The Paly Voice

The ultimate pearl milk tea challenge: A weekend in the city

Alex Merkle-Raymond, Author

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Plentea is this week's best reviewed PMT. Plentea specializes in fruit teas, crema oolong teas and pearl milk teas. Photo by Alex Merkle-Raymond

Plentea is this week’s best reviewed PMT. Plentea specializes in fruit teas, crema oolong teas and pearl milk teas. Photo by Alex Merkle-Raymond

Welcome to the third installment of the ultimate Pearl Milk Tea challenge. You can find previous PMT reviews here.

This week, I am reviewing the PMT I tried while in San Francisco. This city brought out the best PMT I’ve ever had, and also the worst.

Boba Guys

3491 19th St., San Francisco 94110

Boba Guys' PMT was very sweet but the pearls were delicious. Everything is very modern and organic. Photo by Alex Merkle-Raymond

Boba Guys’ PMT was very sweet, but the pearls were delicious. Everything is very modern and organic. Photo by Alex Merkle-Raymond.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

What I ordered: Classic milk tea with almond milk and pearls ($4)

Features:

This place is very trendy. There are weekly tastings of tea flavors and additions to make the store seem more communal. The syrups and almond jelly are made from scratch, and almost everything is organic, according to the Boba Guys website.

I ordered a drink with almond milk because Boba Guys is one of the few places I’ve been to that has a dairy free option, and I wanted to take advantage of it.

The server was generous with the pearls, which were very chewy and flavorful and did not disintegrate. The tea flavor was very strong, but the drink was incredibly sweet. At certain points, some sips would be almost unbearably sweet if the syrup wasn’t completely mixed in.

A downfall was the slow service, but Boba Guys does call the drinks the “Slow Bar” in warning. Also, the drink was served with a snap-on lid. Some people may not understand the importance of this, but without a vacuum sealed lid, it is impossible to shake the drink into a perfect mixture with no too-sweet spots.

 

Boba Delight

528 Larkin St., San Francisco94102
Boba Delight was very sweet and watery. The pearls were also very sweet and disintegrating. Photo by Alex Merkle-Raymond

Boba Delight was very sweet and watery. The pearls were also sweet and disintegrated. Photo by Alex Merkle-Raymond.

Overall Rating: 2.5/10

What I ordered: Small coconut green pearl milk tea ($2.45)

Features:

Boba Delight features a small selection of ice cream, a significant array of funky foods and a large variety of pearl milk tea drinks. It’s relatively new, and you can purchase glass bottles to bring in again for a discount. Boba Delight also has a stamping rewards system that gives you a free drink after you buy 10 drinks.

I personally will not return and do not recommend that anyone try it. The service was very slow, and once I finally received my drink, I was less than impressed.

The drink was incredibly sweet and super syrupy. At the time time, it seemed like they used water instead of milk because it was so thin and not at all creamy. I could not mix the drink to see if it was just mixed poorly because it had a snap-on lid.

The pearls were very soft and would often clog up the straw. They started to disintegrate quickly and would leave a tapioca pearl residue on the sides of the cup. Everything seemed very artificial, and I could barely tell if they gave me the flavor I asked for.

 

Quickly

300 Walnut St., Redwood CityCalif., 94063

Quickly was not very flavorful but the service was very fast and the sizes are large. Quickly is everywhere and a deal for people who can find a flavor they really like. Photo by Alex Merkle-Raymond

Quickly was not very flavorful, but the service was fast and the sizes are large. Quickly is everywhere and a monetary steal for people who can find a flavor they really like. Photo by Alex Merkle-Raymond.

Overall Rating: 4/10

What I ordered: Small jasmine pearl milk tea ($2.70)

Features:

Quickly is everywhere. I would personally call it the McDonald’s of pearl milk tea places. I have had Quickly on multiple occasions, and I have never been particularly impressed. This location was no exception.

It has very fast service, large cup sizes and many options for mix-ins. I chose the usual tapioca pearls which were large and very chewy. The pearls did not leave remnants in the cup, but coated the inner straw and mouth. In general, the drink was sweet, very milky and not very flavorful.

The straws were not wrapped, which I have never seen before and made me a little suspicious. Quickly uses the FIVESTARS reward card system and is cash only. I would say that if you can find a flavor you like, go because it’s cheap, but be aware that it’s not very good either.

 

Plentea

Plentea did not have many flavor options but what it did have was delicious. The tea was very flavorful and consistent in sweetness and texture. The pearls were large and chewy. Photo by Alex Merkle-Raymond

Plentea did not have many flavor options, but what it did have was delicious tea. The tea was very flavorful and consistent in sweetness and texture. The pearls were large and chewy. Photo by Alex Merkle-Raymond.

341 Kearny St., San Francisco94108

Overall Rating: 9/10

What I ordered: Black pearl milk tea ($5.00)

Features:

Plentea is right next to Chinatown and the financial district in San Francisco, so it was difficult to find parking, but once I did, it was worth it. The store is two stories and very modern. The food menu is mainly fancy variations on waffles and sandwiches.

The staff members were very informative and answered all my questions – when I went back the next day, they remembered me and were very glad I was back. All drinks are served in cool glass containers, and the store will give you a 10 percent discount if brought back. The bottles also have a lid for transportation and reusability.

There was a line out the door that was very slow moving, but once you’ve ordered, the drinks come quickly. There are few flavor options, but there are fruit drinks, smoothies, teas and many combinations of all of these.

The tea was very flavorful with large, soft pearls. The drink was very creamy and because there was no flavoring, there was no mixing required for a perfectly smooth drink. The texture was even throughout the bottle, which I very much appreciated.

Please leave a comment to suggest Pearl Milk Tea places you would like reviewed. 

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