Marin’s best quali-TEA boba to sweeten your day by sachi nahas


Bubble tea, tapioca tea, pearl milk tea, the drink with the balls in it, whatever you call it: boba has become an increasingly popular drink in the Redwood community. Whether the tea is milky, frosted, creamed, fruity or malted, the factor which makes the drink so special are the round tapioca balls at the bottom of the cup: boba. As a boba connoisseur, I have found some of the best boba in San Francisco, but wanted to explore Marin to find quality boba closer to home.


Located on Grand Ave. in San Rafael, Sharetea provides customers with traditional boba and an abundance of fruit and milk teas. With hundreds of stores located around 18 countries, Sharetea is internationally famous for its original classic pearl milk tea. When I initially entered the small store, I was immediately greeted by an aroma similar to that of warm sugar. Taking a glance at the menu, I noticed its clean structure laid out in sections with different types of milk tea: fruit tea, brewed tea, milk tea, fresh milk, crema and ice blended. The customer is also able to customize their drink ice level: regular ice, less ice or no ice while also being able to choose their tea’s sweetness level: normal, less sweet, half sweet, slightly sweet and sugar free—something unique to Sharetea.

I found this to be very helpful as I prefer a less sweet milk tea over the extra sweet. Taking into consideration the one size cups, the prices were appropriate, ranging from $4 to $5.25, depending on the type of blend. Toppings, like lychee or tapioca, are 50 cents extra which is a common trend among all boba places I’ve been to. Craving a boba low in sugar, I ordered the simple black milk tea with “less sweet” sweetness and the iconic tapioca pearls. Although the black milk tea was quite original, it was very tasteful and fresh. As I drank the rich milk, I was immediately greeted with a burst of boba balls which were round and consisted of a gushy texture, yet smooth on the inside. My tea was a little on the watery side, which may have had to do with the altered sweetness level, but I wasn't expecting a lack of flavor and was slightly disappointed. However, I was shocked at how delicious and sweet the boba balls were. But, without the pearls, the drink would have been lackluster.

Address: 967 Grand Ave, San Rafael

Prices: $4 to $5.25 [+ 50 cents per topping]

Hours: Monday- Saturday, 11:30 a.m. - 9p.m.

Sunday--12 a.m. -8 p.m.

Recommended drinks: black milk tea with pearls, green milk tea with pearls, mango and passion fruit green tea, strawberry ice blended with ice cream and pearls.


Nestled in the heart of San Rafael on Fourth street, Quickly is a popular boba cafe located close to many of Marin’s favorite restaurants, such as Sol Food and Cafe Del Sol. The store as a whole is the biggest of all the boba places I've been to, yet they only provide up to four table seatings. Right in the entryway, there is a wall which is completely loaded with a variety of menu options, including Asian snacks such as crispy popcorn chicken, fried tofu, potstickers and more. Along with the food options, there are a total of 239 different types of boba drinks to choose from which was quite overwhelming, but impressive as it enticed me to try a new flavor each visit.

In this case, I decided to get the classic milk tea with pearls and blended lychee tea with pearls. Aside from numerous options to choose from, the drinks were priced at a reasonable rate of around $2.75 for a small and just 50 cents more for a large. Unlike Sharetea, Quickly’s milk teas were pre-prepared which made them seem less fresh but they tasted satisfying being pleasantly sugary. As for the blended drink, the lychee flavor was very strong and blended perfectly as it wasn't too icy nor too liquidy. Just as the teas were flavorful at Quickly; the boba balls deemed the same. The balls were more firmly rounded but soft on the inside. Taste-wise, the boba was similar to honey which added a different kind of flavor to the tea and made the drink too sweet for my full satisfaction.

Address: 128 4th St, San Rafael

Prices: $2.75 to $3.50

Hours: Sunday- Friday--12 a.m. -10 p.m.

Saturday--12 a.m. -9:30 p.m.

Recommended drinks: jasmine milk tea, taro milk tea, lychee slush, oreo blend and tiger milk tea.

World Wrapps

Conveniently located within a five-minute drive and 15-minute walk from Redwood, World Wrapps at Town Center Mall impresses customers with its unique boba selection. As World Wrapps is a popular lunch joint for many Redwood students, the restaurant not only provides tasty bowls and wraps but homemade boba as well (what a combo)! Since World Wrapps isn't a boba cafe, the restaurant only provides jasmine milk tea as a bubble tea option, which is a letdown but isn't unexpected. Aside from the jasmine milk tea, there are a variety of juice options that the boba can be paired with. Some of the other drinks include matcha, mango juice tea, strawberry lemonade and dragon fruit.

Although it is recommended to match the boba with jasmine milk tea, you are also given the option of adding boba into any other drink or adding another topping such as diced strawberries, mint and pineapple and lemon slices. I wanted to get the best of both worlds, so I decided to order the jasmine milk tea and strawberry lemonade and added boba to both. Because the drinks were already premade, the employee just had to pour the drink into a cup and serve it, which made it a very quick process. The jasmine milk tea had a lot more floral-like flavor to it than the other boba joints. I could instantly taste the floral flavors and the milk was a nice balance to the sweet jasmine. However, I wasn't very pleased with the boba itself. The texture was very grainy and the balls were unpleasant to chew. From now on, they should stick to their organic juices and wraps and lay off the boba balls.

Address: 208 Corte Madera Town Center, Corte Madera

Prices: $3.95 [+ 25 cents per topping]

Hours: Monday- Sunday-- 11 a.m. -8 p.m.

Recommended drinks: strawberry lemonade, jasmine milk tea and mango juice tea.

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