Tahoe’s Best Boba Tea

Tahoe Bear Tea House. | Kayla Anderson

It seems like in the past few years, boba tea (aka bubble tea) has taken the world by storm, especially in Asia where it originated. The trend has since migrated to the West Coast and now there are a few boba tea shops in Truckee and Tahoe.

If you’re not familiar with it, boba is a cold, creamy tea drink containing chewy tapioca pearls. Here’s where to find the best bubble tea in Tahoe.

Tahoe Bear Tea House
Tahoe Bear Tea House opened on the South Shore in October 2021 and it’s been busy ever since.

“There wasn’t any boba tea anywhere in South Shore, so we opened this to have something new and authentic for tourists and visitors,” says co-owner Lisa Atibtra, who is originally from Bangkok, Thailand.

“There wasn’t any boba tea anywhere in South Shore, so we opened this to have something new and authentic for tourists and visitors.”
–Lisa Atibtra

Tahoe Bear offers dozens of different boba tea options including its Fire BEAR signature series. One can get cheese teas or teas made with aloe vera.

The options were all attractive, but I couldn’t pass up the Hokkaido Milk Tea because I’m a sucker for anything with Hokkaido cream. It was as decadent as I imagined, the thick brown-sugar tapioca pearls at the bottom tasted like bits of candy as I sucked them through the straw. | tahoebearteahouse.com

TV Donuts
TV Donuts in South Lake Tahoe crushes it in both the delectable donuts and boba tea category. It has at least a dozen different milk teas, the most popular are Thai tea, Taro tea and the mango and strawberry versions. The teas and fresh tapioca balls are made daily and lychee jelly can be added to any boba tea for an extra fee.

TV Donuts sources high-quality products from Taiwan and makes its teas from scratch (not from a powder), so it can adjust the sweetness of any tea to match people’s preferences and diet.

“I’m diabetic and this is the only place I can go to get a boba tea with no sugar,” a customer with a lovely-looking purple taro tea said.

I tried the Thai tea with boba and lychee jelly, requested at a medium sweetness. It was cold, refreshing, and felt healthy; the juicy, lychee jelly and boba that I slurped up from the bottom seemed like a treat. | tv-donuts.business.site

Cha Fine Teas of Truckee
What better drink to beat the heat with than a boba on a hot, summer day in Truckee? Over at Cha Fine Teas, at least six people came in within a half-hour to get an iced-boba drink, choosing from a large variety of flavors.

Cha opened eight years ago and sells around 80 varieties of loose-leaf teas. Then a few years ago, owners Cindy Shippy and her daughter Tina Peek noticed that more visitors coming into town were asking about boba. So, they developed 10 recipes and invited kids from the nearby schools for a taste testing.

Cha ended up with different-flavored versions with black tea, green tea and hibiscus tea bases; its most popular versions are Thai tea and matcha. I opted for the Pink Passion Lemonade, which has a little sugar and no dairy or caffeine. It immediately quenched my thirst and I downed half of it before I even reached my car. | chafineteasoftruckee.com