We've combed the West for the very best flavor experiences, all worthy of a culinary pilgrimage
Photo by Laure Joliet
Remember the Frappuccino? Yeah, neither do we. Once tapioca drinks exploded onto the scene about a decade ago, the midday sugar-fix-through-a-straw got a lot more interesting. Bubble (or "boba") teas originated in Taiwan before moving east to the Asian communities and micro-communities of the West. Now you can't walk ten city blocks, it seems, without drifting into a Quickly, Tapioca Express, or any of a thousand other pearl shacks where you'll be greeted by a freakishly long list of exotic juices (sour plum, wax gourd), slushes (kumquat-lime, red bean), and milk teas (almond, litchi)—none of which is complete without a handful of gummy tapioca beads dropped in. So pick a flavor, grab a fat straw, and say goodbye to Starbucks.