Searching for the best bubble tea in New York City seems like a necessity for most first time visitors, because there’s no denying that bubble tea has become a culture in its own right. As someone that lives in New York City, I consider my weekly bubble tea habit a necessity whenever temperatures hover above 50 degrees.
But I’m not the only one! Like a morning cup of coffee, bubble tea has become a part of the daily routine for many young New Yorkers. Going to class? Bubble tea. Date night? Bubble tea. Running errands? Bubble tea.
In true bubble tea aficionado fashion, I’ve conjured a list of some of the best places for bubble tea in New York City based on my personal experience. I’d be delighted if you joined me as I explore what makes these locations worthwhile and unique.
The (quick) history of bubble tea
The arrival and explosion of bubble tea in North America happened in the mid to late 2000’s and it’s no coincidence that that timeline correlates with the rise of social media. A simple search and you’ll be knee deep in colorful and jaw-dropping combinations of boba & bubble tea.
Bubble tea has come a long way from its origins in Taiwan in the 1980’s. The rise in popularity has been tangible. Bubble tea in New York City has gone from a niche consumable to the main stage. No longer hidden in pockets of the Big Apple, brick and mortar bubble tea shops can be found all over.
Best Bubble Tea in New York City
With 3, and soon to be 4 locations in and around the city, Teazzi Tea is a great launching pad to enjoying all the great bubble tea New York City has to offer.
Customization is the name of the game at this bubble tea spot, which is why so many New Yorker love it. Serving a multitude of flavor options and offering the ability to order caffeine-free, home-made tapioca pearls and to adjust sweetness levels, it’s no wonder why this is one of the most popular bubble tea spots in NYC.
Teazzi also has a variety of merchandise that allows you to rep your addiction on the runway. If you’re a bobaholic and you ain’t afraid to show it make sure to add a shirt or hat to your order.
At Teazzi I either order a Taro latte which is one of their signature drinks or a deep roast oolong latte, hard to go wrong with either.
Address (3 locations)
- 43-21 Hunter St, Queens, NY 11101
- 47 W 14th St #3, New York, NY 10011
- 135-17 38th Ave, Flushing, NY 11354
11) Gong Cha
Possibly one of the most global bubble tea brands, Gong Cha opened its first location in New York in 2014. According to their website, the name Gong Cha translates to “tribute tea for the emperor” and hell, if it’s good enough for the emperor its good enough for me!
With more than 1,650 locations in 20 countries the brand spread like wildfire for a reason. Serving some of the best bubble tea in New York City, there’s 15 locations to choose from. In fact, some might even refer to it as the Starbucks of bubble tea in New York City. No matter if I’m near home in the Upper West Side or running an errand in Brooklyn, I’m sure to find a location.
At Gong Cha I can’t recommend their strawberry matcha latte enough. If being basic is wrong then I don’t want to be right. They give you the option to customize sweetness, so it’s a great way to start your day.
This is arguably one of the most popular bubble teas in New York City and they have 15 locations of Gong Cha peppered throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey.
10) Tiger Sugar
Few brands have been able to harness the raw power social media has to offer as well as Tiger Sugar. Check out their Instagram. Seriously. Memes galore paired with mouth watering images of their teas makes it hard not make a bee-line to their sole location in New York City. Located at 197 Canal St, this is one of the best bubble teas in New York City.
Founded in 2017 in Taichung, Taiwan their meteoric rise parallels that of Crumbl Cookies. Like Crumbl, Tiger Sugar is consistently innovating and releasing new concoctions that keep their customers coming back for more. Their newest releases include “Tiger Mango Sango” and “Brown Sugar Pudding”.
As tempting as their rotation sometimes sounds I find myself ordering their bestselling Black Sugar Boba + Pearl Coffee Latte tea more often than not. And although competitors have tried to replicate it none have yet to develop the cult following that Tiger Sugar has.
