Crazy Bubble Tea: review

©Hazel Yuen

You could never say The Yorker isn't hot on its trends. Last year, Laura wrote about the increasingly popular bubble tea trend and whether it would ever make a welcome appearance in York. Fast forward nearly five months and.. Voila! Our prayers have been answered.

With an eye-catching orange and green balloon archway set up outside, presumably for its opening, the shop encapsulates the fun and eccentricity implicit in bubble tea. It also attracts more than a few curious looks from people walking past and many a local shaking their head and chuckling to themselves in an "Oh great, what new fad have these crazy cats concocted now?" kind of way. However, if you're adventurous enough to enter, the staff are very friendly and eager to initiate any first timers into the weird and wonderful world of bubble tea or to welcome back any connoisseurs.

©Hazel Yuen

A board behind the till showcases the many milk or fruit based teas available and it is by far the largest choice I have seen. You can personalise your tea exactly to how you like it whether you want it fruit or milk-based, hot or cold, and with whichever toppings you would like.

There is a large variety of 'pobbles' or jellies to add in at the end on display along the counter. The pobbles are an alternative to the normal chewy tapioca balls as they burst in your mouth. If you're unsure, there is a range of tasters lined up on the counter and you are urged not to be shy in trying out the different varieties. Whilst some of the fruit flavours, such as lychee, are a bit too sweet, the milk-based ones, like honeydew, are much better for those with not so much of a sweet-tooth.

Once you've chosen, it is a fun twist to be able to see the tea made before your eyes and they are equipped with all manner of cool little gadgets for just the purpose. A particular one that shakes the teas up cocktail-style came about as close to Wall-E in the cute robot stakes as it could, and actually had me awww-ing.

Being able to completely personalise your drink from the choosing of flavour, toppings, temperature and size before seeing it be made up, shaken and lidded means that when it is finally handed to you, it feels like your protégé. Even if it did taste awful, you would probably pretend it didn't (coffee milk tea with pineapple bubbles.. probably not the best idea).

However, you shouldn't have this problem as the staff are knowledgeable enough to steer you away from any mismatching disasters. I chose a caramel milk tea with coffee jellies at the bottom and it did not disappoint. As with the other milk-based teas it had a nice subtle flavour which wasn't too sickly and had added interest with the texture of the jellies.

At nearly £4 for one drink, it is slightly pricey although not much more than you would pay for a drink in a chain coffee shop and you get the added benefit of being able to congratulate yourself on making the more interesting choice.

Although I don't like to be a harbinger of doom and gloom, being directly across from a milkshake shop, I worry for how well the shop will fare. Whilst this isn't a reflection on the shop itself, bubble tea is definitely an acquired taste and although the shop would thrive in Soho, York seems to have more traditional tastes.

However, even if you aren't a bubble tea aficionado give the shop a try if only for the novelty value of exploding bubbles, huge straws and cute little machines. Arriving perfectly in time for Summer (although with the weather as of late, I say this very tentatively), if it had a few tables it would be an ideal place for a drink with friends. From the design of the shop to the making process to the drink itself, Crazy Bubble Tea smacks of cute, quirky charm. Try swapping your traditional PG Tips for its more exotic cousin and you won't be disappointed.

The 'China' label is a packaging quirk; they import the plastic wrap covers from Taiwan and you get random names of countries with your bubble tea ©Hazel Yuen


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