The frustrating thing about Bubble tea, is that there’s simply far and away too many flavors and combinations to choose from. It can almost be whatever you imagine, which on the surface of it sounds pretty frickin cool. However, such variation (we love diversity!) in tea doesn’t lend itself to any sort of descriptive comparison. My solution? Always order the same type of Bubble tea (if it’s available). Thai tea with no bubbles or jellies is my drink of choice. Some may posit that robbing a bubble tea of bubbles and jellies, robs it of its raison d’etre. So… the pundits may have a point, but again, for the purposes of comparison (as any good chemist or alchemist will tell you) one must needs break it down into it’s simplest constituent parts.
Thai tea is a black tea, traditional with some amount of cream but with a taste altogether different from simple milk tea. Thai tea usually has an orange color and a zingy sweet taste (that usually complements Thai food well). Bubble Island‘s Thai Tea is no exception, though it’s easily the fastest prepared version I’ve ever tasted. The dude who took my order had the black tea and coconut milk out in seconds, combined them and whipped the cup into the cover sealing machine, turned upside down twice and back to me in less than 45 seconds. Additionally, I’m not sure why, but as it happens the Bubble Island at U of M only charges $2 for any medium drink before 1Pm (a mind blowing bargain). Truly, the McDonald’s of Bubble tea. In flavor, the coconut? milk doesn’t actually add so very much (though I have had them combined to delightful consistency elsewhere), but the sweet Thai zing is definitely present. Bubble Island’s Thai tea smells like sweet condensed milk and its texture is a homogeneously thick tea. Maybe it’s not my all-time favorite Bubble tea, but it’s certainly worth a $2 investment.