Grab your stamp cards, at least five new boba places have bubbled up around town since June. Not that I'm complaining. Like most of my friends, I am obsessed with this liquid gold. So why not go around and try them all? Here’s the (milk) tea on the new boba shops.
This boba pop-up shop first opened in Kailua, but for the summer moved to a new home inside Fishcake, a furniture shop in Ward. After Anuenue's pop-up ends in August, it plans to move to Waikiki.
This is not your average boba. Anuenue focuses on how the tea is brewed. This results in high-quality tea that’s blended to release its natural healing properties. Plus, this is one of the few places that makes boba from scratch. The milk tea is one of the top sellers. For those of you who prefer a prominent tea taste, this is the place to go.
The current location is intimate with several tables to sit down and have a chat with friends. WiFi is available if you need it. Along with milk tea, you can get fruit tea and coffee. Park in Fishcake’s lot and walk towards the back of the building. You'll spot the sign for Anuenue Tea.
307 Kamani St. • Kakaako・anuenuetea.com/
Chatea Hawaii is located where Tea Boss on Kapiolani used to be. The specialty drink is the Cha Latte — brown sugar walls with fresh milk topped with cream cheese, Oreos and macadamia nuts. For dairy-sensitive folks, there’s non-dairy milk tea, plus there's plain tea, smoothies, fruit teas, lemonades and Calpico drinks. Chatea also serves desserts like tofu pudding. If you want something a little sweeter, try the dessert toasts.
The shop provides WiFi if you're looking to treat your self while studying. If you’re a board game fanatic like me, there’s a collection of games. Parking is available in the front of the building and inside the parking structure.
1617 Kapiolani Blvd. Suite 102・Ala Moana • 200-5588・https://www.instagram.com/chateahawaii/?hl=en
Milky Way Hawaii Ice
If you've ever wondered what the colorful truck next to Fisher Hawaii in Kakaako is, it’s a boba truck. Milky Way Hawaii Ice is the newest boba shop in Kakaako, and it's as vibrant as the neighborhood.
Tapioca Milky Way is their special-tea offering, with housemade brown sugar boba. The shop prides itself on making some of the best tapioca pearls on Oahu, and I definitely agree. This place serves some of the softest, chewiest, most flavorful bobas I’ve tried. If you love brown sugar, one bite of these pearls will get you hooked. Other items include the eye-catching Pineapple Milky Shave Ice — half a pineapple that's carved out, filled with pineapple shaved ice and topped with (you guessed it) fresh pineapple. There are alss smoothies, which the owner dubs Snowthies, tea and Milky Special, which are specialty teas.
There's no seating, but you can enjoy your boba at nearby Mother Waldron Park or at the Salt complex right down the road. There's only street parking available, so come prepared with coins.
710 Pohukaina St. • Kakaako・463-8110・https://www.facebook.com/MilkyWayHawaiiIce/
NIO Snow Ice & Tea
Nio Snow Ice & Tea stands out with its electric blue interiors. It’s on Halekauwila, so street parking is your best option. If you’re like me and can’t parallel park, there is one spot for customers in the parking lot next to the building. You can spot the shop by the Nio flag waving around.
Nio is fairly small and only has countertop seating, with additional seating outside. It's known for the Tiger Amber Boba, which is brown sugar boba with brown sugar walls. For an Instagrammable drink, this is the way to go. The shop also sells shave ice but instead of using plain ice, it's a flavor-infused ice that's shaved. Look in the cooler case near the cashier and you can see the snow ice blocks.
550 Halekauwila St. Suite 101・Kakaako • 670-4234・nio-bubble-tea-store.business.site/
Add this to your list of Instagram-worthy locations to check out. Wave Tea is on Kapiolani Boulevard, right next to Public Storage. And thank goodness, this place has a parking lot.
Wave Tea sells three types of teas: Cheese tea, milk tea and pure tea. Some fan favorites are the Cheese Mango Tea, which is a mango smoothie with cheese foam, and the brown sugar milk tea. If you want to make your IG followers jealous, get one of the mousse cakes — funky geometric and animal-shaped cakes made with layers of mousse and cake. Animal shapes include pandas, dogs, pigs, chicks — basically the whole barn (except for the pandas). These sell like hotcakes and change every day. Call ahead to see what’s available that day.
There's ample seating inside and outside. This is a chill place to hang out with friends and play board games. Oh, and there's WiFi.
1067 Kapiolani Blvd.・Kakaako • 591-8668・wavetea808.com
Oahu alone has more than 50 boba shops (yes, I counted) and it looks like the number will just keep increasing. As this article is posted, a new shop has probably sprouted up somewhere. Momo in Chinatown just opened, S7 Icy Bubble Kapolei is almost ready for a grand opening in September, Infinitea plans to have a new location in Ward soon, did I miss any? If anything, this gives me an excuse to collect more stamp cards.
So, boba run, anyone?