The Alley is an Ally for All Boba Lovers

The Alley had its grand opening on Feb.17, when the first 100 people were eligible to receive free merchandise and a half-off drink price. Since its opening, there is often a line outside the store.

Emma Haag and Krisha Konchadi

Located near Regal Cinemas in Irvine Spectrum, The Alley, a cafe that strives to spread happiness through the vivid flavors of its caffeinated drinks, just opened its seventh U.S. location.

Due to its newly-arrived popularity, we had to wait in line for about 20 minutes. However, the workers operated the line very efficiently by providing pagers for when the drinks were ready.

The first drink we tried was an iced Royal No.9 Milk Tea. Although most milk teas lack an actual tea flavor due to their overbearing sweetness, this milk tea had just the right amount of sweetness combined with the clean taste of the tea. This drink pairs perfectly with the tartness from their coconut jelly.

The second drink that we tasted was the Snow Strawberry Lulu. Their “Lulu” drinks are icey fruit-slushy type drinks, which are better for those who don’t like tea as much. The symphony of flavors from the strawberry slush and the slight salty foam topping created the perfect fruity drink. This delicious ice-blended drink not only tasted fresh, but also had an interesting textural element with chunks of chopped strawberries.

Next, the Matcha Brown Sugar consisted of matcha milk mixed with brown sugar boba at the bottom and more brown sugar syrup dripped around the cup. While some may enjoy a more bittersweet drink, we thought the tea tasted almost like hay. It was extremely grainy, and the only source of sweetness was the brown sugar boba at the bottom of the cup.

Lastly, we tried the most popular drink on the menu: the Brown Sugar Deerioca Crème Brûlée. Known for its crème brûlée chunks mixed with brown sugar boba, this drink lives up to its popularity. The maple syrup-like flavor brown sugar boba and the creaminess from the crème brûlée surprisingly did not overpower the drink. One downside was after drinking it for more than 10 minutes, the syrupy sweetness became a little sickly.

Even though most drinks were between $5-6, a couple dollars above classic stores like Lollicup and 7Leaves, the quality of the boba and drinks make up for it. One thing we noticed was that they do not pack their drinks with ice, which allows for a higher quantity and prevents watered-down drinks, but also keeps the iced drinks from staying cold for long.

In the end, The Alley is up there with the quality boba stores in Irvine, and we highly recommend you try it out if you are at the Spectrum with a craving for a refreshing drink.