The 15 Best Bubble Tea Cafes In NYC

Bubble tea, also known as boba, is popping up all over New York City. Distinguished by its chewy, translucent bubbles, usually made from tapioca starch steeped in sweet syrup, there's nothing quite like it. You'll find a huge range of flavors to choose from at most establishments, from classic brown sugar boba to fruit and floral-flavored teas. Whether you're checking out tiny local cafes or international chains, there are loads of cool boba shops to try in the city. But when it's hot outside, you don't need to break a sweat hunting down the best bubble tea spots — you need to know which ones are worth your time.

Whether you're a long-time fan of this refreshing drink or have never sampled bubble tea before, we've got you covered. We've rounded up some of the best bubble tea cafes in New York to try. Sample one, or two, or head off on a bubble tea crawl to pick your own favorites — either way, your boba craving will definitely be satisfied.

1. Boba Guys

Boba Guys originated in San Francisco and now has three NYC locations at Penn Plaza, Soho, and Nolita. Known for making bubble tea high-end, the brand prides itself on using organic milk from Battenkill Valley Creamery and house-made cane sugar syrups in all its drinks. They also use real tea leaves and dairy alternatives from Califia and Oatly.

The minimalist interior of Boba Guys' cafes makes them the perfect place to chill on hot summer days. As you grab a refreshing drink from their globally inspired menu, which is packed with a huge range of flavors, you'll feel the stress start to seep from your bones. Join the (often long) queue, or skip ahead by placing your order online. In addition to the core menu, Boba Guys adds seasonal beverages throughout the year, like the mango macha latte, made with house-made mango puree, or the coloful pastel paradise cloud, which boasts strawberry and lychee. Specialty teas include the Korean banana milk with house-made banana jam, and the horchata, rich with cinnamon, sugar, rice milk, and almond milk. 

Just how good are their offerings? One TripAdvisor reviewer called the boba from Boba Guys "the best bubble tea in the world." Another reviewer recommended the strawberry matcha boba, which is distinguished by its authentic strawberry flavor. Bottom line: This is good boba.

2. MTea

If your ideal bubble tea café needs an Instagram-worthy interior, MTea ticks that box. With its floor-to-ceiling pastel pink décor, plush padded seating, and gold-accented tables with light-up tabletops, entering MTea's Flushing or Long Island City cafes feels like being inside a giant marshmallow — in a good way.

Speaking of Instagram, the drinks here are picture-perfect too, with a classic milk tea menu that includes milk tea with taro balls and herbal jelly, red bean milk tea, and brown sugar boba milk tea. One Yelp reviewer recommended the hot version of the crème brulee tea, which is indeed delicious. You can also get this drink cold and in various flavors, including brulee Oreo tea and brulee matcha tea.

You'll pay a little more for your beverage here than at some other bubble tea cafes on our list. Why not treat yourself to one of MTea's delicious desserts while you're at it, to really savor the experience? Don't forget to snap a few pics to capture the cafe's gorgeous aesthetic before tucking in.

3. Teado Tea Shop

Those who prefer their bubble tea with strong tea flavor and less sugar should head for Teado Tea Shop in Chinatown. Here, it's easy to customize your tea's strength and sweetness. They'll even serve you a sample first so you can try before you buy.

The only issue you'll have at Teado is choosing which bubble tea to get from its huge menu of flavors and range of toppings. Treat yourself to some heavenly rose milk tea, earl grey milk tea, or a refreshing Japanese matcha green tea. Alongside your beverage, you can also order from a selection of sweet and savory snacks. Notably, Teado sells delicious onigiri (rice balls wrapped in seaweed). These come in various flavors such as masago (fish roe), crab, eel, and Japanese sausage. If you don't fancy a savory snack, there's also a selection of snacks from Hong Kong and Taiwan, including milk toasts.

4. Biao Sugar

Biao Sugar is a Chinese bubble tea chain with a cool quirk: Your drinks are handed to you through the mouth of a gold tiger. Both NYC locations offer an extensive menu of bubble teas, all made with fresh organic ingredients. As one Yelp reviewer put it, "This might just be the best bubble tea place I've tried and it's solely due to their brown sugar boba milk tea." Though it's by far the most popular menu item, people also come here for the unique containers the beverages are served in, such as the Devil's Egg and Angel's Egg, which you can take home with you. As a bonus, the egg is reusable, and you'll get a discount if you bring it back for future refills.

Many drinks on the menu are definitely on the sweeter side, compared to other bubble tea cafes. Those with a sweet tooth will certainly enjoy them, especially since you can also top Biao Sugar's teas with pudding or foam. Don't fancy the brown sugar boba milk tea? Why not try the creamy matcha jasmine latte with whipped cream and pecans, or the refreshingly zingy grapefruit green tea? Every single option is a good one.

5. Xing Fu Tang

Renowned for their hand-crafted brown sugar boba, Taiwanese chain Xing Fu Tang now has three NYC locations in Flushing, St. Marks, and Hudson Yards. The brand proudly uses organic, whole, natural ingredients, so you won't find any artificial preservatives or syrups here. The first thing to notice as you enter any of Xing Fu Tang's cafes is their open kitchen. Here, you can watch fresh boba pearls being made by hand and cooked to order for your drink. 

