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The Whale Tea offers delicious, classic bubble tea with some downfalls By: Giselle Oldani '22

Nestled in a corner of the bustling Fairfield downtown scene is The Whale Tea: a gold accented shop decorated mostly according to your 2017 Pinterest board, apart from the few recently trending LED lights lining the outside window. With bubble tea finding its way onto all social media, it's hard to differentiate the truly devoted boba shops from the imposters. Fortunately, The Whale Tea is not an imposter, but it's still a little far from being the best.

Photo by Giselle Oldani '22

The absolute shining star of The Whale Tea is its freshly made tapioca. If you're new to the bubble tea world, the "bubbles" or boba at the bottom of the drink are usually tapioca pearls. At The Whale Tea, there's tapioca constantly cooking in a silver pot right by the cashier. The resulting sweet smell consumes the entire shop. It's probably my favorite part of the whole experience. I'd spend an embarrassing amount of money to buy a candle scented like this. Anyways, when you get your tea, the boba will be slightly warm, soft, a bit chewy, and perfectly sweet. For this reason, I would recommend getting tapioca boba instead of fruity or popping boba.

Photo by Giselle Oldani '22

The plentiful seating is more than an interior design quirk: it's a necessity. If you are planning to stop by The Whale Tea on the weekend, you better be prepared to carve 30 minutes to an hour out of your day. I will continue to wonder why they don't put on extra employees for the weekend because the two or three people behind the counter never can keep up with the 10 or 20 customers flowing endlessly through the shop's doors. Unfortunately, with the very slow weekend service, my advice is to visit the shop primarily on weekday afternoons.

Photo by Giselle Oldani '22

My favorite order is the Brown Sugar Fresh Milk Tea. It's basically sugary milk with a slight hint of tea. Theres beauty in the simplicity of this drink. It's just good every time. Unfortunately, most of their fresh milk teas are heavy on the milk and not so much on the tea instead of a balanced marriage between the two. My friend usually orders the Oreo Milk Tea which is complete with a vanilla taste and a lot of Oreo cookie bits (almost too much, if you ask me). I've also had some of their fresh fruit teas. They are not too strong and not too sweet. Although fairly enjoyable, I would order the Brown Sugar Fresh Milk Tea over the fresh fruit teas any day.

Photo by Giselle Oldani '22

One of the privileges of living in the Connecticut suburbs is the unnecessarily high prices. The Whale Tea is certainly not an exception to this. With only medium and large sizes available, the lowest price you can pay is around $5.75. Considering the average cup of coffee costs $3, this is a bit expensive. The real killer is that all of its prices are jacked up by a dollar if you order online through Door Dash, Uber Eats, etc. So, if you're looking to treat yourself, going to The Whale Tea will definitely be just that.

Photo by Giselle Oldani '22

With possible origins all across Asia since the 1980s, bubble tea has gathered an undeniable following. There's milk tea scented candles and soaps, stuffed animals, key chains and T-shirts. Basically, there's boba themed everything. To do justice to this global phenomena, make sure you try some good bubble tea soon. While the wait is long and the price high, The Whale Tea's fresh tapioca pearls, variety of flavors and tasty teas make it the perfect place to truly experience the bubble tea trend.