All right, Boba Guys– I’ve been following them for some time on social media. They’re quite trendy with their online presence and their drink posts always look so fun and peculiar: Matchata (matcha and horchata), Chocochata, coconut green tea, etc. First their New York locations then they finally expanded and landed in California, specifically up in NorCal, San Francisco. I was a little bummed they didn’t decide to come down to SoCal first, but theorizing that perhaps the boba scene is far too expansive and competitive in southern California to take on for a start up franchise. My personal theory, take it with a grain of salt.
Having been in the tea scene as well as working in the tea industry myself for the last 3.5 years I’ve started to take notice that there are two worlds with sub branches of different eclectic tastes and trends in the tea industry. Like all things, there is a beginning, the seed that sprouted and grew roots that started everything. That is where one part of the tea industry comes from, the traditional brewing masters with their age long history of brewing techniques and tea leaf teachings. They have a set of standards and way of doing things that they do not mess with that to this day still exists with companies like Ten Ren’s Tea (sister store: Tea Station). Now, of course with time roots branch off and sometimes bloom into slightly different things. Example businesses, AU79, Quickly, Lollicup, Coco, Gong Cha, 85c Bakery, etc. Albeit known to be fast food of boba places, their roots still stems from the traditional brewing methods of the old ways.
Then in recent years there has been a rise of modern American boba tea places like Milk Box and Boba Guys. To which I find similarities that these business are usually started by American millennials who are fascinated with the tea industry. Their taste in teas are definitely different from that of the traditional sense. They enjoy concocting stranger mixes of flavors like using cinnamon, horchata, chocolate and lime together, agua frescas, etc. Their teas also much lighter in flavor compared to the traditional taste palette of aromatically bitter flavor that comes naturally with most traditionally brewed teas. I find it’s this because it’s to suit the younger American generation of taste palettes.
It was because my boyfriend and I made our way to San Francisco for Christmas holidays we and found ourselves quite thirsty after walking for hours site seeing that we decided to hit up their Fillmore location. We ordered a Matchata ($6.00) and a coconut green tea ($5.50). Coconut green tea wasn’t bad, in fact I quite liked the flare of coconut flavor fused into the green tea, it was the strongest flavor that presented itself and also gave it a nice nuttiness to it. Although coconut aspect was good, I found the green tea part VERY bland and watered down, no hint of the bitterness that I enjoy normally in my green tea. Disappointing. The boyfriend unfortunately did not enjoy his Matchata (and he LOVES matcha and horchata on their own). He found the two flavors very strange and did not meld well together in one drink.
Also, just a personal thing, I find their store hours a little too wonky and inconsistent. Not a huge fan of having two different opening times and THREE different closing times. LOL.
Not to mention they’re also expensive for what they sell, close to $15.00 after tax and tip for TWO drinks. Would I go out of my way to go to Boba Guys again? Sad to say, but probably not. Their menu and taste doesn’t match up with my own tea preferences and much better left to people who enjoy less bitter teas as well as interesting and outside the box flavors.
Address: 1522 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115