You say bubble tea, I say boba... and we're both talking about the same thing: a tea drink with tapioca balls that originated in Taiwan.
So how about something a little different? Vancouver now has its first-ever Korean-style bubble tea shop. Called Boba Run, the new destination for all kinds of innovative tea drink flavours and more has opened its doors in Gastown.
Boba Run is located at 102 West Hastings Street (once upon a time this was a Nectar Juicery storefront), where they've been teasing us with their jungle cat logo posted in the shop window for a while now.
“You can say it was love at first sip as I simply adore boba tea, which is definitely a popular drink in Vancouver,” says Christine Alu, owner of Boba Run. “At Boba Run, our focus is on introducing Vancouverites to new, delicious, and unique flavours using quality ingredients. No milk powders, instead, our drinks feature 100% organic milk or alternative milk such as oat and almond. We also use a house-made organic syrup and have sourced premium teas and tapioca balls directly from Korea, Taiwan, and Japan.”
And while Vancouverites are on the whole more familiar with using the term "bubble tea," Boba Run is using the term for the tea drink with tapioca balls or pearls that is more common on the west coast of the United States.
When it comes to flavours, Boba Run is borrowing from the Korean canon: roasted barley, roasted corn and Yu-ja tea. On the menu at Boba Run you'll also find specialty drinks like a Korean Oat ‘N Barley Latte and a Jolly Pong Shake, featuring Korean puffed wheat breakfast cereal.
They're also doing a Honeycomb Dalgona Latte; "dalgona" might ring a bell from earlier this year, when social media users in lockdown were making a trendy whipped coffee drink that had been named "dalgona" by a Korean TV star who noted the froth's resemblance to a Korean honeycomb treat.
Also on offer at Boba Run are drinks made with green tea from local purveyor Whisk Premium Matcha, which uses organic, handpicked tea leaves to create its premium matcha powder. Boba Run's "Matcha Series" includes classic Matcha Latte, Dalgona Matcha, Red Bean Matcha, Matcha Mud Slush, Yu-ja Matcha Slush, and Black Sugar Matcha Latte.
As a further way to get the exact bubble tea - or boba - drink you want, at Boba Run you can customize your order and get your bev hot or cold, and with add-on toppings like boba, lychee jelly, crystal boba, organic chia, honeycomb dalgona, and banana milk pudding.
Boba Run is open Monday to Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guests can order take-out or pre-order via its online store for contactless pick-up. For more information, follow @bobarunvancouver on Instagram.