5 Delicious Tapioca Milk Tea Shops in Tokyo
What do you call that popular Taiwanese drink that’s taken the international beverage scene by storm? Boba? Bubble tea? In Japan it’s called tapioca milk tea, and it’s rapidly gaining traction with the young crowd here. Starbucks has got some serious contenders because more and more tapioca milk tea shops have been opening in the city, attracting people who can’t get enough of the chewy black balls. Find out where to get the best tapioca milk tea in Tokyo!
The Alley Lu Jiao Xiang
This might be the most fashionably packaged tapioca milk tea you’ve seen. Branding themselves “iconic in beverage aesthetic”, The Alley indeed sets an aesthetic precedent with their round-bottomed cups. It’s a new look that’s as fresh as their milk tea, which comes in elaborate flavors. Their Aurora series is a psychedelic dream of colors, mixing tea with fruity flavours to create a vivid, beautiful beverage.
Store: Omotesando, Shibuya, LUMINE Shinjuku, Ebisu, Jiyugaoka, Sanagi Shinjuku food truck
Official website: http://www.the-alley.jp/
Alfred Tea Room
It’s a millennial pink paradise in here at the prettiest tea shop in town. The girly design of both the beverages and interior draw people in for a delicious photo opportunity. Originating from Los Angeles, the popular café brought its sweet style to Japan where people are lapping up the charm. Their signature menu includes elaborate tapioca milk teas with pastel pink hues and generous scoops of ice cream. The two Tokyo branches (in Shinjuku and Aoyama) are truly making it their own with Japan-exclusive flavours, “Strawberry Dream” and “Roasted Green Hojicha and Matcha Dream”.
Adress: 1･2F, La Porte, 5-51-8, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Access: 7 minutes walk from Omotesando station / 15 minutes walk from Shibuya station
– LUMINE EST SHINJUKU
Adress: 1F, LUMINE EST Shinjuku, 3-38-1, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Access: 1 minutes walk from JR Shinjuku station east entrance
Official website: http://alfredtea.jp/
Another LA-born joint, Urth Caffe pads out its sumptuous menu with a divine lineup of tapioca milk tea—calling it “boba”, as they do in the States. The milk teas here not only come with delicious, chewy tapioca, but also have the option of lavish toppings such as fruits. You can even get your boba in ice blended form, should you want to satiate your thirst with an icy boost. Come down to Urth Caffe in Omotesando for a delicious drink while relaxing in its beautiful, airy space!
Adress: SO-CAL LINK OMOTESANDO, 4-9-8, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Access: 3 minutes walk from Omotesando station / 7 minutes walk from Meiji-jingumae station
Adress: 8-9, Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Access: 5 minutes walk from Daikanyama station west entrance
Official website: http://www.urthcaffe-japan.com/
With their stylishly designed logo, Ming Tea stands out as a “designer” brand of tapioca milk tea. Even their toppings are like an art form, with gold leaf and rose petals as just two of the many options. They’re known for their special foam, made of cream cheese and cream for just the right amount of extra sweetness. You’ll want to come here just for their beautiful, minimalistically-designed cups that would look great on anyone’s Instagram feed.
Address: 2-7-9, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Access: 7 minutes walk from Shibuya station / 10 minutes walk from Omotesando station
Opening hours: 11am to 9pm (weekdays)/12pm to 7pm (weekends and public holidays)
Official website: https://www.instagram.com/mingtea_japan/
This affordable chain is highly popular with people of all ages who’re looking for a quick fix for their milk tea cravings. Pearl Lady has been a significant figure in the tapioca milk tea scene since opening 15 years ago, become a firm favorite particularly among students. It’s hard not to be attracted to their dozens of colorful flavors, and their loyal following has seen them expand all over the country. Whether you’re looking for classic tapioca or wanting to stir things up with rainbow tapioca and fascinating new flavors, Pearl Lady will have you covered.
Official website: http://www.pearllady.jp/
Take a break from the typical lattes and Frappuccinos—have a taste of the versatility of tapioca milk tea in Tokyo’s very own shops. It’s perfect for drinking together with friends, or even just enjoying it by yourself on the go.
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