I had my first taste of bubble tea about 8 years ago at Wing Yip and instantly became a fan. At the time, there was only one place close to home that we could get our bubble tea fix. We live near Croydon and it is currently the closest town that we can go to for bubble tea. Yes, that is still a seven mile journey but we go into town regularly. If you live in Caterham, Coulsdon or Purley here is a list below of places you should check out for bubble tea. If you go into London you are spoilt for choice, especially in Soho or Camden.
What is bubble tea?
Boba or bubble tea is essentially a tea based drink, you can get fruity or milk tea, it originated in Taiwan in the early 1980s. The drinks are served cold and used to have chewy tapioca balls (bubbles) but the popping juice balls are far more popular now. You can get loads of flavours and have toppings added such as coconut jelly and aloe vera as well as the popping fruity bubbles. Expect to pay about £4 upwards for a cup of bubble tea.
Boxpark, George Street, Croydon
Open daily from 12 noon
If you have stepped off of the train at East Croydon you will be right next to Boxpark and all of its eateries. BAO BAO is just outside Boxpark and serves up Taiwanese street style food in a quirky little cafe. You can pick up your bubble tea at a takeaway window. Here you can even choose your sweetness, how much ice you want, want toppings you'd like and there are loads of flavour combinations.
Wing Yip Bakery (Tai Pan Chinese Bakery)
544 Purley Way, Croydon
Open daily from 10.00am
As well as being a huge Chinese and Asian supermarket, Wing Yip also has a bakery opposite its restaurant. I have been visiting the bakery for years for their jelly cake (which is delicious). This is the place that I first tried Wild Monk bubble tea. They don't have a huge choice of flavours, I think there are 3 to choose from. The bakery have great savoury buns and cakes.
20 Surrey Street, Croydon
Open Monday to Saturday from 12 noon (closed Sunday)
Surrey Street market is Croydon's fruit and veg market, I have been going there since I was a child. There are lots of cafes that run along Surrey Street and Viet2Go is a little Vietnamese cafe that sells amazing food such as noodles and soup dishes as well as bubble tea. I tend to favour a fruity tea but I actually had a milk tea here and it was amazing. They are also generous with the toppings where you will get tapioca and popping bubbles. There are also plenty of flavours to choose from.
19 Surrey Street, Croydon
Open daily from 10.00am (Sunday from 11.00am)
Oree Mart is a newbie on Surrey Street and next door to Viet2Go. The shop sells goodies such as Mogu Mogu (so many flavours) mochi, dried ramen, Korean style sweets and chips and bubble tea. I was very impressed with the flavour choices here. I went for dragon fruit tea with lychee popping bubbles. You could choose your cup size, flavour, toppings and whether or not you wanted ice.
115 North End, Croydon
Open daily from 11.00am
T4 is along the main North End shopping parade in Croydon next to Halifax. I must admit I hadn't heard of this place, so I have not tried it out yet. Looking at the menu this will be one to check out next time, the classic rose milk tea sounds really good.
21 North End, Croydon
Another bubble tea shop that I didn't know about is Bubble CiTea which is in Centrale shopping centre in Croydon. They seem to have a huge choice on their menu with Taro tea, matcha and a honeydew tea. According to Google it is temporarily closed at the moment, so do check online before making a visit.