BEST MILK TEAS ON THE LEEWARD SIDE

Boba cakes, custom boba cup carry slings, 1.3 million posts on the instagram hashtag #boba – the deliciously famous Taiwanese dessert drink has become a worldwide craze and that craze has most certainly hit our little island of O’ahu. New boba shops are popping up everywhere and some with hour long lines to get the newest cup of milk tea. For those looking to enjoy milk tea without the crazy lines, let’s take a look at the Five Best Leeward Oahu milk teas!

#5 - HULA BOBA

Thai milk tea and taro coconut smoothie from Hula Boba - Leeward Oahu Milk Teas
Left: Thai milk tea with mini boba and custard | Right: Taro coconut smoothie with boba

Hula Boba, popularly known for its “Hawaii’s only self-service bubble drinks” feature, is a Yelp favorite among Kapolei milk tea lovers. Their bucket cups are unique and come in both small ($5.50) and large ($6) sizes. There are two lines on the cup – toppings up to the first line are free, over the first line is an extra 75 cents and over the second line is an extra $2.00. I know many enjoy the freedom to mix and match toppings, but I personally prefer someone behind the counter scooping my boba. The boba was not that perfect chewy texture, but they do make fresh boba throughout the day, I just happened to scoop the last bit of the container.

Self serve toppings at Hula Boba - Leeward Oahu Milk Teas
Self-serve toppings at Hula Boba Kapolei

I got a satisfyingly purple ice blended taro coconut smoothie ($5.50). PERFECT for the hot weather we’ve been having. The ice blended smoothies are dairy free, but they also offer creamy dairy smoothies like their new special, Ube Monster (sold out when I went). Other dairy free options are a vartiety of ice tea flavors ($5) and shave ice ($4.50). They have all the wonderfully familiar milk tea options, and also some fun house specials like Poi, Lavender, and Cheesecake. I’m gonna try poi next time!

Hula Boba
Various locations
Facebook page

#4 - S7 ICY BUBBLE

Icy Bubble - Leeward Oahu Milk Teas
Front: A Cai milk tea with cheese foam and boba | Back: Aloha Taro - taro puree with milk and boba

Located in the old Hula Shake store, S7 Icy Bubble is a brand sparkly new boba shop! On my first visit I tried their best seller A Cai milk tea (not to be confused with Acai) which is classic milk tea and boba topped with the wildly trending cheese foam. This was my first time trying out this boba craze, and I must say, I was impressed. The cup lids have a wide mouth opening so you can enjoy the sweet and salty magic.

I ordered Aloha Taro ($4.75), a cup of fresh taro, slow cooked daily, stirred into milk. Perfect for taro enthusiasts who appreciate real taro. They do use powdered taro for their taro milk tea. I love that they carry more than just the regular milk tea offerings, like Red Bean Pudding milk tea and Purple Fantasy – black sugar, milk tea, taro foam with boba, mac nuts, sesame and cereal ($4.75). I will definitely be back to try other drinks here!

S7 Icy Bubble
Various locations
https://www.s7icybubble.com/

#3 - TEAPRESSO

Teapresso - Leeward Oahu Milk Teas
Teapresso milk tea with boba

Walking into the Waipahu location, there is a really warm ambiance and a couple instaworthy photo ops. Teapresso sets the vibe to enjoy some delicious boba. And I must say – WOW– Milk TEA. I usually order sweet drinks like taro, brown sugar, etc.; but at Teapresso their classic Teapresso milk tea is TO DIE FOR. Rich, pure, exactly what milk tea is supposed to taste like. Many of their teas are brewed fresh to order and they are well known for their fruit tea. My only quibble with this place is the few times I’ve been, they give such little boba *sad face* I love me my boba. But I’d be willing to pay extra for a double scoop to enjoy their milk tea. So good.

Teapressso
Various locations
http://www.teapressobar.com/

#2 - INIFINITEA

Infinitea - Leeward Oahu Milk Teas
Left: Matcha Crumble with boba | Right: Taro coconut milk tea with double scoop mini boba

Since I frequent Ka Makana Ali’i weekly, Infinitea has become my regular milk tea spot. Lucky for me, it also happens to be a fantastic choice for boba lovers. Offering an extensive menu and unique signature drinks, Infinitea masters the art of drinkable dessert. One of their most popular blended drinks, “Ube in Love” combines coconut smoothie, ube ice cream, and coconut jelly. The vibrant purple ube ice cream, as well as macadamia nut or vanilla ($1.50), can be added to any of their milk teas and drinks for $2. If you’re looking for some nutrient dense goodness, they have a variety of fresh green smoothies ($7.15) or add in protein powder (75 cents) or protein shakes like peanut butter cup and almond roca.

Thai milk tea with Thai walls, Matcha Crumble (Oreo walls), and Instagram worthy “Bubbly Unicorn” (strawberry, bubble gum smoothie, ube ice cream) will satisfy any sweet tooth, but my go-to order is a large ($5.25) Taro Coconut milk tea with mini boba, light ice and regular sweetness. The coconut adds just the right sweetness and their taro powder is one of the best I’ve tried. And I’ve tried my share of taro milk tea.

Infinitea
Various locations

#1 - TASTE TEA

Tastetea - Leeward Oahu Milk Teas
Coffee milk tea with Coffee Jelly and Thai walls

Oh Taste Tea, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. But seriously, Taste Tea rocks. They easily win for the most generous servings of boba / toppings per cup. If you like your milk tea loaded with boba like I do, you gotta get a drink here. With most of the medium drinks coming in at $3.50 and all add-ins (including ice cream) only 50 cents, Taste Tea is an affordable option for frequent boba connoisseurs.

Tastetea - Leeward Oahu Milk Teas
Molten Tapioca milk

Most recently, I tried their “Molten Tapioca Milk” ($4.25) which is warm brown sugar boba in milk. WOW. It was amazing. I was worried it would be plain without tea, but the molten syrup had a depth of flavor, the perfect amount of sweetness and the boba, perfectly chewy texture. My husband got Coffee Milk Tea ($3.50) with Coffee Jelly and Thai walls. The menu has an assortment of tea lattes, blended drinks, cold brew coffee and of course, milk tea,  but it is not overwhelming with choices either. With two new locations in Waipahu and Ewa as well as their Waikele boba truck, TasteTea is easily accessible for Leeward milk tea drinkers.

Taste Tea
Various locations
Facebook Page