Here’s the best bubble tea in Columbus

Boba. Bubble tea. Heaven in a cup.

Whatever you call this delicious Asian drink, we just know that we love it!

Bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the 1980s, became popular throughout Asia and then came to the US via California in the 90s.

I can’t remember the first time I ever had bubble tea, but I know that it went from an occasional treat to a regular outing in 2018 while our beloved Napa was here with us from Thailand. She was a huge fan so going out for boba became one of our go-to activities.

Napa was the one who introduced me to Thai bubble tea, too. I already knew I loved sweet Thai iced tea, but adding boba to it makes it even yummier. My typical bubble tea order these days is either a Jasmine or Thai milk tea with boba.

Generally, when you order bubble tea you must decide if you want it with milk or without (we really like it with milk). Then, there’s usually a choice of different types of boba (we like the regular kind – aka tapioca pearls – but there are also popping boba and other varieties).

Often, there are different toppings, too – I’ve become a fan of milk caps recently, but those are not available everywhere.

The mouth-feel of boba is indescribable – it’s kind of like a small, round, soft gummy bear.

I once saw a meme that stated “we drink boba tea to satisfy our ancient and innate urge to slurp up tadpoles from a puddle through a reed” and that honestly sounds about right.

Z never wanted to try bubble tea at all until Napa was living with us. That’s when our kiddo discovered she loves boba, too. This isn’t that surprising as Z has long been a fan of tea; it must be from our British roots.

Anyway, thankfully we have many options for delicious bubble tea here in central Ohio, with more boba shops popping up all the time. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Bubbles Tea & Juice Co. is a Columbus staple with locations from the North Market downtown to Polaris Fashion Place mall, and most everywhere in between. They opened in 2005 and were many central Ohio residents’ first taste of boba tea.
  • Kung Fu Tea is an international chain with several Columbus locations and absolutely delicious boba. Called “the Starbucks of bubble tea” by the Washington Post, Kung Fu is definitely worth a visit if you are in Dublin or Hilliard. Their menu has so many choices it can be overwhelming but start with a Kung Fu milk tea and you can’t go wrong.
  • Hi Bubbles is new in the Polaris area, located right near the Cinemark (formerly Rave) movie theatre. Since it opened, our new favorite Tuesday activity is to grab a couple of boba teas at Hi Bubbles, then sidle over to the movie theatre for $5 Tuesdays. Can’t beat it!
  • Kitty Bubble Cafe in Clintonville is notable because of the kitties and adorable feline-themed decor, but they also serve delicious boba tea. They only have two varieties – Brown Toe Bean and Pink Toe Bean – and I highly recommend the Brown Toe Bean as that’s what turned me onto the deliciousness of adding a milk cap.

If you have tweens or teens in your life, take them out for bubble tea some time to see their faces light up. It’s a really fun thing to do with friends, too.

What’s your favorite kind of boba tea? I’d love to hear your tea tales in the comments below or over on Facebook or Instagram.

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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