Address: 197 Canal St, New York, NY 10013
9) Yaya Tea Garden
Not far from #1o on our list of bubble tea recommendations in NYC you will find the Chinatown location of Yaya Tea Garden. Lucky for us, they are not exclusive to Chinatown as they have 7 total locations sprinkled around New York City.
Yaya Tea is well suited for nipponophiles as its cartoons and snacks are a focal point of its aesthetic. They serve made-to-order Onigiri and imported Japanese treats along with their iconic bubble tea. If you grow to love Yaya Tea be sure to check out their merchandise featuring cartoons, boba, and Lunar New Year themed items.
A distinguishing characteristic of Yaya Tea is the creative names they give their innovative drinks. It’s not every day you walk up to the counter and order a “boyfriend” or a “Hulk”. When I’m in a particularly spunky mood I order a Blue Blood (strawberry, lychee and blueberry black tea).
- 51 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002
- 206 Grand St, New York, NY 10013
- 284 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010
8) CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice
CoCo is an interesting follow considering how many giveaways and discount codes they promote online. If you’re a regular consumer, CoCo offers avenues with which to get the most boba for your buck. It’s also worth adding that for the true techie they offer an app with reward programs and order ahead options.
As bubble tea in New York City becomes more popular, the competition stiffens. It’s difficult to set yourself apart and CoCo stays ahead of the curve by innovating new and exciting flavors. Their current seasonal Oreo Chocolate series fits the bill and creates an out of the norm draw to their more than 20 locations across New York and New Jersey.
- 79 Division St, New York, NY 10002
- 12 John St, New York, NY 10038
- 646 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036
Honestea located at 173 Hester Street is one of the newest bubble tea shops in New York. Founded in 2020, this pandemic baby has steadily grown in popularity and it’s not hard to see why. Their unique branding and delivery has set them apart.
It’s no question that their focus towards sourcing fresh and raw ingredients has directly translated to refreshing bubble tea. Honestea prides itself in using organic yogurts, coffee beans and teas so that we, as the consumer, can rest assured knowing we’re enjoying a drink conducive to our positive overall health ;).
Their drinks are served in clear cans and mock perfume bottles that are appealing to the eye and are sure to invoke the question “where did you get that?” as you go about your day. You’ll be happy to point them in the direction of Honestea and continue on your way enjoying your bubble tea in New York City.
Also, if you’re an early riser who gets up and at em Honestea offers $1 brown sugar milk tea for the first 100 customers every day! Although, be weary – a deal like on occasions draws lines so bear that in mind.
Address: 173 Hester St, New York, NY 10013
6) Sabi Sushi
Let’s say you’re going on a date and don’t want to hit two different locations for dinner and dessert. Sabi Sushi has you covered. They have 3 locations that can be found at the Plaza Hotel, One New York Plaza and Pennsylvania Hall at Madison Square Garden.
Offering a plethora of Asian cuisine including but not limited to sushi, dumplings, ramen and pho, you are sure to find something that will fulfill any craving. And when dinner is done order what you really came here for, a bubble tea.
Although limited in selection (Jasmine, Green Tea, Thai Tea, Mango) they make up for their lack of options in over the top flavor. Their Green Tea with Boba is my wife’s favorite and a must whenever we are nearby.
- Fifth Ave at Central Park South, New York, NY 10019
- 1 Water Street, New York, NY 10004
- 2 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10121
5) Machi Machi
Machi Machi is located in Koreatown and is a must try location for bubble tea in New York City. Founded in 2018 in Taiwan, their dedication to their craft is palpable and translates to their bubble tea. Not only is their bubble tea an enough to keep you coming back, they’ve been able to create a spot that is both welcoming and friendly.
Only a 1/2 mile walk to Bryant Park, my wife and I have made it ritual to pick up our bubble tea and soak in the ambience of New York City. I am not ashamed to admit that we have even stopped by twice in one day.
I particularly enjoy Machi Machi’s Jasmine Green Tea with fresh fruits. Also serving smoothies and lattes as well as bubble tea, Machi Machi provides beverages to fit whatever mood you’re in.
Safe to say I thoroughly enjoy their drinks. I love it so Machi!
