CORRECTION: The first photo in the slideshow previously stated the wrong location the photo was taken, this has been corrected to reflect the correct location.
By Alondra Montez-Martinez & John Michael Guerrero
While coffee is an essential part of students’ morning routine, boba has now become a staple in students’ late night study sessions. We visited five boba shops in Riverside to find the perfect spot for a late study session and taste-tea boba.
Krak Boba cafe, our first stop, is the closest location to Riverside City College.
Here we tried the dragon slayer boba and the brown sugar milk tea. The dragon slayer has a layer of dragon fruit and mango that is separated by a thick layer of a lychee blend. The bits of fruit did throw it off a bit, however the drink was still enjoyable.
The brown sugar milk tea tasted very similar to a latte but with a hint of black tea and the added element of smooth tapioca balls.
While it was a little hard to find, the next spot was Ding Tea on University Ave.
Something particularly unique about this location was the usage of golden boba, which can add some sweetness to any order.
Here the drink to try is their peach tea boba. The drink is extremely peachy and packed with ice. The brown sugar milk tea at this location was very bland and forgettable. The boba pearls are slightly tangy which is a nice element to all of the beverages.
Boba Cafe, a very popular place in University Village, was the next stop. Alongside serving custom drinks with a wide variety of boba, the cafe also served an array of foods. What really defined them is the ability for one to purchase an XXL drink.
The specialty drink we tried here is the passion fruit boba. The passion fruit is very refreshing and made for a very pleasant balance of sweet and bitter ingredients. This location’s version of the brown sugar milk tea is lackluster and extremely simple. It has the typical milky texture but lacks any other sort of character. The ice in the drinks does not affect the flavor despite the mass amounts of it.
Tim Boba is a classic that all Riverside students should know about. This location attracts the college level age demographic due to its study room style decorations. This location also stands out for its ‘reward system’ that gives back to loyal customers.
The sugar cane boba was sweet with a distinctly powerful aftertaste, but this did not affect the enjoyment of it. Mt. Evermilk was not a typical brown sugar milk tea boba. The drink is a slushie rather than a regular milk tea. The combination of warm tapioca pearls helped hold the drink together, melting it into a strong combination of sweetness. This drink is definitely aimed at those with a sweet tooth.
The last tea house we hit was Ten Ren’s Boba Cafe. It shared a similar interior layout to Boba Cafe, however this location catered to both dine-in and to-go orders. Being a midway point between RCC and UCR, they do a good job at pitching towards the college population.
When reviewing their grapefruit boba, there was a difference of opinion with one thinking it was too strong and unbalanced and the other thinking the drink was just the right amount of sweetness.
The black sugar milk tea, another twist on the brown sugar milk tea, had to be one of the most delicious drinks out of all them. The quality of the drink felt as if it was much higher than the others, with a perfect milk to tea ratio.
Overall, downtown Riverside is home to many boba shops that offer customers unique specialties and twists on fan favorites. Whether you enjoy your drink iced or blended, these spots are guaranteed to satisfy your boba appetite.