If there's one thing that Hongkongers love drinking, it's bubble tea. And it's not just your run-of-the-mill cha chaan teng milk tea either. Thanks to the myriad of bubble tea shops that have popped up all over town in recent years, we get to enjoy every flavour and mixture imaginable. With that said, trying to find your favourite go-to beverage can be a pretty overwhelming experience. So, we're here to make things easier by sorting the great from the good. Here are some of the best places to get your bubble tea fix.
RECOMMENDED: Still confused? Follow our ultimate guide to ordering and customising your own bubble tea.
Hong Kong’s best bubble tea
Long queues are a common sight at Charles Tea Bar thanks to specialty drinks like milk tea with white pearls and oolong tea with sea salt. Unlike other teashops, Charles Tea Bar uses cold brewing methods for all their teas, which results in flavours that are sweeter, softer, and less bitter. Bonus points for no added sugar in the boba, too.
Local tea shop Cupfy (a play on 'cup-free') is all about being healthy and environmentally friendly. Their slogan 'Less sugar, more sweetness" means that all of their drinks are low in sugar – with some even suitable for vegans – and uses raw cane sugar as well as sugar-free maltitol as sweeteners. Cupfy serves all of their drinks in glasses instead of disposable plastic ones that most shops use and encourages customers to bring their own cup to take their teas on-the-go.
For a taste of traditional Taiwanese bubble tea, head down to Chun Shui Tang Culture Tea House. Brought to Hong Kong by the self-claimed original creators of bubble tea, the shop has an overwhelming selection of Taiwanese teas and snacks to choose from. The quality of the tea does not disappoint either, featuring only tea leaves and sugar cane imported from the owners' farms in Taiwan. Every beverage is handled with care. You can really taste the difference.
With more than 130 years of history in Hong Kong, local tea house Ying Kee is keeping up with the times by launching their first concept store, iTea, in Tsim Sha Tsui. The big hook here is its Nitro-infused beverage, which gives the drink extra smoothness to it, mixed in with Ying Kee’s signature tea brews like pu'er and oolong tea.
The attention to detail is what makes Jen Ju Dan appealing to bubble tea lovers. If you’re particular about the pearls in your drink, you'll be happy to know that Jen Ju Dan is renowned for the meticulous cooking process of its pearls. Soaked and cooked in brown sugar, each chewy little ball acts as a natural sweetener to the drinks. Crowd favourites include the fresh milk with brown sugar and pudding, the oolong latte, the Thai milk tea, and the honey lemon chrysanthemum tea.
Those who prefer their bubble tea milky should make a beeline for Milksha. The beverages here are served with fresh milk procured from Milksha's own pastures in Taiwan. One downside is that the portions here aren’t too large – cups are about the size of your palm – but the flavours more than make up for it. We recommend going for the taro milk tea, pu'er bubble milk tea, and the brown sugar milk tea.
The bold-coloured tea served here is what sets Tea Brush apart from most Taiwanese tea shops. Using only high-quality ingredients, such as matcha rice tea leaves from Shiga Prefecture in Japan, purple yams from Okinawa, Japanese black sesame seeds, and oolong tea from Fujian, just to name a few. The menu is divided into four different categories – ink (tea marbleised with sesame or brown sugar), tea, milk, and fruit. There’s also an extensive list of teas to choose from and other healthy beverages to keep you satisfied.
Despite having been in the bubble tea scene for a while, Ten Ren’s Tea has not lost its charm and popularity with locals. Why? Because Ten Ren has a huge variety of tea-based beverages to choose from, without sacrificing its original tea flavours. Signatures like the 913 King’s oolong tea, pu’er tea latte, orange green tea, and bubble green milk tea are a safe bet if you don't know what to have, but be sure to leave room for their tea-flavoured ice creams, too.
Brown sugar milk tea isn't just a Jen Ju Dan specialty. Patrons also swear by the quality of this drink at Xing Fu Tang. Founded in 2018, Xing Fu Tang first gained fame thanks to a well-publicised disagreement over ownership, but the secret family recipe for brown sugar has kept the bubble tea purveyors a crowd favourite in Hong Kong. In addition to the brown sugar mixture, a dusting of caramelised brown sugar is also sprinkled on top to add more texture and flavour.