The San Gabriel Valley, also known simply as the SGV and the 626 (named after the area code), is an absolute mecca when it comes to boba and milk tea.
And we’re not just talking Los Angeles, but we’re saying for all of California and even the United States.
In the SGV, boba and milk tea is more than just a simple drink. It’s a lifestyle. Whether it’s grabbing one for the road like one would grab a cup of coffee or stopping by every day after school to study and goof off with friends, boba is a cultural force of the area. It’s culture, it’s identity, and at the end of the day, it’s delicious.
This is a list of notable boba and milk tea places in the 626 in alphabetical order. Stuff in LA will try to keep it as updated as possible, and definitely send us an e-mail if we missed any of your favorites.
7 Leaves is a classic cafe with Vietnamese roots; it first started in Little Saigon in the OC in 2011. 7 Leaves now has expanded all across Southern and Northern California along with locations in places like Nevada and Texas. The Vietnamese coffee and mung bean milk tea, and assam milk teas are Stuff in LA’s personal favorites.
AU 79 Tea House
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AU79, which is named after the periodic symbol (Au) and number (79) for Gold, is a classic; it’s been open in the SGV since 1998. With unique gradient drinks like the Passionfruit Dream as well as the usual go-tos, it’s hard to go wrong here.
Aplus Tea House
Aplus Tea House touts what it calls “authentic Taiwanese recipes” along with unique topping options like pink boba. It also has tons of rotating Taiwanese dishes every day of the week, so you can make a whole meal out of a visit here.
BoBaPOP is easily identifiable with its wall of paper lanterns and its cute dog logo. The signature milk tea and milk foam tea menus are our favorites here with the fruit teas and slushes great options for a lighter summer drink.
Boba Ave 8090
Boba Ave 8090 actually has three locations in the general area: two in San Gabriel, and one in Rancho Cucamonga (hey, we said general. While their boba (like their cheese foam milk tea) is solid, their food is actually one of the main highlights here: popcorn chicken, bento boxes, and fries are good choices.
What’s immediately eye-catching about Boba Box is the design of its milk tea container–it’s shaped like a box! The logo is also *chef’s kiss* very satisfying in the sense it also fits the name. We’re a fan of the strawberry matcha latte due to their strawberry puree being on point, but actually we feel pretty comfortable recommending anything here due to not just the aesthetics but the flavors.
BOPOMOFO CAFE (ㄅㄆㄇㄈ)
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Graba Guava Ba La Matcha! Quick Mandarin lesson, “ba la” is how you say guava in Taiwan! Those street juice carts in the humid Taiwan weather inspired this delicious drink! Pure guava nectar (no artifical syrups or concentrate), lactose free milk (or sub @califiafarms oat milk), and premium matcha! Layered so you can see all the real ingredients! Summer in a cup 😘😎 Part of our new summer menu! Who’s tried?
Bopomofo is best known for being started by the Youtube-famous Wong Fu Productions’ Philip Wang along with friend and co-founder Eric Wang. The focus is on fresh and real ingredients and celebrating the Asian-American identity. Check out awesome takes like the Mint Matcha Latte, the Carrot Matcha Latte, and the Strawberry Basil Ginger Lemonade, and take refuge in classics like Jasmine Green Tea and Assam Milk Tea.
Bubble Crush has wonderful options like Ceylon Milk Tea, White Peach Oolong with Cheese Foam, and more. A recent addition is the option of upgrading for 50 cents to a cute-looking robot cup.
A Taiwanese cafe that also features food like popcorn chicken, minced meat rice, brick toast, Taiwanese pork cutlet rice, and more. The Panna Cotta Milk Tea with boba is a nice choice here, but all the drinks here aren’t overwhelmingly sweet and are solid.
CHICHA San Chen (吃茶三千)
Founded in 1998 in Taiwan, CHICHA San Chen focuses on its traditional method of brewing its tea–which it freshly brews for each cup–to highlight its drinks. Some of our favorites are the Osmanthus Oolong Tea drinks, the Lemon Condensed Milk, and the Dong Ding Oolong Tea drinks.
Emphasizing high quality teas, Cha Redefine has a fresh feel to it. If you’re less into boba and more into teas, this is probably your stop. The selection of teas, lattes, and pastries would make any tea lover happy.
Instantly recognizable with their cute unicorn logo, Coffee Zone near the NBC and LA Fitness plaza is a quaint and cute place to hang out (in normal times). The teas here are wonderful, and don’t sleep on their lattes (their latte art is mint, by the way) and food options.
Cup of Cha
A chic tea joint with a dizzying array of options, Cup of Cha is fun in the customizable aspect (or, if you want things easier, just go with a specialty drink). One of the better options in Downtown Monrovia.
You might want to look up what a “dingleberry” is after your stay here, but it’s not like their logo is hiding anything. The drink names may also be similarly silly in their names, but the options and flavors are no joke.
Factory Tea Bar
Factory Tea Bar is another classic of the SGV; its dark interior is a chill place to talk with friends, play a few board or card games, or just study. They’ve recently added a larger arcade too to really make it a one-stop shop for killing time. We suggest the Nom Nom milk, which is a sweet lover’s paradise in the form of boba.
