SF’s Favorite Milk Tea: The American Boba Foodie’s Crave

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In the multitude of milk tea shops spawning across the Bay Area, we’re a little baffled about what’s good and, frankly, what’s terrible. Boba Guy’s, known as the “American Boba”, the go-to milkbar of Union Square and Mission denizens, creates a dynamic experience for their customers every time. Experience this next level quality front and center.

We don’t think there is a term in the English vocabulary quite like, “casual boba,” but here’s the thing–we truly mean it. Now with three high volume stores under their belt, Boba Guys, a San Francisco bellwether is setting the bar for milk tea on the west coast alone (without mentioning their east coast expansion.) But why? How? And is that even possible? All signs point to yes, however. 

The fan fave watering hole boasts beautifully curated imagery, snappy and relatable humor, and their social media presence is indefinitely on-point. Coming into 2016 with their youngest expansion of Tea People and being a true favorite of the Bob Cut staff, we had to get the low-down on why the masses lineup week to week to win their boba cravings.

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Starting with nothing but a recipe and a love of the savory drink, the founders, Andrew and Bin, found themselves developing common interests while both working for San Francisco-based bag company, Timbuk2. The two soon realized that boba could be their calling, “We soon took matters into our own hands and watched countless hours of YouTube videos about making the perfect cup of boba milk tea. We subsequently went to every boba shop in the city, hoping they could help us shed light on a seemingly clandestine food industry. The wheels were churning.”

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(Founders Bin and Andrew, Photo via YELP)

What makes their drinks so irresistible to the masses of San Francisco citizens who line up out the door is what is coined as their “next level quality.” “It means that our drinks are free of artificial ingredients and we never use powders. Our products are created only from the best ingredients we could source,” stated on the companies mission statement. And as a connoisseur of all things milk and tea, we can easily attest to the satisfying quality.

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Opening a pop-up nearly two months after their inital concept at Ken Ken Ramen, both Andrew and Bin set out to launch a full retail store in the heart of San Francisco. “We didn’t have a customer base. We didn’t even have a proper kitchen. We just knew we wanted the world to try our boba milk tea and break cultural barriers.“

With hundreds of people flocking to both their Mission and Union Square locations daily, the iconic anteater drinking a cup of boba can be seen from every angle, filter, and scenic SF vista ever photographed. Without fail, we do it as well, (see photo above.) But we get in line and jitter at the overwhelming happiness we feel as soon as our name is called and the milk tea decadence is in our hand. “At the end of our last first day of school (for undergrad), we came home and said “…I want boba guys"” said Bekah Cho from her recent visit to the shop in the Mission. While others exclaiming their everlasting love for the indepedantly owned shop, “Finally reunited with bae 💕 #bobaguys”.

Shouldn’t all businesses make you feel that way? and sadly, there hasn’t been a truly dedicated boba shop who truly connects with their customer on a one-on-one basis. It could, for all the more, be the fact that Boba Guys is inherently young and vibrant with roots to be further growing. But when the ability to feel served in such a fast paced enviorment imprints what we like to call, “good vibes” in your head.

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What do we recommend for you however? If you’re a first-time boba novice and have never really tasted the beauty behind tapioca balls then we think these will do the trick. From our every-other-day taste test, we say take on three of their super classic flavors such as 1.) A Classic Milk Tea, 2.) A Thai Tea, 3.) A Strawberry Matcha.

Still unsure about Boba Guys or milk tea in general? Refer back to this post when Andrew made his way from SF to the East Bay just to cater our first soft launch event. That’s a founder we can really get behind. At the end of the day, “We Give a Damn” really comes forth from both Andrew, Bin, and their incredible team. Go forth and pearl on.


Written by Anthony Rogers, Photographed by Myles Penaflor, get to know your balls better. the Bob cut x Boba Guys love is so real, take a look at the last event we did together. Eat your way through SF’s rich food scene. No pun intended.

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