Open Letters

An Open Letter to Boba Tea

Dear Boba Tea,

I am going to make up what I think would be an accurate background story for your prevalence and popularity in the United States:

You come from somewhere foreign and interesting but also adorable like Japan or Audrey Tatou. A few years ago, some sorority girl from a state school discovered you while she was spending half of her study abroad on a giant cruise ship. She went back to LA and told her boyfriend all about how crazy this like, “bubble tea thingy” was, and so he told his older brother and his older brother told his best friend and I know what you’re thinking, and yes, this girl’s boyfriend’s older brother’s best friend happened to own a franchise of In ‘N Outs and decided then and there — why not give this Boba Tea business a try?

And? How does that sound? Is that how you ended up being this fad adopted by 20-something hipsters and 30-something older hipsters and 40-something old hipsters? Everyone loves Audrey Tatou, you know.

The reason I’m so curious, you see, is that for the life of me I cannot understand what it is that’s just so great about you. My first Boba Tea experience was just this week and I had high expectations. I envisioned a refreshing beverage with flavor blasters made from ice cubes. Like if you could drink a packet of Gushers. This was nothing like what I would imagine drinking a packet of Gushers tastes like. The tea part of the Boba Tea is delightful, I’ll give you that. I mean, I’ll indulge in a green tea blended soy iced latte no sugar added frappucino just as much as the next girl.

But I don’t want balls in my tea.

That’s what she said.

Sorry. Seriously. What are those things? The lady at Urth Caffe (look, if I’m having my first ever Boba Tea in LA then I’m obviously going to Urth Caffe so I can be annoying about the whole thing) told me they were tapioca balls. I’ve had tapioca pudding and there were no balls and it was good. These balls were not good (that’s what she said). They were slimy and gelatinous and would come up through the straw without any warning and they were weirdly chewy but lacking in flavor and I just wanted to drink some tea. I didn’t want to swallow any balls. And yes, that’s what she said, again.

I don’t know, Boba Tea, I don’t know if you and I are meant to be. But for the sake of making the end part of this next sentence rhyme, I’ll try you again and then we’ll see.

Fond Regards,



Boba tea image via ShutterStock