Searching for the Most Tea-rrific Boba


Jordan Lee

Omomo Tea Shoppe has one of the most aesthetic interiors and instagrammable drinks, but its long lines and average boba aren’t for milk tea connoisseurs.

Quickly rising to the top of most-wanted desserts, boba has taken Irvine by a storm as a hub for socializing, de-stressing and drinking. With a wide selection of boba shops in Irvine, we chose the top five, ranking them from best to worst.

1) 7 Leaves Cafe:

Arguably most popular in Irvine, 7 Leaves Cafe lives up to its glowing comments. While the Irvine location is small, and it is difficult to find parking and seating, the tea quality is of the highest caliber. Offering a balance of sweet and salty flavors, 7 Leaves showcases tasty flavors like jasmine milk tea, sea salt coffee, matcha and strawberry hibiscus, accompanied by chewy and sweet boba. While they tend to give lots of ice and little tea, the quality here is unbeatable.

2) Class 302:

With a wide variety of teas, ranging from almond to oolong, Class 302 was one of our favorites. Since this location offers a self-serve drink bar, you’re guaranteed a drink that you’re in love with after sampling toppings and tea flavors. We got the Honey Milk Tea with traditional boba and were delighted with the fresh boba and milk tea that wasn’t too sweet.

2) Din Tai Fung:

Although it is best known for Taiwanese food, Din Tai Fung also offers a great selection of boba drinks. Our favorite is the sea cream black tea, which artfully combines salty creme with traditional sweet black tea. Despite the delicious drink selection here, you won’t be getting the full boba experience, as the restaurant is always packed with customers. However, you are able to order your drink with your meal or to-go, so if you ever crave dumplings, feel free to order tea with your food!

4) Red Straw Tea Bar:

At Redstraw we ordered a Thai Milk Tea with boba, but it unfortunately didn’t meet our expectations. Being the “new kid on the block,” we had high hopes, but the milk tea tasted watered down, and the boba itself was average, with little consistency to the chewiness. If you’re looking for traditional milk tea boba, this shop may not hit the spot.

5) OMOMO Tea Shoppe:

If you don’t want to wait over thirty minutes for boba, then skip over this review. However, if you enjoy upbeat and social vibes to pair with your drink, then OMOMO might be the place for you. Keep in mind that it seems to be packed every day and is especially busy on weekends (hint, go early). Its classy aesthetic and social media-friendly branding attract teenagers and college students. Aside from its venue, however, we found our drinks – oreo matcha crème brûlée and thai camo –  rather unsatisfactory with overwhelming sweetness and lacking impactful tea flavor.