Staff Reporter

Chances are that if you drink bubble tea, you do not just like it- you love it. Regardless of where you are, you can find unique and delicious bubble tea almost anywhere.

In this review, I will be crowning the top bubble tea shop out of the five that I visited near the Gleneagle area. This will be based on the quality of the bubble teas and the features that make the it stand out from its competitors.

Xing Fu Tang: 1180 Pinetree Way ($5.50 – $8.00) According to Yelp, Xing Fu Tang is the best bubble tea store in Coquitlam. It is a global franchise from Taiwan, that is known for their original brown sugar pearls.

During my visit, I tried their signature Brown Sugar Milk Tea. I found the combination of the milk and brown sugar pearls to be too rich and creamy for my liking. The way the brown sugar reacted to the milk made the beverage taste more like a milkshake rather than a bubble tea.

For this being one of their flagship drinks, I am not sure if it is different enough to set it aside from its competitors.

Ninja Bubble Tea: 2972 Glen Drive ($3.50 – $7.50)

Ninja Bubble Tea sells various bubble teas, and offers savory foods such as Japadog hot dogs and Asian-styled fries. The Coquitlam location is modern, sleek, and, as an added bonus, they have board games.

I would describe the Ninja Milk Tea to be milkier than average, but still within balance. The problem was that although I liked the taste of tea, there was a severe lack of body to it.

I also thought the drink could be sweeter, something I thought I would never say because I have adapted 100% sugar as my default.

The best part of the bubble tea was the pearls, they had a sweet coating that lingered in my mouth.

Ninja Bubble Tea demonstrated that it had the elements for a much better drink. Thus, I am still willing to give it another go in the future.

Sharetea: 435 North Road ($4.00 – $7.00)

Sharetea is an international chain store that serves fruit teas, brewed teas, milk teas, ice blended and fresh milk drinks.

The tea is carefully grown and picked in Taiwan and then transported globally. I was slightly amused because I wondered how fresh could it actually remain. To my surprise, I ordered the Taro Milk Tea and I really enjoyed it.

The tea was fresh and had an organic depth to the flavour, reminding me of traditional-styled Chinese teas.

The taro flavour was pleasant and genuine in taste. The consistency was silky smooth, the way I like it. The pearls were very supple and soft, though I would have personally preferred more bounce.

Gong Cha: 1175 Johnson Street ($3.50 – $6.00)

Gong Cha specializes in teas, coffees and juices. They serve everything from bubble teas to bubble waffles and more.

I had the Brown Sugar Oolong Milk Tea, and despite this drink being one of their specialties, it was not anything extraordinary. There was only faint taste of oolong though it tasted synthetic.

As expected, the drink tasted like what it was very likely made of – an artificial blend of tea powder, creamer and water. The pearls were substandard, being undercooked and stale.

I was unimpressed with my bubble tea experience at Gong Cha and would not consider going back.

Yi Fang: 1161 The High Street ($5.00 – $7.50)

Yi Fang is an old fashioned Taiwanese bubble tea house located only minutes from Gleneagle. My first impression of the store reminded me of old-world charm with the wooden walls and patterned floors.

Looking at the menu, there were quite a few unique options such as, the Sugar Cane Mountain Tea and Multi-floral Honey Juice. I couldn’t resist picking their Salty Cream Green Tea Latte.

The tea itself was nice, fulfilling the expectations set by its fancy name. The latte was freshly made, it tasted authentic and had a woody depth to it.

The flavour of the drink was intense which was nicely matched by a strong undercurrent of tea. The pearls were unmistakably fresh and had a unique, light bounce to them, being less chewy and gummy than your typical pearl which is quite dense.

All in all, Yi Fang produces drinks where the tea is allowed to take the main stage and shines in doing so.

After visiting five bubble tea stores in the Gleneagle area, the crown goes to Yi Fang because their extensive menu has something for everyone. Yi Fang out shined its opponents by defining exceptional bubble tea, therefore, it is very much my cup of tea.