As you step foot inside of Kung Fu Tea, cheerful conversation is met with a distinguishable popping sound as customers break the seal on their tea with sharp-ended straws. The mood of the restaurant is vibrant, with College-aged students sitting at large tables playing card games. Each sips on a tea that, at a closer look, is not completely traditional to the average Starbucks goer.
What is different? Chewy balls made of tapioca congregate at the bottom of each tea. While Kung Fu Tea does offer a variety of other toppings such as red bean, pudding, herbal jelly, mung bean, nata jelly, popping bubbles, fig jelly, and aloe jelly, the tapioca bubbles are the most famous and common topping chosen.
The sensation of biting down on a tapioca bubble is satisfying and delightful, combining the taste of the tea with the sudden taste of the tapioca.
Bubble tea was invented in Taiwan, and is known as many different names. Boba and bubble tea are the two most commonly used.
First established in New York City, Kung Fu Tea “strives for authenticity, fearlessness, and quality.”
“We grew up drinking bubble tea, we know what authentic flavor is,” said Ray, co-founder on Kung Fu Tea, stated on the restaurant’s website. It has now expanded internationally, into Australia, Canada, and Vietnam.
Each member of the staff is extremely friendly, always willing to make recommendations to new customers, or even seasoned customers looking for something new.
The atmosphere of Kung Fu Tea is trendy and friendly, with information on how to order a drink projected on large screens above the cashier.
The menu offers a plethora of different teas, including but not limited to classics such as black tea, green tea, and oolong tea, the famous milk tea, and even “punch” style drinks such as strawberry lemon green tea and peach oolong tea.
Ordering is simple: first, pick a type of tea and choose from either medium or large. Second, choose a topping. I personally recommend the “bubbles” (tapioca). Next, choose the amount of sugar. Finally, choose from no ice, less ice, or regular ice.
With so many different options, almost anyone can find something they enjoy.
My personal order is straightforward: A large strawberry lemon green tea with bubbles, regular sugar, and regular ice. It is a delicious mix of sweet and sour flavors, with the added effect of the texture of tapioca. I highly recommend it to those who enjoy sweet drinks and the shaken iced tea lemonade at Starbucks.
To any first time patrons, I recommend the milk tea with bubbles. This is a boba classic, and a best seller at Kung Fu Tea.
With great staff, mood, and products, Kung Fu Tea is completely worth the trip down to the fan district.
Kung Fu Tea is located at 946 West Grace St., and is open from noon-10 p.m. daily.