toasted brown sugar cheese milk tea with boba from cube tea photo by izaiah johnson

3 St. Louis spots making boba that will blow your mind

Boba tea, sometimes known as bubble tea, has come a long way since its Midwestern debut in the late 1990s. Depending on your age, you may have memories of waiting in line for a bright purple brew of this trendy Taiwanese export at Crestwood Mall (rest in power) or in the Loop. Today’s teens are likely more familiar with decadent Instagram-famous cups, their light, milky tea and dark, syrupy brown sugar swirling like lava lamps. For several years, boba tea has been experiencing what some have likened to the third wave coffee movement, which pioneered artisanal approaches to coffee preparation and production. Led by first- and second-generation Asian Americans seeking to reinvent this comforting, nostalgic cultural touchstone, tea shops are increasingly popping up that focus on organic ingredients, ethical sourcing and using real leaf teas rather than powdered versions. Here are three local spots making boba that will blow your mind.


Cube Tea Studio
The sprawling menu at this gem tucked inside Olive Supermarket reads like a bulleted list of the latest trends: seasonal fruit and yogurt teas, salted cream cheese foam toppings, and multiple tea options that range from oolong to jasmine. Mix and match seemingly endless combinations and choose your sweetness level from 0-100%. We recommend ordering a “toasted brown sugar cheese milk tea with boba” at 50% sweetness. The salted cheese layer provides rich creaminess and the toasted sugar topping adds a satisfying crunch and warm, smoky flavor.
8041 Olive Blvd., University City, cubebubbleteastudio.com


La Patisserie Chouquette
While South and Southeast Asian treats like boba and flavors like matcha and black sesame make frequent appearances on Chouqette’s menu, it’s the freshly brewed milk tea that keeps us coming back. The offerings are simple: green or black tea with brown sugar, matcha or taro, blended with whole or oat milk, with the additional option to “make it fancy!” Go ahead and get extra with add-ins like caramel, yuzu jam, lychee-coconut jelly or a trendy dalgona topping, a creamy foam made by whipping together instant coffee, sugar and hot water.
1626 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, 314.932.7935, simonefaure.com


The Foundry Bakery
This Taiwanese bakery located in a Maryland Heights strip mall epitomizes the #fightthepowder movement in milk tea. Don’t be fooled by the low-key setting: The fresh pastries and curated list of global teas brewed in-house daily will meet the most exacting standards. Add chewy boba soaked in wildflower honey to roasted houjicha green tea or Taiwanese fruit milk made with seasonal fruit blended with ice and house caramel milk. Don’t forget to pick up a crispy orange bun on your way out; like all of their pastries, they’re baked throughout the day for maximum freshness.
11424 Dorsett Road, Maryland Heights, 314.884.1116, thefoundrybakery.com

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