Not your normal breakfast brew: Bubble tea takes over the Roman

With 15 bubble tea shops in a two-mile radius of Roman Road, discover a world of pure imagination where flavour knows no limit. 

Compared to your humble English breakfast brew, bubble tea feels fit for Willy Wonka’s fantasy world, but this new craze is taking East London by storm. 

Bubble tea is a drink that usually consists of tea infused with fruit juices or milk, with a layer of jelly-like tapioca pearls that settle at the bottom of the cup. The syrupy balls are slurped up through an extra thick straw and burst with flavour in your mouth – at once a drink and a sweet snack.

Don’t think it’s for you? You might be surprised. Die-hard coffee drinkers may like the black tea varieties, with Mooboo even offering savoury teas including ‘salty matcha.’ If it’s an energy fix you’re after, head to BubbleUpp to find its range of energy drink flavoured bubble teas, sure to give you a double hit of sugar and caffeine.   

The quick succession of bubble tea stores trading in the area points to a wider obsession for the sweet and colourful drink. The first bubble tea shop opened over ten years ago in London. Now, there are around 250 bubble tea shops across the UK.

With 15 bubble tea shops to choose from within a two mile radius of Roman Road, we are spoilt for choice. Following National Bubble Tea Day on Saturday 30 April, we’ve rounded up a list of our local favourites to make your decision a little easier. Welcome to the quirky world of bubble tea.

Mooboo

BEST FOR: Limitless choice

Bubble tea at Mooboo

UK bubble tea franchise, Mooboo, offers its customers on the Roman over 1,000 combinations of its sweet-flavoured teas. On its opening day in February, Mooboo sold over 500 cups of the tapioca tea. Top sellers include fruit teas, crème brûlée tea, and brown sugar tea, but as stated on its website, with so many options to choose from ‘the sky is the limit.’   

Visit Mooboo at 585 Roman Rd, Bow, London E3 2HH.

BubbleUpp

BEST FOR: Traditional Japanese desserts

BubbleUp shop front on Roman Road

Opening on the Roman in February 2022, this neighbourhood newbie has stirred up Bow’s bubble tea scene with its unique menu of mocktail-inspired teas and unlikely flavours, featuring everything from Red Bull to ‘Hubba Boba’ chewing gum flavoured tea. As of May 2022 the café will also serve traditional Japanese Soufflé pancakes alongside their teas. According to BubbleUpp owner, Masum Hussain, these lighter-than-air traditional desserts are the first of their kind in the East End.

Find BubbleUpp at 361a Roman Rd, Bow, London E3 5QR

Yi Fang Taiwan Fruit Tea

BEST FOR: Traditional Taiwanese tea 

Bubble tea from YiFang Taiwan Fruit T

A fusion of old and new, Yi Fang Taiwan Fruit Tea brews a selection of traditional Taiwanese fruit teas made according to the founder’s secret family recipes. Also on the menu is Yi Fang’s take on the popular pearly bubble teas of today. Order the ‘Mudflip’ and watch the brown sugar pearls mix and mingle among the milky tea as if they are in a lava lamp. The resulting treacle-like flavour will certainly satisfy your sweet tooth. 

Visit Yi Fang at 383a Mile End Rd, Bow, London E3 4QS

Bubblin Café

BEST FOR: Lunchtime sushi & tea

Bubble tea at Bubblin Cafe

The OG source of bubble tea on Roman Road, Bubblin café is better known for its sushi, sashimi and rice bowls. If you fancy a cooling tea alongside your meal, or something sweet to finish, we recommend their brown sugar milk tea: milky and malty assam tea is drizzled with brown sugar and topped with crushed oreos. For a refreshing summery taste, try its best-selling passion mango fruit tea.

Bubblin café can be found at 521 Roman Road, London E3 5EL.

What the Bubbles

BEST FOR: creative customisation

Inside of What the Bubbles bubble tea cafe

Who’s too old for bubble tea? According to the Aziz brothers, owners of What the Bubbles, no one. Injecting some child-like fun into your day, this family-run bubble tea business is located next-door to Mile End tube station. So instead of grabbing that over-brewed coffee on your commute, excite your taste buds with a personalised fruit tea. We hear the lychee flavour with passionfruit bobas pops off. 

Find What the Bubbles at 572 Mile End Road, London, E3 4PH

If you enjoyed this read, take a look at our round-up of the best places to have lunch around Roman Road.

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