A Bobaholic’s List in Edinburgh

Since high school, boba (or tapioca…or bubble tea..or 珍珠奶茶) has been an important part of my social life. I remember getting boba after cross country practices and going late at night to Half and Half in the SGV (San Gabriel Valley, a Chinese enclave in SoCal). Due to the price, I have actually only had boba 4 times since living here (which I am quite proud of). I’m being responsible, saving money, and reducing the amount of cancerous sugar balls in my body. That being said, I am still always down for boba.
Anyways, I thought I’d share my reviews of 4 boba spots in Edinburgh. I ordered a standard milk tea with boba at each spot to taste the differences. Here’s what I thought.

Lian Pu
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  • Pros: Boba was sweet. I asked for 50% sweetness and I could tell there was less sugar, although still sweet. There was a good tea taste from the milk tea. You can also order a whole meal from there which is really nice. I like the spicy salt and pepper chicken. It reminds me of popcorn chicken.
  • Cons: Boba was chewy, but not all the way through.

Price: £2.80+50p (for boba) = £3.20

14 Marshall Street Edinburgh EH8 9BU
Open everyday 12pm-10pm

Cha Time

IMG_7383

  • Pros: Boba was cooked in sugary goodness and ChaTime is a Taiwanese company so it’s pretty legit. The lady that made my drink gave me a lot of boba. They have pudding, grass jelly, and good flavors that I enjoy like oolong milk tea and roasted milk tea. The tea itself was good. Most importantly, they actually use tea (not powder).
  • Cons: I asked for 25-50% sweetness and it came out probably just as sweet as normal. They aren’t very fast and the time that I went, there was only one employee working who would take orders in 5′s and then make them so it took about 15 minutes from ordering to get our drink. Boba was chewy, but some pearls were not super soft.

Price: £3.20+50p (for boba) = £3.70

14 Bank St, Edinburgh EH1 2LN
Open everyday 11am-9pm

Frisky Froyo

IMG_7380

  • Pros: Boba was chewy and the shop was bright and cute. They also serve frozen yogurt here. Andrew tried their natural flavor and it was really good! It was tart and creamy…and fat free! If I come back here, it’ll be for fro-yo.
  • Cons: Tea was definitely watered down and they use powdered milk so the tea could barely be tasted. The boba didn’t have much flavor. I believe it wasn’t cooked with sugar. Also, I don’t think you can adjust the sweetness level (I admit that I forgot to ask).

Price: £3.20 (includes boba)

13 Forrest Rd, Edinburgh EH1 2QH
Open Sun-Thur 12pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-11pm

Tempo Tea Bar

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  • Pros: Boba was excellent. It was sweet and chewy. This place probably has the best boba in Edinburgh.
  • Cons: They close at 6pm. 6pm? Really?!? That’s way too early. Sadly, the tea was made with powder which results in a negative review. I asked the boba-barista (lol, I just made up a word) to make my drink with 25% sweetness, but he was unable to adjust the level of sweetness. The drink was a little too sweet for my taste. In my opinion, the tea was also a bit too milky. I wanted more tea flavor. Their regular size is also smaller than the “regular” size for most boba shops.

Price: £3.10 (includes boba) for their “regular” size, but a normal size (their “large”) would be £3.60 (includes boba)

7 E Market St, Edinburgh,  EH8 8FS
Open everyday 12pm-6pm

If I had to rank these spots, I’d probably rank Cha Time as number one with decent boba and tea. If I’m craving “popcorn chicken” with my boba, Lian Pu is definitely the spot. Tempo however, definitely has the best cooked boba.

I also wonder how milk tea and boba have changed the young adult culture in Asian communities. What is its effect on drinking and coffee? I, for example, don’t really drink alcohol or coffee, but I’m always down for a boba date. I don’t go to bars, but I’ll go get boba late at night. Also, how much money does the tea “bar” industry make off of people like me? I mean, it’s just water, sugar, and boiled starch. #bobalife

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