Location: 33 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001
4) Biao Sugar
I can think of few things more exhilarating than snatching a sacred egg from the gaping jaws of a golden tiger in the heart of New York City. Luckily for you, the tiger is fake, and the egg is actually just a fancy cup filled with the sweet, sweet nectar that has come to be known as bubble tea!
Biao Sugar has become a major player in New York’s bubble tea scene due to their aesthetic prowess that has taken over Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. I mean seriously – it is nearly impossible to resist the urge to post the egg on your story. I speak from first hand experience. And that egg is worth keeping because if you bring it back you can get a discounted price on a refill!
Fortunately for us, aesthetics isn’t the only thing Biao Sugar has going for them. Their brown sugar bubble tea gives the other shops on this list a run for their money. You’ll be able to find all the regular fixins’ as well so regardless of what you’re craving Biao Sugar is sure to satisfy.
- 1271 Broadway, New York, NY 10001
- 28-17 Jackson Ave, Queens, NY 11101
3) Xing Fu Tang
Xing Fu Tang is one of my favorites because they make the boba right in front of your eyes. They implement an open kitchen concept that provides a fascinating look behind the curtain into the delicious boba they make fresh daily.
If you’re feeling particularly boujee you can order a brown sugar boba milk that comes lightly torched-creme brûlée style. You can also order a gold foil brown sugar boba that will make you feel like a New York City socialite.
My go-to at Xing Fu Tang is one of their current seasonal drinks, a Taro Boba Ube. Made with real ube, coconut milk, sago with brown and white sugar, I might shed a tear the day it’s no longer on the menu.
- 133 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
- 40-52 Main St, Queens, NY 11354
2) Raccoon Cave
One of the most amusing bubble tea shops in New York City has to be a hole in the wall (literally, a hole in the wall) located in Greenwich Village called the Raccoon Cave.
Like the name suggests, this bubble tea shop has a quirky and fun raccoon theme from start to end. You order from raccoon clerks and receive your drink from a furry raccoon paw located in a hole that has been cut out of the wall!
Raccoon cave comes to us by way of Biao Sugar so expect a similar quality and menu as the popular bubble tea shop. Whenever I visit and don’t order one of their egg encapsulated drinks, I enjoy a taro heaven.
I wonder if these raccoons are related to the chubby guy I occasionally run into in Central Park. Who would’ve known raccoons have such ethnically diverse palettes?
Local’s Tip: This bubble tea spot neighbors the famous John’s of Bleecker St., #4 on our list of 10 Epic Pizza Joints in New York City. Why not kill two birds with one stone and grab a pie?
275 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014
1) M Tea
For the lover of all things pink, M Tea in Flushings, Queens has to be like a slice of heaven. Seriously, pink walls, pink balloons, pink seating. If you’re in search of a photoshoot + something sweet, M Tea won’t disappoint. Come with friends and bring a camera. You’re bound to get fun shots in an arched phone booth, rope swings and custom hot air balloon couch.
Also serving dessert, a sweet tooth meets its match at MTea. They offer a variety of cakes and treats including one of my personal favorites, a creme brûlée mill crepe cake.
MTea is one of my first recommendations when I have friends visiting from out of town. It provides a great snack as well as a memorable experience that can be captured by snapshots of you and all your friends.
- 36-56 Main St, Flushing, NY 11354
- 23-01 41st Ave Store 1D, Queens, NY 11101
New York City Best Bubble Tea (Post Summary)
In sum, here’s the best bubble tea in New York City, let us know if we missed a place and we’ll check it out!
- 12. Teazzi
- 11. Gong Cha
- 10. Tiger Sugar
- 9. Yaya Tea Garden
- 8. CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice
- 7. Honestea
- 6. Sabi Sushi
- 5. Machi Machi
- 4. Biao Sugar
- 3. Xing Fu Tang
- 2. Raccoon Cave
- 1. M Tea
Map of the best bubble tea in NYC
Further Reading: Check out the NYC best eats section!
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