Their signature brown sugar boba milk does not disappoint. You could also opt for a seasonal drink like the mango boba milk with handcrafted mango boba and blended mango slush, or the melon boba milk with hand-made strawberry boba and honeydew flavored ice cream. By far the most Instagram-worthy drink on Xing Fu Tang's menu is the gold foil boba milk — yes, you read that right. This creation is topped with a shimmering layer of real 24-karat gold leaf.

One Yelp reviewer praised the boba's freshness and texture, saying, "The boba is made super fresh right in front of you and it has the perfect chewy (but not too much) texture." Another reviewer recommended the milk tea soft serve. It's all delicious, fresh, and natural.

6. Gong Cha

Founded in 2006, Taiwan's Gong Cha is now one of the world's largest bubble tea chains, with dozens of locations across almost every NYC borough. Gong Cha, which literally means "tribute tea for the emperor," sources its tea from Taiwan's finest tea estates. Fresh tea is brewed every four hours and paired with the highest quality ingredients, including fresh tapioca pearls prepared throughout the day. Gong Cha is also renowned worldwide for its signature whipped milk foam, which is the perfect blend of sweet, savory, and creamy.

Depending on which location you visit, Gong Cha can get pretty busy, but you can skip the line by ordering ahead on the app. You can also customize how sweet you'd like your beverage, as well as how much ice you'd like. The house specialty here is the milk foam green tea, but other popular drinks include the earl grey milk tea with pearls, pudding, and herbal jelly.

7. Tea and Milk

Voted Best Bubble Tea of 2023 by Boast NYC, Tea and Milk has two NYC locations in Chelsea Market and Astoria. Beverages here are made with real tea, fresh fruit purees, fresh taro, and other high quality ingredients. Together, they combine to create your perfect drink.

As well as boba, Tea and Milk sells cold brew, Vietnamese coffee, delicious banh mi, and cookies. Their take-home boba kits make a great gift and include everything you need to whip up delicious boba at home. Tea and Milk's extensive menu includes seasonal flavors like masala chai and strawberry hibiscus, plus classics like their signature taro root milk tea, made with freshly prepared real taro. You'll find a number of unusual drinks with intriguing twists on the menu, like their brown sugar Thai milk tea. This is usually made with condensed milk, but Tea and Milk's version uses homemade cream or oat milk. This emphasis on quality ingredients that aren't always what you expect makes Tea and Milk a must-try.

8. Lazy Sundaes

Lazy Sundaes, which opened in 2020, is inspired by its founders' memories of beloved childhood treats. Now boasting three NYC locations, Lazy Sundaes is known not only for its boba, but also for its bingsoo, a traditional Korean shaved ice dessert with various toppings. Lazy Sundaes makes its bingsoo with creamy oat milk, which makes it a great choice for those looking to avoid dairy.

Signature drinks here include the isaphan rose milk tea with raspberry puree and lychee jelly, the yuja-ade with yuja citrus marmalade, and the cereal injeolmi latte, flavored with sweet Korean rice cakes. You'll also find matcha and hojicha (a Japanese green tea that's roasted for a sweet, smoky flavor) on the menu, along with various toppings, like chia seeds and coconut jelly.

It's easy to customize how sweet you'd like your drink at Lazy Sundaes, as well as how much ice you'd like. Online reviewers have offered particular praise for their hojicha latte, soft boba, and deliciously floral jasmine milk tea.

9. Tiger Sugar

Established in Taichung, Taiwan in 2017, Tiger Sugar has eight NYC locations where you can speed up your order by placing it at the in-store kiosk. Winner of several Brussels International Taste Institute awards, the brand takes its name from the "tiger stripes" of hand-poured syrups added to every drink.

Tiger Sugar prepares all its syrup and tapioca pearls fresh and from scratch, cooking them for eight hours. Beverages here are a bit sweeter than some other boba cafes, so if you've got a sweet tooth, prepare to be delighted. From the extensive menu of drinks, Yelp reviewers recommend the matcha black sugar boba milk tea and the brown sugar boba and pearl milk with cream mousse. You can also choose from various toppings and non-dairy options. Their soft, chewy boba pearls have earned them particular praise, as well as their unique flavors. As one Yelp reviewer commented, "I am now obsessed with their new pudding milk tea."

10. YiFang Taiwan

The story goes that YiFang Taiwan Fruit Tea was inspired by Yoshiko, the founder's grandmother, who used overripe pineapples to make her own pineapple jam. She mixed this fruit jam with water to make a refreshing drink that kept her husband cool as he worked on their pineapple farm during the long, hot summers. Today, YiFang is a global chain, with eight NYC locations. The brand imports most of its ingredients from Taiwan and prides itself on using locally sourced organic milk and fresh fruit. It also boils and makes its own fruit jam from scratch, just as the founder's grandmother once did.

