Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Taro Milk Tea from R & B Cafe

Do you remember when I went through a taro milk tea phase a while ago?  You may recall a slew of reviews, all of fairly mediocre bubble tea, concluding with me deciding that basic Quickly is about the best I can find.  Well, the craving for bubble tea hit me again, and I was delighted to discover that R & B Cafe, located just a few blocks from my office, has bubble tea, and incredibly customizable bubble tea at that!

R & B Cafe offers online ordering via eat24, including through the mobile PayPal app, which I did as I headed out the door, hoping my order would be ready as I walked in.

As an aside, the PayPal app is much more stable now, it no longer crashes like when I ordered a taro milk tea from Chai Yo (spoiler: Chai Yo's version is better than R & B), although my experience wasn't as seamless as when I used it for taro milk tea from Cocoa Cafe (spoiler: Cocoa Cafe MUCH better than R & B).

As I said, I placed my order as I left the office, but unlike my pickup experience at Cocoa Cafe, my order was not ready when I arrived.  Nor was it even started.  Why?  Because they were out of the taro that I asked to have as my "topping", rather than boba (one of the many choices).  So I asked for the red bean as my next choice.  And ... they were out of that.  The only options were regular tapioca, or, popping boba in a few flavors.   Boo.  A lot of the reason I picked R & B Cafe as my source of bubble tea, besides convenient location, was the topping choices!

Anyway, service was friendly enough, and they made my drink quickly once consulting with me on adding regular boba instead, but I won't be going back.
Taro Bubble Milk Tea, Green Tea, Lightly Sweet, Honey Boba. $2.95.
R & B offers incredibly customizable milk teas.

To start, you pick a base of black or green tea.  Since I didn't want tons of caffeine, I went for green.  I can't say I tasted a difference, and many places don't even use tea in their milk teas anyway.

Next, you pick the flavor.  12 different fruity flavors were offered, but, I only wanted taro.  Like most places, a powder was used for the taro flavor.  Unfortunately, even though it was a vibrant purple color, there was somehow no taro flavor to it.  I honestly wouldn't have known it was taro.  Very disappointing.

Next, toppings.  As I mentioned, I was excited to have additional taro in my taro tea, but alas, they didn't have any.  Nor did they have red bean.  I didn't want fruity popping boba, so I went for the classic boba instead.

The tapioca were fairly awful.  Really soft and mushy, just like the horrible tapioca I had in my taro milk tea from Little Garden.  Luckily for me I guess, there really wasn't much tapioca added, which I originally thought was lame when I saw the small quantity in my large drink, but ended up appreciating this since I didn't want the tapioca.

And finally, sweetness.  I appreciated that this was an decision you had to make when you order, rather than needing to specify it separately.  "Light", "Normal", or "Very" were my options, and I wisely went for "light" remembering numerous too sweet experiences in the past.  I think I made the right choice.  It was certainly sweet enough, but not overwhelming.  Perhaps the only element of this milk tea that I actually liked.

Clearly, this was not a winner, and I won't be getting another.

The price of $2.95 was right in the middle of the range of others around town.  Interestingly, a single topping is included in the base price, rather than a $0.50 add-in like most others.  Obviously, the $1.99 Quickly version is the best deal in town, but R & B was more reasonable than $4.40 charged by Little Garden, or $3.50 from Cocoa Cafe or Chai Yo.
R&B Cafe on Urbanspoon
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