Photos by Alli Burnison
A common trend across Pepperdine’s campus has been an obsession with boba or bubble tea, which is a milk-tea-based drink that contains tapioca balls and comes in a variety of flavors and fashions. The origins of boba tea can be traced back 40 years, as the creation is credited to Taiwanese street tea vendors searching for new drinks to serve to customers, according to an article published by BBC News in August 2014. The popularity of boba cafes began in areas with Asian American populations, yet has expanded to all corners of LA due to popular interest as well as the belief that the drink has health benefits, said boba cafe owner Jimmy Huang in a 2013 interview with the Los Angeles Magazine.
So where are the best places to get boba around Pepperdine?
Boba shops are everywhere: through the canyon, Santa Monica or in the heart of LA.
Caffe Aroma — 2130 Newbury Rd, Newbury Park, CA 91320
If you do happen to be heading through Malibu Canyon and you find yourself craving boba, you are not far from one of the best places to go: Caffe Aroma in Newbury Park. This small cafe is beautifully decorated — containing candles and hanging chandeliers, elegant plants and flowers and an overall charming display — and provides a comfortable atmosphere to sit and sip on a tasty beverage.
The cafe offers a selection for the refined boba palate, as their milk teas are homemade, including both plain and Thai milk tea. Other flavors include taro, peach, mango and green tea, which are available blended or over ice. Not only does the adorable cafe serve boba and other tea drinks, but it also has a full menu of salads, sandwiches and even crepes. If you are in the neighborhood and enjoy boba and cute cafes, Caffe Aroma is worth your time.
Urth Cafe — https://urthcaffe.com/
If you are looking for a boba experience that will provide high quality tea, a trendy atmosphere and perhaps even a good meal (that will definitely be aesthetically appealing enough to qualify for an Instagram), Urth Cafe is the place to be. Urth has four locations in the region, including Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Downtown LA and Pasadena. Urth is about more than just the boba — it is about an entire experience. Urth’s expansive menu presents itself as an intersection of food genres, fusing Mediterranean, Italian and even Central American dishes. Urth promises completely organic, fresh teas, imported from all over the world, according to their website.
Urth has an assorted variety of tea: green, black, earl grey, Moroccan mint, chai and Thai red tea. Blended or iced, the quality of the tea combined with the chewy perfection of the tapioca balls creates an overall positive experience. Whether sitting outside or inside, sipping on boba or eating a Panini, Urth Cafe is a must to check out if you live in LA.
Bubble Boba — 2829 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405
If you are searching for a quick, in-and-out boba experience, while also benefiting from an expansive menu and quality service, you should try Bubble Boba in Santa Monica. Bubble Boba shares a wall with a sushi restaurant, providing a unique opportunity to simultaneously get your sushi and boba fix. The menu offers the traditional milk teas such as Thai and matcha green tea, as well as smoothies, slushies, specialty frappes and espresso drinks. The restaurant is small, but the general feel is clean, modern and inviting. Bubble Boba also offers an assortment of desserts, such as macaroons, ice cream and specialty cakes for anyone looking for a different sort of sweet treat.
The bottom line is the options for boba are endless in LA. Whether you want to travel 15 minutes from Pepperdine or 45, boba is out there. Take advantage of LA’s options and explore the culture of bubble tea.
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