Pick your tea-riffic base
Your choice of tea sets the tone for your drink, so it’s important to understand all your options. The three most popular types of tea are black (also known as red), green and oolong, with each offering a different flavour profile. While green tea is known for its grassy and subtle sweet notes, oolong delivers distinct flower and earthy notes. Black tea, on the other hand, is the boldest and strongest of them all. Lately, nontraditional fruit teas from shops like Cha Long and Yi Fang have gained notoriety as well.
While drinking tea straight-up is never a bad option – it’s often more refreshing and undoubtedly healthier – milk tea is the traditional pairing to our beloved tapioca pearls. A little known fact: most milk teas are made with non-dairy powdered creamer as opposed to fresh milk, so you’ll notice ‘fresh milk’ drinks specifically denoted on some menus. Fresh milk often results in a cleaner mouthfeel, but be prepared to pay a couple extra dollars for the quality difference.
One final tip: if you’re of the opinion that stronger is better, quite a few bubble tea shops offer the option for ‘strong tea’.