London’s bubble tea scene has been growing rapidly over the last few years, especially with all these Taiwanese brands deciding to step foot in 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 in 2012 (and to London in 2015), 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 our favourites and where you can find the best bubble tea in London. Let us know which one’s your favourite too!
Where to find the Best Bubble Tea in London
The Alley has been a very popular brand across Asia and has many footprints globally. Right before 2019 was coming to an end, they opened up their first branch in London! For every global location they have opened at, they are consistently known as the top bubble tea spot in town. It is no exception at their London stores. Their signature Creme Brulee Deerioca Milk, i.e the Brown Sugar Boba Milk, is a firm favourite of mine and pretty much everyone around the world. Other flavours such as Ube and Matcha Deerioca Milk are fantastic too and we are also a big fan of their Crunchy Milk Tea series. If you’re looking for a benchmark for the best bubble tea in London, look no further as The Alley absolutely sits at the very top of the list.
The Whale Tea
The Whale Tea has made its way to our regular-visit list because its Queensway branch is convenient for us to pop by and they are seriously the top 2 best bubble tea spots in London in our opinion. The Flaming Whale is a firm favourite, which is essentially a brown sugar milk boba and they really nail the spot. I must also say that 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! Read more about the different flavours and full review of The Whale Tea here.
Another one sitting at the higher spots on the list of best bubble tea in London is Yunique Tea. You probably could tell by now that my go-to is the Brown Sugar Boba Milk, which Yunique Tea makes a pretty good one. But what impressed me more is the Cheese Foam Bubble Milk Tea where the cheese layer carried a distinct savoury edge to make all the flavours pop. They also have some really colourful fruity tea combos as well which would be perfect for Instagram. It’s also quite a consistent spot so you can always trust you’re getting a decent cup.
ONEZO Bubble Tea
ONEZO is a bubble tea spot that I rate quite highly in Hong Kong so imagine my excitement when I came across them opening in Notting Hill! The drinks didn’t disappoint and are quite decent, though not exactly meeting the high standards of its counterparts in Asia. The Brown Sugar Boba Milk was decent but it was the Singapore Bubble Milk Tea that made it to my list of favourites. Additionally, other than a wide variety of bubble tea flavours, ONEZO Notting Hill also makes bubble waffles!
True Dan, a.k.a Jen Ju Dan, is a legendary brown sugar-specialist boba shop in Taipei’s famous Shilin Night Market and is my favourite boba brand in Hong Kong. Their first ever UK branch is located in London Brunswick Centre – a small takeaway shop with a gorgeous hand-painted mural of their original store in Taipei. The signature drink is the Brown Sugar Boba Milk with Crema, which we thought was decent for UK’s standards but was not up to par as the real deal in Asia. Instead, we actually recommend trying the cheese foam tea as the tea quality was really nice and top-notch (though we highly suggest ordering at least 50% or lower sugar level as it was far too sweet). You can check out the full review of True Dan here.
Machi Machi has been crowned as a cheese tea specialist in Taiwan and is probably one of the pioneers of introducing cheese foam tea into London. When Taiwanese megastar, Jay Chou, visited London for his European tour, even he stopped by Machi Machi for his bubble tea fix! For a good while, I firmly rate Machi Machi’s Cheese Foam Milk Tea as the best in town. Though now there are more contenders in the market and sometimes others may do it better. Still, it’s definitely a solid spot and it’s very much well-loved by plenty of east Asians in London.
When I first tried Lucky Bubble (not to be confused with Lucky Tea!), I had the Creme Brulee Boba Milk and I was completely not impressed. The only reason I returned is because of convenience as the shop is literally just down the road from where I live. But perhaps that is a blessing in disguise because I wouldn’t have discovered the Oreo Smoothie Brown Sugar Boba Milk then! If you’re looking for authentic classic Taiwanese bubble teas, I’m afraid Lucky Bubble is not the one to go to. However, the smoothie series have been quite nice and we do like to get our Oreo Smoothie Boba fix there. Essentially, it’s like an Oreo Milkshake on top and brown sugar boba at the bottom. It is going to be quite an indulgent treat!
*Xing Fu Tang
I debated whether to still keep Xing Fu Tang on the list as they are no longer at the standards of how they were before. But I’ll leave it on here for now due to the novelty that it’s a highly reputable name in Taiwan and east Asia. What made Xing Fu Tang stands out is their specialist expertise in brown sugar tapioca. Similar to its original Taiwan shop, the London branch also features a live cooking station where you can watch the works of cooking tapioca. The globally well-known drink is the Brown Sugar Boba Milk. However, the London branch’s version has been watered down and lacked richness. It was decent before but now just nowhere up to par.