Boba bonanza

Bubble Tea is back! This time the Taiwanese iced concoction is offered by genuine bubble-tea shops catering to a crowd of young consumers in the know, thirsty for the ‘real thing’.

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Photo by Metallica White

Remember bubble tea – the Taiwanese iced concoction that enjoyed a short and tacky hype in Berlin a few years ago? It’s back! – this time with genuine bubble-tea shops catering to a crowd of young consumers in the know, thirsty for the ‘real thing’. Named after the 9-year-old daughter of Vietnamese founders Tung Nguyen and Sim Tran, An’s Tea House opened in December 2018. Nothing ashy or tacky at this rather unspectacular albeit friendly Torstraße café, just a chill little hang-out patronised by Asians and an ever-growing crowd of Berlin teenagers, whose taste for tapioca pearls and syrupy teas seems to have developed alongside manga and K-pop’s popularity. Trained in Taiwan at one of the largest tea beverage companies in China, Ding Tea, the couple use fresh ingredients, like real milk (the old-school variety uses milk powder) and the usual selection of fruit syrups, tapioca pearls and/or chewy Aloe or lychee bits to add on to your choice of black/green/jasmine/matcha/oolong/peach tea. Make your own, or opt for one of their signature brews like the Brown Sugar Bubble Milk (€3.50/€3.90, black tea and tapioca) or the Mango Cream Cheese (€4.20, green tea, fresh mango and whipped cream). But the latest, coolest cat on the block, is definitely the stylish Pao Pao Modern Tea which opened last month a stone’s throw away from Berlin’s staple bubble tea house ComeBuy to queues of young enthusiasts. Owners TD, Nam and Mimi are three twentysomething Berliners with Vietnamese roots, who trained in the art of bubble-tea making in Hanoi. At their hip boba sanctuary with pink-black interior and waving lucky cats they sell some unique creations, like Cheezo (€4/4.5) – a tea with a salty-sweet cream cheese topping, or the popular Purple Moon Litchi (€3.70/€4.20, aloe, tapioca, basil seeds) whose gradient lilac haze – the chemical result of Butterfly Pea Tea and warm water! – is the Instagrammer’s dream.

An’s Tea House, Torstr. 41, Mitte, Mon-Fri 12-20, Sat 12-21, Sun 13-19

Pao Pao Modern Tea, Rosenthaler Str. 66, Mitte, Fri-Sat 13-22, Thu & Sun 13-21