On June 7, 2005, the launch of Albuquerque’s first made “you suck” acceptable in polite vernacular. Long a pop culture term of mock derision, “suck” refers, in this case, to the drawing in of liquid refreshment by creating a vacuum in the mouth. More specifically, it refers to the act of sucking through an oversized straw, the tea, milk tea, hot tea, slush and smoothie beverages at the Boba Tea Company.
The Boba Tea Company is the brainchild of Vi and Hoa Luong, the enterprising duo which made Cafe O one of the city’s best restaurant launches (and lunches) in 2004. Wanting to create a “Starbucks for the younger generation” the Luongs have revolutionized tea drinking with a quantum departure from high tea tradition made fashionable in England. Boba tea certainly does that.
Tracing its roots back to Taiwan in the early 1980s, boba tea is derived from the starch of the cassava root, a type of sweet potato. The bottom of each boba tea cup (plastic, not china) is lined with gooey, gelatinous globules that seem to inherit the flavor of the drink. If you’re not a connoisseur of exotic teas, you can partake of boba slushes, as refreshing and intensely fruity beverage as you’ll find anywhere.
My early favorites are the raspberry and cantaloupe slushes, both of which taste like the pulpy area of the fruits from which their flavors are derived. Slurprisingly good is the chocolate milk slush which tastes like a liquefied fudgecicle. A chocolate/orange combination brought to mind the gourmet chocolates often sold around Valentine’s Day. The menu includes many unique flavors such as lychee, mung bean and more that will keep me busy trying to find a new favorite.
Situated next to Cafe O, the Boba Tea Company is designed as a fun for all ages (with an emphasis on youth) store staffed by a young, energetic staff. When completed, the Web site promises to be almost as fun to visit as the store where in addition to boba tea and slush, you can purchase tee shirts, hoodies, hats and camis inviting you to “join the Bobalution.” We’ve joined!