both locally and abroad. Expect flavours like matcha, taro and salty cream, plus signature white pearl varieties. You can also add pearls to any and all flavour combinations, as well as additional toppings like aloe vera, lychee jelly and ‘cloud’ — which is a whole heap of cream floating on top. At the moment, there are 18 Sydney locations, including nine in the CBD.

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  • 3

    A more traditional-style Taiwanese bubble tea shop, Yifang hails from Taiwan and is now popular worldwide, with shops in Sydney’s Burwood, Eastwood and the CBD. It sources its tea from local farmers across 140 hectares in Mingjian, Lugu and Sun Moon Lake. Yifang also sources its fruits seasonally from Taiwan, whether its pineapples from Guanmiao, kumquat from Ilangreen or green plums from Xinyi Township. And its fresh milk comes from Tainan dairy farms — they never use milk powder or creamers here. Some of the summery flavours on the menu at the moment include kiwi, lemon grapefruit and pineapple.

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  • 2

    It’s safe to say that Song Tea aims to have a little fun. And so it’s slinging more than just milk teas — it also offers vibes aplenty. Think claw machines, a ball pit jacuzzi and millennial pink everything. Plus, all of the menu items have amusing names: Eating Fries on a Treadmill Japanese green tea, the No Money for Plastic Surgery Taiwanese oolong tea and the Single Not Cause I’m Ugly, Fine I Am brûlée milk tea. Regardless of the puns, the teas themselves are top notch, and offer something a little different from the usual — such as Thai caramel pearl and sparkling tea varieties, plus additional toppings like egg pudding and konjac.

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  • 1

    Since opening its first shop in Taiwan in 2006, Gong Cha has already grown to 1500 stores globally. And, because that’s clearly not enough, the brand also operates the first boba tea shop at sea. Gong Cha also has a cafe on a luxury cruise liner — dubbed the Majestic Princess — sails all around the world, from Alaska and Europe to Tahiti and the Panama Canal. If you’d rather get your Gong Cha fix on land, you can choose from a whopping 36 stores in Sydney, stretching from Hornsby to Mount Druitt and Miranda, and everywhere in between. It’s a big menu, so newbies should go for one of the top ten — which includes milk tea with pearls, mango and jellies, matcha red bean and milk foam green tea. Plus, more unusual items like rosella plum tea with white pearls and lemon-roasted melon with basil seeds.

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Top image: Beau Tea

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