Those who love bubble tea, aka boba tea, know it's something of a guilty pleasure. Highly sweetened, and often made with artificially colored and flavored mixes, calling it tea seems like a stretch. It's more like tea drank.
But Tea Bar owner Erica Indira Swanson has rescued boba from the brink of artificiality so you can truly enjoy the benefits of tea and those addictively chewy balls of tapioca. She recently launched a Boba Bar weekend popup at her serene shop on NE Killingsworth. The bubble teas ($4.50 to $4.75) are only available on Saturdays and Sundays starting at noon until they're sold out. "Last weekend we sold out in just four hours," she says.
Although the boba teas are still a sweet treat, "We are not using any powders nor processed sugars," she says. "Our boba teas are made using local rBST-free dairy, high quality loose-leaf teas, grade A tapioca balls and unrefined raw sugar."
There are three flavors available so far: Hong Kong style brewed with loose-leaf black tea; caffeine-free lavender made with organic lavender buds; and Matcha. "Our matcha is sourced from a 100 year old small family farm in Uji, Japan. It is sifted to order, whisked with a traditional chasen and made into a paste," says Swanson.
And soon she says she'll be expanding her tea menu into the realm of mimosas, including a classic version made with Columbia Gorge orange juice, and a special flavor that's she's still keeping under wraps. "I haven't seen anyone else do in town," she hints. Stay tuned.