Half and Half
One of the classics of the 626, Half and Half is known just as much as their fat cups as their signature drinks like the Iced Milk with Caramel, Pudding, and Honey Boba.
Happy Lemon, with a logo that is literally a very happy lemon, is a pretty big franchise now with over 1000 locations across the world–which is pretty impressive. It’s best known for its salted cheese series, which Happy Lemon says it originated all the way back in 2006. Honestly, we here at Stuff in LA actually think it’s very, very solid and seriously among the top tier of milk tea; don’t let the big-name chain scare you away.
First of all, the logo here with the kiwi drinking the boba is one of the best things we’ve seen. Secondly, this place in a large plaza in southern El Monte is great for milk tea, but we’re excited about the mojitos.
Hide Out Cafe
Fantastic coffee like espresso shots and wonderful tea along with a nice variety of cafe-style food options. (Psst: try the Deep Fried platter with waffle fries, mozzarella sticks, and chicken tenders)
Jin Tea Shop
Jin has that fancy feel with with its tall bottles and premium prices, but the quality cold brew tea and clean aesthetic might just be worth it for you.
Junbi has an emphasis on matcha, and as a result they have an extensive matcha menu along with regular milk tea, tea, and coffee options. Matcha gradients tend to always look and taste good, and Junbi is proof of that.
Labobatory has a fun concept of a science lab–classic drinks like Roasted Oolong Milk Tea and Thai Tea fall under the “Control Group” section of its menu while its more daring drinks like the Lebanese Rose Milk Tea, ABG (Asian Boba Girl), To All the Yogurts I’ve Loved Before, and 50 Shades of Earl Grey fall under the “Laws of Laboratory” and “Experimental” arenas.
Coffee and boba options buoyed by food options like popcorn chicken, waffles, cakes, Macchiato is a cute and modern cafe that’s a worthy addition to the scene.
Mana Tea House
A little boba shop with a lot of heart, Mana is a great spot for the younger crowd with its toy decorations and artwork, but it also has plenty that will make adults happy too. Try the honey green tea with grass jelly if that’s your jam.
Miss Cheese Tea Cafe
With tons of dessert options (including Korean bingsoo and Japanese soufflé pancakes) to go along with the tea options, Miss Cheese Tea Cafe is a sweet tooth’s paradise.
Miss Tea has amazing art in its interior that will just make you smile, but it’s the year-round buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) deal that is truly standout here; for that alone, it’s worth trying the drinks here.
NEST TEA HOUSE
The Hokkaido Milk Tea with boba is a crowd favorite–the tea, boba, and variety here all are quality, and the no-caffeine menu is a thoughtful touch.
Located in the infamous Atlantic Times Square in Monterey Park, One Zo is a good option with housemade boba that you can see the staff working on when you visit.
Sunright Tea Studio
The fresh fruit drinks here are refreshing and unique, but the milk tea and ordinary tea drinks are fantastic as well; the brown sugar boba option is always a welcome treat.
T To Tea
T to Tea is an absolute gem for its latte art, some of which you can see above–Animal Crossing? Kakao Friends? They can do it! The drinks themselves are also consistently high-rated and raved about; this place is one of our favorites on the list.
One of the best parts of Tancha are their cup lids which you can slide open and closed; try adding the tiramisu foam and the cheese foam to your drinks here.
Tastea used to be the thing, and its amount of locations now is proof that it’s still around to stay. Both the fruity drinks and the milk tea drinks are consistently good.
Another freshly made boba joint, Tea Maru has a premium emphasis that’s reflected in their drinks and prices. We like that there are so many boba options: brown sugar boba, mango boba, strawberry boba, and sweet potato boba, for instance.
In case you were ever wondering, TeaBrick is that place with the really cute reusable bottle designs that feature everything from corgis to shibas. If you want to try something different, we hear that the durian shake is actually pretty darn good.
TeaMorrow is a wonderful spot with a cute dinosaur logo, and everything from the zha jiang mian, wontons, and other Taiwanese food options to the Matcha Bandera, Honey Lavender Tea, and other drinks is a total delight.
Ten Ren’s Tea Time
There are a ton of Ten Ren’s around, and it’s certainly a consistent option with a lot of options for both drinks and food. If you’re ever around one, you know what you’re going to get, and sometimes that’s all you want.
The Alley is literally in an alley on Colorado Blvd. in Old Town Pasadena. Try the Brown Sugar Creme Brûlée Deeroica Milk (and try saying that 10 times fast). Fun fact: The Alley was featured in the K-drama The King: Eternal Monarch starring Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun.
A legend out of NorCal, the arrival of Tpumps to the LA area was a big deal. The main attraction at Tpumps is the variety of syrups to create some interesting sweet combinations–and it’s actually kind of overwhelming how many choices there are.
Twinkle Brown Sugar
A cute spot, Twinkle Brown Sugar has a great selection of drinks in Huntington Park–an area not particularly known for its boba options.
Right off the 10 highway, Twisteas is pure quality. The interesting fruit drinks like the Lychee Hurricane and Loco Mango are really refreshing; don’t miss the Mojiteas either for their minty fresh flavor.
The popcorn chicken and other Taiwanese dishes here are delicious; pair one of them with something simple like Jasmine Milk Tea with boba, and you’ve got quite the happy experience.