It's easy to customize your bubble tea order to your desired sweetness and ice-to-tea ratio at YiFang. Signature beverages include the brown sugar pearl latte, the grass jelly tea, and the longan and jujube tea (only available in the winter months). Online reviewers praise the seasonal special mango pomelo sago with particular enthusiasm. Another reviewer commented, "Their signature bubble tea is sooo good. Love their mini tapioca." 

11. Möge Tee

Möge Tee began in China in 2012 and is now a global brand, with 20 NYC locations. The brand uses the highest quality loose tea in all its beverages, as well as fresh fruit and dairy, with no powders or artificial preservatives or flavorings.

One of the more unusual items on the menu is the cheese foam tea, which is topped with sweet and salty foam you'll soon find irresistable. Other popular drinks include the crème brulee milk tea and a range of coconut slushies. You can also avoid queueing by pre-ordering your drinks on the app.

At Möge Tee, you can customize your drink's sugar levels to suit your tastes. Staff is also on hand to help recommend drinks and sugar levels. One Yelp reviewer mentioned the uji matcha latte's strong flavors, saying, "[its] creaminess and sweetness was just perfect." Other reviewers praise the cheese foam as mild, sweet, and wonderfully textured.

12. Vivi Bubble Tea

When you step into one of Vivi Bubble Tea's many cute (and incredibly pink) locations, you're immediately dazzled by its huge menu of beverages, plus Japanese street food like popcorn chicken and pork chops. Launched in 2007, Vivi Bubble Tea is now a popular chain serving both dairy and non-dairy milk teas, slushies, fruit teas, and other drinks.

Here, you can customize your sugar and ice levels and choose from a selection of toppings such as tea jelly, herbal jelly, oat groats, aloe, pudding, and strawberry or mango popping boba. Popular drinks include the flaming brown sugar tapioca and the crème brulee taro milk tea. Online reviewers are full of kind words for these rich drinks and their quality toppings, singling out the crème brulee taro milk tea, coffee jelly bubble milk tea, and peach aloe fruit tea for particular praise.

13. Kung Fu Tea

Kung Fu Tea is America's largest bubble tea brand, founded in 2010 in Queens. It came about when three entrepreneurs found themselves disappointed by the mediocre bubble tea served in cafes across NYC. The beverages simply didn't taste anything like the boba they had enjoyed in Taiwan. Opening Kung Fu Tea changed that forever. The chain has over 350 locations across the U.S., including more than 30 in NYC.

The brand brews its beverages using the "3T" process: Selecting the very best tea leaves, ensuring the tea is brewed at the correct temperature, and steeping the tea for the appropriate amount of time. Thirsty patrons can choose from a range of dairy-free options and customize the sugar, ice, and toppings of their drinks. Bestselling brews here include the Kung Fu milk tea with earl grey tea, winter melon milk tea with jasmine green tea, and the cocoa cream "wow" with a slightly salted milk cap. Their "milk strike" range includes freshly cooked tapioca bubbles and lactose-free Lactaid milk. As one reviewer on Yelp said, "You can never go wrong with Kung Fu Tea."

14. The Teapsy

The Teapsy in Astoria is the perfect place to try some more unusual beverages. Mentioned by TimeOut as one of the 10 best bubble tea cafes in NYC circa 2019, Teapsy doesn't just sell tea — it also serves Pocky and mochi in various flavors to accompany your drink.

The "Frapputeano" menu includes delights like the Thai ice tea Frapputeano — made with freshly brewed imported Thai red tea, real cane sugar, and tres leches cream — and the best-selling coconut strawberry Frapputeano. If you're more conventional in your boba tastes, you're not out of luck — they also offer classic brown sugar boba milk tea.

The Tea From Around The World menu is a particular highlight: It features beverages such as calamansi iced milk tea from the Philippines,  bursting with calamansi (a sort of mini lime) puree. You might also try oolong green tea, English earl grey milk tea, and the aforementioned tres leches cream. Ordering online and getting delivery is a breeze, and gift cards are on offer as well. Online reviewers praise their brown sugar boba Frapputeano, lychee tea, and rose sakura tea. 

15. l'Milky

Taiwanese chain I'Milky opened in 2018, and currently has three NYC cafes in Midtown, Chinatown, and Williamsburg. The brand prides itself on using no artificial ingredients or flavors in its beverages, which boast premium tea, fresh fruit, cane sugar, and farm-fresh milk or dairy alternatives.

The expansive menu includes classics like brown sugar bubble milk tea, red bean milk tea, and grass jelly milk tea. I'Milky also offers a wide selection of seasonal drinks like the peach sunset and matcha slush. You'll also find plenty of fruit teas to choose from, and a range of soy and oat milk teas. Alongside your drink, you can enjoy rice balls with various fillings, such as fried chicken, spicy pork belly kimchi, shrimp, eel, and seaweed. You might also choose a bento box with shrimp, fried chicken, or eel. Online reviewers praise the rice balls as an especially good light lunch.

While I'Milky's offerings do run a little pricier than other brands, their high level of quality justifies this. As one Yelp reviewer put it, "[Their tea is] really, really authentic and nice, it is not any cheap joke made with powder/sweetener and multiple pumps of syrup." Others single out the taro milk tea — made with real taro — as especially delicious.