Pop pearls or tapioca? Slushies or tea? Fruity or sweet? With the diverse selection bubble tea offers, first-time, casual and avid tea drinkers alike will have to make tough calls, and that includes choosing the right shop. To make your decision easier, here are The Scroll’s top picks for your bubble tea cravings.
Tenn Tea — 17 S. Highland St., Memphis, TN 38111
Bigger quantities, better prices. Tenn Tea gives you more tea for your buck, but the downside is that they tend to emphasize quantity over quality. Even so, while the tapioca pearls are less fresh and less chewy than those from other shops, the taste of the tea itself is still enjoyable. My go-to flavor is the classic milk tea, always a reliable choice.
Bubble tea is a social drink; most don’t crave the flavor, but rather the experience shared with friends. That’s where proper aesthetics are required. Clean and chic, the warm lighting and modern decor add a peaceful vibe to the place, making Tenn Tea a great hangout spot. The shop does not offer dine-in at this time, but do keep the location in mind for future plans.
“I’m looking more for the experience, and at almost any bubble tea shop, you can enjoy yourself with friends,” Lily Zeng (12) said. “Especially at Tenn Tea, they have this cute corner couch and little coffee tables. They also have board games you can play with friends. That’s one of my favorite parts about Tenn Tea.”
Bubble Bang — 420 S. Germantown Parkway #103, Cordova, TN 38018
There aren’t any negatives to Bubble Bang’s drinks: they’re made with care, the taste is consistent and the tapioca is just right. However, what stands out the most about this location is its atmosphere. With cotton candy walls and cutesy decor, this pastel wonderland takes the prize for best hangout spot. Plop down on one of their comfy couches or snag a seat among the rows of chalk white tables. Though orders are currently restricted to grab-and-go, there’s nothing stopping you from taking in the atmosphere as you wait. I usually order the taro or matcha milk tea, staples in the bubble tea world.
On top of the aesthetic ambiance, the service is quick, and the workers make you feel at home.
“The owners — since it’s just two workers, husband and wife — they’re very open, and it’s very friendly. You don’t get this feeling that they’re strangers,” Jake Du (12) said.
Poke World — 1605 N. Germantown Parkway Suite 111, Cordova, TN 38016
A bubble tea shop is not complete without proper decor, and Poke World fulfills the requirements. Wooden chairs, walls and floors are illuminated by gentle lights along the ceiling, giving the shop a comfortable atmosphere. Poke World specializes not just in bubble tea, but also rolled ice cream and custom-made Poke Bowls. Customers choose their own ingredients, their selection including salmon, cilantro, mangos — you name it. Think Subway, but for a seafood salad.
As for the bubble tea, Poke World’s brown sugar milk tea is a customer favorite, and the shop boasts the best tapioca pearls, always made fresh.
“We do care about the [tapioca pearls] a lot. We make our [pearls] whenever we need it as opposed to making it before, so it’s always fresh. I might be biased, but I personally think we have the best tapioca,” Poke World employee Laura Shi (12) said.
Whether you’re looking for a refreshing drink to fulfill your cravings or just a place to relax with friends, these shops will have you covered.