Boba, often referred to as bubble tea, has become a cafe staple across Portland over the last decade: Once only found in a small collection of isolated shops, the drink can now be found everywhere from specialty cafes to international franchise locations.
A tea-based drink named for its chewy tapioca pearls, boba has Taiwanese roots, but the drink has now grown into a global phenomenon with countless variations. The best way to determine the quality of a boba drink is by the flavor of the tea and the texture of the tapioca pearls: A good milk tea should have bold tea flavor, with pearls that are soft and springy but not mushy. Brewing methods vary from shop to shop but generally involve either an artificial powder, tea concentrate, or flavored syrup. With near infinite combinations, each shop has its distinctive teas and creative additions beyond the traditional tapioca.
While COVID-19 has changed the way boba shops operate their dine-in structure, most places have always been geared for takeout orders. The guide below will help customers grab a fresh boba drink on the go, wherever they are in Portland. Remember: Eater maps are not ranked; they’re organized geographically.
Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.Read More