Boba (also known as bubble tea) has grown in popularity in Indy, and for good reason. This unique, chunky beverage is not only refreshing and tasty, but it’s also fun to drink, too! These brightly colored beverages with gummy balls on the bottom of the cup are fun for kids, and let’s face it, fun for adults, too. Here’s what you need to know about the boba scene in Indy!
What is Boba and Bubble Tea?
The word “boba” is used to describe small, chewy pearls made from tapioca, a naturally gluten-free starch that comes from cassava root. To get the tapioca pearls to a soft, slurpable consistency, the boba balls are boiled until they’re tender. These gummy pearls are added to your choice of beverage (usually a tea-based drink) and gather at the bottom of your cup. They look like little bubbles — hence the term “bubble tea.”
As you drink your beverage, the boba pearls are slurped through a straw, and you can drink and chew your beverage at the same time! It’s a unique flavor and texture experience. Kids especially get a thrill from boba and bubble tea, because drinking bubble tea is like playing a guessing game: You never know when a boba pearl will pop into your mouth!
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Where to Find Boba and Bubble Tea in Indy
The Indianapolis area has quite a few restaurants and shops that serve boba and bubble tea. Here are some places where you can find this unique drink.
Offering fruit smoothie boba drinks, which take the boba drink to a whole other (and kid-friendly) level. Or choose one of their specialty boba drinks, like green tea slush or horchata. Pick from three different types of boba pearls: popping, regular pearls and juicy. Then, grab a bagel to enjoy with your beverage, which comes with your choice of spread or butter. | 1220 Waterway Blvd., Indianapolis
This juice bar and smoothie shop offers a variety of boba beverages to suit every palate. Their best-sellers include their fruit punch boba drinks, as well as milky cap drinks that have a thick layer of subtly salty milk floating on top. You’ll also find slushies and seasonal specials that change every few months. | 2683 E. Main St., Plainfield
Their large and unique milk tea selection includes some unusual flavors (think taro milk tea) but also more familiar favorites (like caramel milk tea). Add boba to any drink, or choose mango jelly, which has the squishy consistency of boba but are more rectangular in shape. They also have a small selection of sweet treats, like shortbread cookies, tarts and truffles. Like their name suggests, Latea is also a lounge, with lots of chairs and tables (plus seating upstairs!), so you can sit and enjoy your unique treats. | 530 Massachusetts Ave., Indianapolis
With three locations in the Indianapolis area, PANA is a one-stop shop for sugary fixes. Their popping boba drinks can be made into smoothies or you can opt for a classic tea boba beverage. And don’t forget to pick up some donuts while you’re there! | 5370 E. Thompson Rd., Indianapolis
Serving up a vast variety of boba teas that are brewed and made to order, with several different kinds of boba — everything from mango boba to yoghurt boba. This is the place to visit if you’re also looking to indulge in Asian desserts, because you’ll find many on the menu: Thai rolled ice cream, Hong Kong bubble waffle, Korean shaved ice and more. | 6386 E. 82nd St. Indianapolis
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Located inside Viet Hua Supermarket just north of Greenwood, Yabarr has a wide variety of boba drinks that can be served either hot or cold. This place specializes in boba drinks, so you’ll find lots of different flavors of boba, including mango popping boba, and several different kinds of jelly, like heart-shaped strawberry jelly, star-shaped mango jelly, and pineapple jelly. | 8031 Madison Ave., Indianapolis
The most popular offerings at Youmi are the milk tea and fruit tea boba drinks, which feature popping boba in flavors like pomegranate, lychee and peach. For a refreshing twist, try their frozen lemonade boba drink, which you can customize with different flavored syrups. Save room for one of Youmi’s crepes, like the much-loved Nutella-banana-strawberry crepe, or the apple cinnamon crepe. | 823 Broad Ripple Ave., Indianapolis
This fast-casual restaurant serves Asian comfort food, including a selection of fresh-brewed boba beverages. Specialty boba drinks include the Brown Sugar Genmaicha (milky black tea with streaks of brown sugar) and Strawberry Assam (strawberry milk mixed with tea). Add boba pearls to any of their smoothie drinks for a refreshing and fun experience. | 9431 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis