Best bubble tea in Hong Kong

Bubble tea is all the rage; it's compellingly sweet, refreshing flavour comes from the fusion of aromatic black tea and chewy boba. This tasty iced Taiwanese treat will cool you down on any scorching summer afternoon and the hot version will make you feel toasty on a dull night. Lucky for us Hongkongers, we have some of the best bubble tea shops around. With thousands of drink customisations to choose from, navigating your way to the perfect drink is tricky. Here are five of the best.

Tiger Sugar
Tiger Sugar is incredibly popular thanks to their signature brown sugar milk tea boba with cream. It’s been the talk of the town, which you’ll only understand when you witness the insane lineup. The tea is served in a plastic cup as usual, but brown syrup is smeared on the inside, creating an alluring gradient with the dark syrup and the light milk tea. As for the taste? We think it trumps regular old milk tea. The heavy dose of caramel is delicious and intensely sweet; the frothed cream mousse on top make for a full-bodied and creamy drink. The boba, however, are a little tougher than usual. At $30 per cup, there are cheaper alternatives. 36 Jardine's Bazaar, Causeway Bay, 2614 1717; facebook.com/hktigersugar

While Sharetea is perhaps the most known tea chain in the city, theirs is a rather run-of-the-mill tea. The ever-popular mango green tea with boba, is fresh and fruity, but excessively sweet. While the tea is too syrupy, Sharetea’s boba has the ideal soft yet chewy texture that compliments the tea well. Sharetea is cheap and has stores just about everywhere. For convenience and affordability, it’s worth a visit. Various locations, 2382 3373; facebook.com/shareteaHK
Flamingo Bloom
If you live in Hong Kong, chances are, you’ve heard about the chic, instagram worthy hotspot, Flamingo Bloom. Enough with the aesthetics: how do the drinks fare? Their signature, jasmine tea with strawberries and boba lives up to the hype. The tea is high quality and has a light floral taste that’s pleasantly soothing. The strawberries aren’t overpowering and give the Jasmine tea a subtly sweet yet tart edge. Best of all is the boba themselves; exclusive to Flamingo Bloom the boba is made with some sort of special sugar (we are guessing its Okinawa black sugar) giving them a lovely caramel aftertaste. G/F, Shop B, World Trust Tower, 50 Stanley Street, Central, 5177 8255; flamingo-bloom.com

Tenren's Tea
The most traditional of the bunch, Tenren's Tea serves a variety of teas brewed using Chinese tea leaves. Tenren's best asset is their use of top grade ingredients such as fresh milk and honey. Their black milk tea with boba was sapid and velvety. There’s a world of a difference in flavour in comparison to other chains. Ten Ren’s boba is honey infused and, just like Flamingo Bloom’s boba, is soft but not rubbery, which we always appreciate. Ten Ren’s drinks embrace all the aspects of the perfect bubble tea without being costly. Shop 2A, G/F, Nam Ning Street Aberdeen, 29979089; facebook.com/TenRensTeaHongKong

With only one store (in Wan Chai) you may have to travel if you want to visit CoCo. That being said it's worth the trip, CoCo serves some mean bubble tea. The famed taro milk tea with boba is thoroughly enjoyable. With a nutty essence and natural sweetness from the taro, along with the fresh milk, the drink is as indulgent as it is refreshing. The pearls are also pleasantly chewy, but unlike the other chains, the boba itself is less sweet. Considering its reasonable price point, this place is worth seeking out. 84 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai, 2528 3110; facebook.com/cocoteahk

Kristin Keough