Ranking Kingston’s best bubble tea

I tried all the boba spots around campus so you don't have to

No matter where you go in downtown Kingston, you'll find unique and delicious bubble tea.
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Chances are that if you drink boba tea (also known as bubble tea), you don’t just like it—you love it. The smooth milk tea and the squishy tapioca pearls makes for a dangerous combination out to get both your sanity and the cash in your wallet.

Despite the addictiveness of boba tea, life’s too short not to drink it. Better yet, it’s too short not to drink the best boba you can find. 

That’s why I recruited my friends to help me find the best boba tea around campus. Below is the lowdown on every place within walking distance from Queen’s. Continue reading at your own risk: you might fall in love with boba, or reignite your passion for it.

i-Tea

i-Tea is located in the heart of downtown Kingston, and because it’s open late and super cozy, it may soon become your favourite study spot.

When you arrive, you’ll want to sit in the large booth by the window in the back of the dining area. It’s the perfect spot for group cram sessions, and it happens to be where I was introduced to bubble tea for the first time.

i-Tea offers milk tea, flavoured ice tea, fresh brewed tea, honey yogurt juice, snow bubble, mousse, special mix, slush, smoothies, and hot drinks. Although the menu is extensive and full of great options, my top picks include the Royal Earl Grey Milk Tea and the Jasmine Green Tea.

When ordering, keep in mind that i-Tea has daily specials that combine a meal with a large bubble tea.

If you’re new to the boba tea game, the Roasted Milk Tea is a classic that’s to die for. It’s slightly bitter with a sweet aftertaste, and the flavour is exactly what you think of when you think of bubble tea

If you make a trip to i-Tea in the future, the Vintage Milk Tea is a new item that will appear on the menu soon. At first sip, it tastes exactly like the marshmallows in Lucky Charms. It’s sweet and light, and would be an absolute dream to wake up to instead of cereal.

At i-Tea, the tapioca pearls are perfectly squishy and so gosh darn good. As for price, milk teas are $4 for a medium, $4.50 for a large, and 50 cents for toppings.

ShareTea

This chain can be found all over the world, including right here in Kingston next to the Princess St.  Tim Horton’s. This location is modern, sleek, and as an added bonus, it has board games.

If you want to angrily throw tapioca pearls at your friends when you lose a round of cards, this is the spot to do it.

ShareTea offers fruit teas, brewed teas, milk teas, ice blended, and fresh milk. They’re also the only spot near campus that offers creama—a layer of foamy cream cheese on top of your drink that’s surprisingly wonderful.

My top picks at ShareTea include the Winter Melon Fruit Tea with Lime Juice and the Handmade Taro Fresh Milk Tea.

The Watermelon Fruit Tea with Lime Juice is possibly the most aesthetically pleasing drink you can find anywhere. It’s made to order with fresh watermelon, and you can tell as soon as you taste it. When you get creama on top, it adds an amazing salty flavour that offsets the sweetness of the drink.

Another highlight of my trip was the Classic Milk Tea with Black Tea, which was soothingly sweet and tasted rich even though it sat out melting while my friends and I took pictures.

At ShareTea, the tapioca pearls are chewy and, like everything else on the menu, you can really taste how fresh they are. In terms of price, milk teas are between $4.30 and $5.30 for a medium, $4.80 and $5.80 for a large, and 50 cents for toppings.

Classics Tea Lounge

Classics is an undiscovered gem and the perfect date spot.

Not only is it conveniently located at the corner of Princess and Division, but this tea shop feels like a high-end café (even though isn’t priced like one). If that’s not enough, there are more than enough plants to keep your spirits up when the weather gets cold. Plus, you can play pool for $10 an hour.

Classics offers milk tea, ice crush, sherbet, and calpical. Based on our trip, my top picks are the Sesame Sherbet with less sugar, the Green Tea Sherbet, and the Coconut Milk Tea.

The Milk Tea with Black Tea was rich, creamy, and on the sweeter side. The Taro Sherbet had the perfect amount of taro, a strong flavour that’s usually hard to work with. It was creamy without being too thick, and an appetizing purple colour.

Another highlight was the Mango Calpical, made with fresh mango. It tastes like ice cream and is super refreshing. It’s perfect for either summertime or deep into winter when you want to remember warmer months.

The tapioca pearls were squishy, delicious, and essential. As for the price, milk teas are $3.49 for a small, $4.49 for a large, 50 cents for toppings, and $1 for ice cream on top of your beverage.

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After my trip around downtown Kingston was complete, it proved hard to declare just one winner. However, I guarantee that no matter which location you choose, the boba tea will be delicious.

But if you’re looking for something special beyond taste, I suggest Classics Tea Lounge for their café aesthetic, ShareTea for their post-able tea pictures, and i-Tea for a cozy spot to study.

If you’re still curious about which of the three locations is best, go out, enjoy some boba tea, and decide for yourself.

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