Thai-style bubble tea.
Thai-style bubble tea.
Liz Kellermeyer

Sugar High: Lollicup boba tea

Okay, so maybe the weather's not cooperating at this very second, but remember earlier in the week when we had that glorious glimpse of spring? That right there was reason enough to get our minds in gear for cool drinks to sip in warm weather.

We always welcome a delicious milkshake, but sometimes we need something lighter with a bit of a caffeinated kick. That's when we make a special trip to track down a cup of sweet boba tea. We like it cold and creamy with a bottom layer of fat tapioca pearls that we can suck up through an oversize straw. Several boba spots have popped up over the years, but Lollicup, the first place we ever tried boba, will always hold a place in our hearts.

They have an extended drink menu, with selections of tea, slush or snow available in a catalog of flavors. The tea is your standard liquid drink, the slush an icy mixture, and the snow a creamy icy mixture with milk, soy milk, or a non-dairy cream. You'll be asked if you'd like boba added. Of course you do.

We were interested in the snow, but the Lollicup employee working the counter let us know that, in order to maintain the correct texture for the thicker drink, the tea flavors come from syrups rather than brews. "You won't get that rounded, chocolate flavor that you get from the regular tea," he warned. Far be it from us to sacrifice a rounded chocolate flavor, so we stuck with the basics and ordered a Thai ice tea with non-dairy cream and boba.

Once the tea ingredients are layered with ice in the cup, it gets passed through a machine that adds an airtight plastic lid. It's then shaken (some people maintain that the froth created during the shaking is where the "bubble" in "bubble tea" comes from) and pierced with a wide, pointed straw. The drink, bright orange in color, is sweet and creamy with the promised slight bitter bite of real brewed tea. The black bobas, silky on the outside with a chewy center that's neither gooey nor gummy, are easily sucked through the straw.

The presence of the tapioca helps slow down a drink that might normally be pounded. It's a little bit beverage, a little bit snack and the perfect treat to sip on a warm day. But, in the case we get a bit more of this springtime snow, it's good to know you can always order the drinks hot. Iced boba tea, small: $3.14

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