New boba places are bubbling up so fast it's hard to keep track. Will any of these be your new favorite?
The newest shop to open in town has brown sugar boba and milk teas galore — but it's their line of drinkable yogurt with chewy purple rice that's drawing a (socially distant) crowd. The smooth yogurt drink comes in plain, banana, matcha, taro, seasonal mango and other flavors with pieces of blended fruit. It's creamy, tart and completely different from everyday boba. Cowcow's claims to be the first shop in Hawaii to offer purple rice as a topping and we have to say it's probably an acquired taste — not quite as sweet as regular tapioca pearls but healthier if you want something to chew on without the extra calories.
3620 Waialae Ave. • Kaimuki • 888-0708 • https://www.instagram.com/cowcowstea/
Momo Tea used to be across Palama Supermarket on Makaloa Street. Maybe it was the scarce parking, but they quietly shut down and re-opened on Ward Avenue with much more parking and some new menu items. Fruit tea, loaded with fresh fruit, comes in a square cup with a fork attached. Smoothies, milk tea and other fresh teas are also sold here.
320 Ward Ave. #116 • Kakaako • 492-1117 • https://www.instagram.com/momoteahawaii/
See also: Our go-to: Milk tea
It’s Tea is a tiny shop run by a husband-and-wife team that is super knowledgeable about their tea. There's a wide variety, some of which can be made into milk tea. Their iced tea with flavorings complement their pure teas well. Brown sugar boba milk, which features no tea, is a best-seller. It's street parking only, but worth it.
435 Kamakee St. #102 • Kakaako • 469-9159 • https://www.instagram.com/itsteahawaii/
Top Tea + Espresso
Top Tea + Espresso used to be the beloved Friend Cafe on Kapiolani Boulevard. Now in Liliha Square near Times Supermarket, it's run by the same people but with a new name that gives a better idea of what they sell. Their bubble tea comes with various toppings and there's a reusable plastic milk carton-shaped drink cup that you can buy and bring back for a small discount on your next order. There's also gelato and a small selection of tiramisu and other cakes.
1425 Liliha St .Ste #10 • Liliha • 524-3888 • https://www.instagram.com/topteahawaii/
Cloud Nine Cafe
Known for their souffle pancakes, Cloud Nine offers a Taiwanese-inspired menu of food and teas including their signature milk teas. The caffeine-averse can get blended fruit smoothies. Located in Market City between the University of Hawaii and Chaminade University, this is a student-friendly spot.
2919 Kapiolani Blvd. • Kapahulu • 739-9988 • https://www.instagram.com/cloud9cafe_hi/
Fortune Tea popped up with their new “cloudy” and “yoyo” (yogurt) smoothies and I'm tempted to grab all of them. They have a cheese cap and are known for their fruit teas and the cute scratch-off fortunes stuck to the outside of your cup. The shop is near Pali Long Drugs and Safeway, at Pali Highway and Kukui Street in the same building as Asato Family Shop. If you need more reason to go, they also have savory and sweet breads and cakes.
1302 Pali Hwy. • Downtown • 5728-0170 • https://www.instagram.com/fortunetea808/
Rabbit Rabbit Tea Hawaii
This Alice in Wonderland-themed cafe in Aiea is cute and whimsical. With drinks like the Alice in Wonderland mojito and cloud smoothies, this place brings cutesy to a whole new level. A mural on one wall is — what else? — totally cute and perfect for your Instagram.
99-115 Aiea Heights Dr. Suite 250 • Aiea • 488-8811 • https://www.rabbitrabbitteahi.com/
New boba shops just won't stop bubbling up. I just saw another coming soon sign next to Salt at Kakaako. And it's not the same things they bring. They reflect new trends and innovative (and Instagrammable) twists. Last year, it was all about the cheese foam. Now it's brown sugar boba with milk. What will the next trend be?