London’s bubble tea scene has been growing rapidly over the last few years, especially with all these Taiwanese brands deciding to step foot into the market. Being a huge bubble tea fan myself, this is, of course, ecstatic news for me. Compared to when I first moved to the UK many years ago, I honestly feel so spoilt with options now and am so grateful that it’s literally within my fingertips to get my bubble tea cravings sorted anytime. After many bubble tea treats, I’ve put together a list of where you can find the best spots for London bubble tea. Let me know which one’s your favourite too!
The Alley has been a very popular brand across Asia and has many footprints globally. Right before 2019 was coming to an end, they’ve opened up their first branch in London! They are known for serving some of the best bubble teas around all the global locations they’ve opened at and is no exception to their London store.
Their signature Creme Brulee Deerioca Milk, i.e the Boba Milk, is a firm favourite of mine and pretty much everyone around the world. For matcha lovers, their Matcha Brown Sugar Deerioca Boba Milk is great as well. If you’re looking for the benchmark for the best London bubble tea, look no further as The Alley absolutely sits at the very top of the list.
As for 2021, The Alley has opened another branch in Oxford Circus!
Location: Holborn / Oxford Circus
Machi Machi has been crowned as a cheese tea specialist in Taiwan and is probably one of the pioneers for introducing cheese tea into London. Before you turn away from the idea of having cheese in tea, it’s like a dessert cheese (think of cheesecakes), whipped into a creamy mousse with a sprinkle of sea salt to add a subtle savoury edge that makes the flavours pop. Don’t knock it till you try it.
Anyway, I tried their classic bubble milk tea with cheese topping, which I find exceptionally delicious. The mild savoury touch from the cheese topping added an exciting blend of flavours to their quality milk tea. From flavour balance to texture and tapioca, Machi Machi has definitely nailed it and easily takes up one of the top spots for best bubble tea in London. Need more credentials? Even Taiwanese megastar, Jay Chou, specifically made a stop here during his European tour for his bubble tea fix!
Location: Piccadilly Circus
Another one sitting at the higher spots of the list of best bubble tea in London is Yunique Tea. My go-to is their Dark Sugar Boba Milk, which was rich and velvety, with the right amount of sweetness. The tapioca was cooked properly into an al dente texture and oozing caramelised flavours. All in all, I absolutely loved it – it’s definitely up to par and it’s just as good the second and third time I’ve been so far.
Location: Chinatown / Leicester Square
The Whale Tea has somehow made its way to my regular-visit list. This is because it’s closer to west London and it’s relatively convenient for me to pop by (maybe too convenient my bank account would say!). The Flaming Whale is a firm favourite, which is essentially a brown sugar milk boba, as I love to stick with the classics. But their Matcha Dalgona has been an outstanding treat too. Coffee and Matcha together usually clash with one another, but The Whale Tea has somewhat impressively managed to find that perfect balance. It’s definitely one worth checking out!
Xing Fu Tang has been an absolute sensation in Taiwan when they first started out. They have been rapidly expanding globally ever since and they’ve come to London now too! They’ve kept all the quirks and characters from their Taiwanese store and brought the live tapioca-cooking as well to their London site.
On my first visit, I instantly fell in love with their signature Brown Sugar Boba Milk. It was a tad bit too icy to my liking but everything else had been spot on. However, on a second and third visit, it seemed to taste a little bit watered-down and just not as outstanding. Though one thing for certain is that their tapioca pearls are simply perfection!