Though the chewy boba pearls are the stars at Boba Day, they aren't the only culinary highlight. Staff serve not only bubble tea, but a variety of custom-made drinks including fresh-fruit smoothies, cups of single-origin coffee, and creamy Oreo shakes. The menu also includes Asian-inspired shaved ices made with green tea mochi, fresh fruit, green tea ice cream, or red beans.
Blends Soft Serve Creations sets their frozen treats apart and puts the power of invention in the hands of the people by offering them the chance to blend individual flavors into their own new creation. Patrons can choose a base of ice cream or frozen yogurt or opt for a smoothie or fruit-juice freeze to sip through a straw. Next, they can infuse the treat with one or a combination of 30 available flavors, including watermelon, cinnamon spice, and peach, and top it off with candy and fruit mix-ins. Blends also lists its recommendations for tasty treats that have passed flavor-quality and brain-freeze-probability tests, including cake-batter ice cream topped with vanilla-wafer crumbles and sprinkles, and fruit punch with cherry and orange flavors, highlighted by cherry, strawberry, and raspberry mix-ins.
In 2008, four sisters started Bambu Desserts & Drinks as a hobby. Today, the San Jose?born brand has established a major presence in the Bay Area, and has expanded to other states including Hawaii, Nevada, and Texas. Bambu?s success can be traced to the quality of its treats, as well as its variety: the menu is packed with about 100 Asian-inspired desserts and beverages. Tapioca balls float in their milk teas, which range in flavor from lychee to coconut to jasmine, and their dessert drinks combine such intriguing ingredients as coconut, pandan jelly, longan, basil seed?which form the Bambu special. Various hot and cold coffee drinks, such as Vietnamese coffee, caf? mochas, and lattes, put a spring in guests' step?more convenient than filling your shoes with jumping beans. The staffers also concoct blended coffees and smoothies, which come in flavors including strawberry, coconut, papaya, and avocado.
Lollicup sates thirsts with a variety of tea, juice, and fruit drinks. Milk drinks include coconut, coffee, and honey milk teas, alongside caramel lattes; fruit teas include passion fruit, mango, or sour plum alongside slushes and smoothies. Customers can also enhance their drinks with fun add-ons such as boba, pudding, mango jelly, and aloe vera.
Nearly 15 years ago, Lollicup Coffee & Tea founder Alan Yu helped introduce America to a drink popular in his native Taiwan: boba milk tea (a.k.a. bubble tea), named for the chewy tapioca balls known as boba that hang suspended in the beverage. These gummy treats make the drink something of a snack, too?people slurp them up using oversize straws, chewing them between sips or collecting them in their cheek pouches.
Lollicup's specialty is milk tea flavored with almond, jasmine, coconut, or other infusions, but boba can also be added to most of Lollicup's other colorful drinks, from grapefruit green tea to watermelon juice and signature soy pudding. There's food, too: shareable morsels of fried meats and veggies, or rice plates if a well-rounded meal is in order. Thanks to word of mouth and a spot on the Food Network's Unwrapped, Lollicup has expanded to dozens of locations across the country and has outposts opening soon in Europe and the Middle East.
With almost 2,000 caf?s in 14 countries, the South Korea?based Caffebene line of coffee shops has fans. Lots of them. And it's not hard to see why. Food options range from sweet to savory, frozen to molten, and snack to full meal, while drinks span a spectrum of coffee drinks, frappes, and smoothies. The bistro offers the ultimate in multicultural mixing and matching. After a bread bowl brimming with New England clam chowder, one might opt for the caf?'s modified patbingsu, a dessert that layers green tea ice cream and red bean paste over shaved ice mixed with rich, condensed milk.