Welcome to our Best Boba series! In these posts, I will be inviting foodies and bubble tea lovers from different cities around the world to give us their favorite boba spots in their city. In this post, we've invited Terence of Tinlun Studio to share with us his favorite bubble tea spots in Houston, Texas.
1. Tea Top
Katy Location - 23119 Colonial Pkwy C-7, Katy, TX 77449
Chinatown Location - 9889 Bellaire Blvd E203, Houston, TX 77036
A wide variety of delicious drinks plus super friendly ownership puts Tea Top at the top of the list. If you’re looking for a place to zone out and work/study, the Katy location has a great atmosphere for that - but the Chinatown location is more central and great for meeting up with friends and hanging out. There’s a Black Pearl Tiger trend sweeping through Houston’s boba spots right now, but Tea Top’s is by far the best (and only available on weekends and in limited supply). My backup drink is the Sun Moon Lake Milk Tea - wonderfully complex and delicious as well. If a salty twist and creamier texture are your thing, try the cheese foam; this decadent add on adds a savoriness that compliments the sweetness and takes drinks to another level. I personally prefer my drinks to be less heavy, but my wife loves the foam!
Drink of choice: Black Pearl Tiger with half boba / half grass jelly
2. 7 Leaves Cafe
9798 Bellaire Blvd Suite B, Houston, TX 77036
Variety isn’t their thing, but that’s ok - consistent drinks and a great atmosphere for both hanging out and work/study make 7 Leaves a favorite. They open much earlier than most boba spots, have super strong wifi, and have plug access at almost every table. One of the employees even welcomed me by name after noticing that I’m a bit of a regular, and that sort of rare customer service and detail earns extra points in my book. To top it all off, they also have an environmentally conscious undertone (they sell metal straws), which is very refreshing for an industry which generates tons of plastic waste.
Drink of choice: Oolong Milk Tea w/ grass jelly, easy sweet
3. ShareTea Sugar Land
3227 Hwy 6 Ste A, Sugar Land, TX 77478
Big variety of drinks, special holiday concoctions, and plenty of seating; it’s a very popular meeting spot for an Asian-dense suburb of Houston. Their wifi has never worked for me, but luckily you can get a strong connection to the restaurant next door for those long work/study sessions. There are multiple locations around town as well.
Drink of choice: Okinawa Milk Tea w/ egg pudding or mini pearls
4. Feng Cha
Sugar Land - 13540 University Blvd Suite 400, Sugar Land, TX 77479
Chinatown - 9889 Bellaire Blvd #316, Houston, TX 77036
Feng Cha gets a slight bump down mainly because of their pricing - be ready to spend a dollar more than other places - but their concise menu ensures great quality control. The atmosphere is well thought out with an ethereal and dreamy vibe, strong wifi, and comfortable seating for both deep concentration and socializing.
Drink of choice: Dirty Boba Oolong Tea
5. Star Snow Ice
9889 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036
This is the OG of the bunch; Star Snow was around for decades long before the great boba surge in H-Town, and they were my introduction to boba culture (as well as shaved ice). Their milk tea flavor is unique and unreplicated by anyone else - it’s not for everyone, but I find myself craving it from time to time. It is the most budget friendly in this list. They also have delicious simple taiwanese eats like spicy chicken nuggets, beef noodle soup (牛肉麵), and chicken cutlet rice.
Drink of choice: Milk Tea w/ egg pudding
6. Meet Fresh
Chinatown Location: 9393 Bellaire Blvd Suite I, Houston, TX 77036
Katy Location: 23119 Colonial Pkwy Suite B-13, Katy, TX 77449
They’re kind of like a new-school Star Snow Ice (#6 on this list), but without the food; they’re more known for the shaved ice and other desserts. I’ve found their milk tea to be wonderfully refreshing, and their grass jelly is unrivaled in delicate taste and smooth texture.
Drink of choice: Milk Tea w/ grass jelly
7. Gong Cha
9889 Bellaire Blvd C 318, Houston, TX 77036
This place was king of the hill when it opened, but that title was short lived as multiple other Taiwan-based franchises opened in the same plaza. It’s still a favorite for some, and it’s a clean and simple atmosphere with strong wifi.
8. The Teahouse
2089 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098
9198 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036
4926 Beechnut St, Houston, TX 77096 + more
This is another one of the Houston OG boba cafes. Huge menu of good drinks, and you can pretty much find a Teahouse anywhere in the Houston area.
9. Kung Fu Tea
9889 Bellaire Blvd #222, Houston, TX 77036
3224 Yoakum Blvd, Houston, TX 77006
1005 Blalock Rd, Houston, TX 77055 + many more
I’ll be honest - it was hard for me to include them on the list because of their management’s bad reputation (just look up the Yelp reviews…) and my personal experience with them, but it’s hard to deny that their drinks are really good. They’ve opened locations to cover pretty much every area of Houston, so you’ll have little trouble getting your boba fix. Their tapioca is the best in town - perfectly QQ and sweet. P.S. My wife made me put them on this list because they’re her favorite.
About the Author
Howdy! I’m Terence, a native Texan and Chinese-American born and raised in Houston. I’m a freelance lettering artist and designer, and I’ve visited many of H-Town’s main boba spots in search of good drinks and a cozy atmosphere to get my art on. My go-to drink these days is a classic milk tea with grass jelly - I like to keep it fairly simple and don’t typically go for the drinks with five different add-ons. I’m honored and excited to share my favorite boba spots in the HTX.