Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Boba Fete.

OK, that headline isn't quite right, but the pun was hard to resist.

If I could, though, I would have a bubble tea party every day. Until that moment in my life comes, I am content to visit two primary bubble tea suppliers in the Dupont Circle area: Teaism and newcomer Du Froyo.

Bubble tea was invented in Taiwan, apparently, but I've encountered it more in Vietnamese-owned settings such as Out the Door in San Francisco, Eden Center shops in Falls Church, Va., and Du Froyo, which appears to be a sister business to the Vietnamese-run nail salon next door.

What's so great about bubble tea? For starters, it's a drink you can chew. For many people, that's a dealbreaker right there. For people like me, it's a heavenly combination of activities. It's sweet black tea with milk combined with chewy, gummy tapioca pearls and a big straw. What's not to like, other than a slightly elevated choking hazard?

The boba teas at Eden Center don't do much for me, personally. They taste more cloying and non-tea-like than the ones at Teaism and Du Froyo. Teaism has one flavor and one size: the equivalent of a Starbucks grande black tea boba, around $3.50. It's somewhat mild but perfectly sweet and enjoyable. The environment here is a plus: You can choose from a perch in their mini-garden out front or a spot in their somewhat claustrophic but nicely appointed upper floor.

Du Froyo offers three sizes and many flavors of boba, including frozen ones. This might seem counterintuitive -- why would one need the texture of frozen in a drink that already provides the texture of tapioca? -- but the combo is actually quite nice, especially in the frozen coconut boba.

Du Froyo is a bit more expensive, with prices starting at $3.95 for a small regular boba and $4.50 for a frozen one. However, it does offer a rewards card, in case you happen to be a frequent boba drinker. And it tends to be emptier, with an upstairs seating area that's rarely inhabited.

If you prefer to keep it simple and prefer wooden decor to neon colors, hit up Teaism. Either way, you can't go wrong.

Du Froyo
1709 Connecticut Ave. NW at R St.

2009 R St. NW at Connecticut

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