San Francisco has so many offerings for both residents and visitors. Its spectacular views and cool, breezy weather really just can’t be beat. The city boasts everything from museums and restaurants to parks and hikes. All of which are truly world class. Of all the incredible perks of the San Francisco Bay Area, one of my personal favorites is the countless boba tea options. Boba, also referred to ask bubble tea or milk tea, has become wildly popular in the United States over the past decade. Its refreshing tea base and chewy tapioca pearls now come in a variety of flavors and appeal to customers of all backgrounds. If you live in the area or are here for a visit, I encourage you to check out at least one of my boba tea favorites. Read on to see my take on the top 5 boba spots in San Francisco.
Though it is relatively new to the Bay Area, Bobaville has grown to be one of my favorite spots to grab bubble tea. Located on Gellert Boulevard in Daly City, just a few miles south of San Francisco, Bobaville makes their tea and boba pearls from scratch each day. Bobaville started as a husband and wife duo who were inspired to open their own boba shop to bring fresh, authentic boba flavors and ingredients to their local community. All drinks are made with real fruits instead of dehydrated powders. They are big believers in quality, and that is reflected in their excellent drinks. They have a wide range of tea flavors from Assam to Oolong. Their drinks can be made vegan with non-dairy milk options, or for the creaminess lovers with heavy cream. They have something for everyone. Since this location is locally owned, I recommend Bobaville to anyone who is looking for a quality milk tea but prefers to spend their dollars locally.
Recommendations: Matcha Latte & Hong Kong Milk Tea
Location: 346 Gellert Blvd Daly City, CA 94015
4. Black Sugar
Credit: @blacksugarboba on Instagram
Since 2018, Black Sugar consistently has been in my top five. Using only the best ingredients and local dairy products, Black Sugar is able to produce a high-quality bubble tea, and that is clear every time I take a sip. Their menu offers tons of customization options including a “sweetness” level. This is perfect for me on the days when I try to be more conscious of my sugar intake. My personal favorite is the mango matcha latte. It’s not only delicious, but it’s also aesthetically pleasing! Of course, with how delicious it is, I never get to admire its looks for very long. Located near Union Square in San Francisco, Black Sugar is offered on all of the popular delivery options from GrubHub to Uber Eats. They even cater! If you are having a large event and looking for a unique treat to serve guests, then Black Sugar’s teas would be a fun addition to any gathering.
Recommendation: Mango Matcha Latte
Location: 320 O'Farrell St San Francisco, CA 94102
3. Urban Ritual
Credit: @urbanritualcafe on Instagram
Next on the list, Urban Ritual is known for its specialty drinks. This location was opened to create a healthier alternative for beverages on the go in the San Francisco Bay Area. From matcha toffee to creme brulee, they have a specialty for everyone. Even if you bring a friend who is not a fan of milk tea, they have a couple of coffee options as well. I recommend this to those who may not be long-time boba fanatics as their menu offers a step-by-step ordering process to help boba first-timers craft their ideal drink. Since they are located on Fell Street in San Francisco, I tell any of my friends visiting the area that there is no better tourist activity than grabbing a milk tea from Urban Ritual and taking a stroll down to see the SF staple: the Painted Ladies. This location offers online ordering with contactless in-store pick up. They also offer delivery via Doordash and Uber Eats.
Recommedations: Matcha Toffee & Creme Brulee
Location: 488 Fell St San Francisco, CA 94102
Credit: @cupofhotkoko_ on Instagram
Located on Kearny Street near St. Mary’s Square, Plentea aims to create milk tea that avoids any artificial ingredients or preservatives. The Plentea owners source all of their dairy locally from Clover Stornetta Dairy which was the first rBST-free dairy in California. All of the teas offered are organically grown in Yunnan, China. You will not find powders here! And though their menu offers over 20 different types of bubble tea, my favorite is the house blend boba. I also just love that Plentea serves its drinks in glass bottles, a unique and sustainable take on the usual plastic cups. Their menu offers a lot of variety, but they state that there are some drinks that they are not able to customize. The good news is that all of their specialty teas are so great that there’s not a lot that I’d want to customize anyway.
Recommendations: House Milk Tea & Matcha Latte
Location: 341 Kearny St San Francisco, CA 94108
1. Boba Guys
Credit: @oinkereats on Instagram
With multiple locations throughout San Francisco, Boba Guys are the hands down best milk tea shop in all of San Francisco. Their drinks are always free from powders and other artificial ingredients, and they make all their own syrups and use only dairy sourced locally. They have a commitment to sustainability, so all of their straws are made of biodegradable bamboo fiber. And I can confirm that their straws never get soggy - if you’ve ever used a paper straw before, you know what I mean. Though their menu features a wide variety of options, my personal recommendation is the strawberry matcha latte. For those who are not lucky enough to live near a Boba Guys, they offer “The Boba Kit” which you can order off their website. This kit contains all of the ingredients needed to make boba in the comfort of your own home. If that’s not for you, and you are in the area, I encourage you to call ahead and place an order for the best boba in town.
Recommendation: Strawberry Matcha Latte
Location: 3491 19th St San Francisco, CA 94110
For anyone who is looking to sip on some delicious, refreshing boba, it may seem like there are way too many options to choose from. I was happy to do all the sipping in advance to help narrow down which places are worth a visit. I hope this list of the best boba in San Francisco helps you choose wisely on where to spend your money so you can experience the tastiest tea in town.