Best boba tea: Kung Fu Tea

By Vivian La, Assistant News Editor

Bubble tea — also known as boba milk tea, pearl tea, tapioca or simply boba — is a favorite among both University students and local residents. The tea drink originated in Taiwan during the early 1980s and made its way to the U.S. about a decade later. Bubble tea was popularized in California before the craze spread throughout the country as East Asian communities grew, and Champaign-Urbana is no exception.

The question of which place has the best bubble tea remains a popular discussion topic among students. This year, Kung Fu Tea defended its title for the second year in a row. 

As the country’s largest bubble tea brand with over 350 stores nationwide, KFT’s menu boasts colorful combinations of fruit, slush, classic teas and a variety of toppings. 

KFT routinely introduces new drinks, including ones inspired by characters like Kirby or the Minions from “Despicable Me.” In 2018, the store’s founders started National Bubble Tea Day to celebrate “the beverage that has made our lives bubblier,” according to their website.

Located at Green and Sixth streets, the bubble tea shop has a cozy atmosphere where people can be found playing a board game or lounging in the wooden booths. 

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    A combination of pop, lo-fi or R&B can be heard from the speakers and combines with the sounds of mixing tea machines and employees calling out orders. 

    The store is bustling and crowded throughout the day, but the lines are worth it for a taste of Champaign-Urbana’s best bubble tea.


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