Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Bubble Nini Tea, Sydney

Bubble Nini Tea is ... a bubble tea shop.  And a flower shop.  A combination bubble tea flower shop.  For realz.

This is the kind of thing made for Instagram, but, it turns out, also makes quality beverages.  Let me introduce you to Bubble Nini Tea, in Chippendale, in Sydney.  Perhaps the highest quality bubble tea I've ever had.
A Delightful Experience.
My experience at Bubble Nini Tea was delightful, all around.  And I use that word intentionally.  It wasn't just a good beverage, but, the feeling I had both being there, in the lovely flower shop, and once I left, from consuming quality goods, was ... well, delight.

I learned that this is what milk tea made without crap can be like.  It can be ... fresh tasting.  Not unhealthy.  Sydney has a slew of bubble tea shops, ranging from chains with non-dairy creamer and powders and hard boba and too sweet jellies, to places that pride themselves on the quality of the tea, steeping it in small batches, to those that distinguish themselves by innovating on the toppings/additions (cheese foam is now fairly standard, but some places offer ... flavored cheese foam! Or, bruleed tops!  And more recently, purple rice or yogurt bases).

But how many use fresh milk?  That cuts the selection down quickly.  Real taro, rather than powder.  Now the pickings are slim.  And, handmade pearls, in a variety of flavors?

Pretty sure Bubble Nini Tea is the only one that meets this profile.

Setting

Bubble Nini Tea is located a block off of Central Park, in the new development near the uni in Chippendale. 
Storefront.
From the sidewalk, there isn't much to see, just a fairly standard storefront, no outside seating even.
Ordering Counter.
Once you step inside, it still doesn't look like much, at first glance.  An ordering counter with laminated menus sitting on it, and some flowers.  A small work area is behind the counter.

Its a small place, with a homey feels.
Seating.
But the moment you breath in, you realize you aren't in a normal small bubble tea shop.  You are also .. in a flower shop.  The aroma is strong.

There is very little seating, just a counter along the one window, with stools.  I think it could seat 4-5 people total.  And, as I said, no outdoor seating.  Not really a place to stick around, which is fine, as the park is just a block away.
Flowers.
The other half of the interior is filled with the flower arrangements.  Actually, this  may have been more than half the total floor space.  It seemed like a bit of an odd setup, really.

But it made for a very tranquil, nice smelling, experience.

Drinks

Bubble Nini Tea offers only drinks, no snacks or munchies.
Menu.
The menu is broken down into 5 categories: Bubble Nini Hand Made Pearls, Pure Tea, Fresh Fruit Infused, Blended Range, and Ice Cream Floats.  Each category had fewer and fewer options.

Each drink had a cute name ("It takes two to mango" might have been my favorite), and was designed with additions and bases.  It didn't seem like modifications were really a thing, no, pick your tea, pick your add ins, look at our huge list of toppings.

The menu had a few things that made me laugh though, besides the names.

At the bottom, the featured "Instagram Favourites".  Not the ones that taste the best, or they recommend, but, the Instagram sensations.  This did worry me slightly.

The guide at the bottom also designated which were H (Hot), which were C (Cold), and which were Crown (Popular).  Ok, fine, except that ... the only ones that had a crown were the first section "Bubble Nini Hand Made Pearls", and ... every single one in that section had a crown.  Does this mean the only popular drinks are the first section, so don't bother reading the rest of the menu?  And what about the fact that one of the featured Instagram Favourites came from another section, thus, no crown?  Its a fav, but not popular?

Anyway, my selection was easy, only one featured taro, both fresh taro AND hand made taro pearls, and that is certainly what I was going for, their take on a taro milk.  If I wanted something lighter, or more refreshing, one of the sparkling options with jellies, or the very Instagram worthy "Honey, I'm Home" with chia seeds and alvo vera and mint suspended in a beautiful butterfly pea flower tea would have been my picks.
Requisite Flower Shot.
Before I left the shop, I of course felt compelled to take my photo of the fairly beautiful beverage, in front of a wall of flowers.  I wasn't going to but ... I mean, really.

I still wasn't expecting much from the bubble tea, very worried that people were just into the Instagram nature of the shop.

And then I took a sip.

Well huh.  It was good.  Very good.  And, so very different.
A Taro-bly Bad Name. Medium. $6.50. +Coconut Jellies $0.50.
"Fresh Taro + Full Cream Milk + Taro Pearls."

-Taro Pearls, +Sakura Pearls, +Coconut Jellies.

As I mentioned, Bubble Nini Tea does not use taro powder, so it wasn't the purple color you find elsewhere.  The real taro paste, smeared along the edges, even looked slightly unattractive, ugly brown mush, right?

But I didn't care how it looked.  I wanted to taste taro.  And I did.  The taro paste was quite strong, and I loved the earthy nature.  Since there is not added sweetners and junk, it wasn't too sweet at all.  I truly got to enjoy the taro taste.

The milk, quality Australian full cream milk (which, I swear, tastes sooo much better than American milk, just like the eggs ...), was rich and a nice creamy backdrop.  

There is no ice added, which meant it was not as cold as I actually would have preferred, as it was 90 degrees out, and I was looking for a cold beverage.  But it also means it didn't get watered down.

They were out of taro pearls, which come standard, so I asked for sakura pearls instead.  The pearls were unlike any others I've ever had.  I thought I didn't really like pearls, and have been opting for jellies and puddings instead elsewhere, but these proved that fresh made pearls can be amazing.  They were soft, pliable, and had a lovely floral flavor.  I also had a stray mango pearl in my cup (bonus! I almost picked mango!), and it too was an amazing texture.

I also added coconut jellies, because I was worried I'd not like the pearls per usual and want some texture.  I'm still glad I added them, as they gave another thing to slurp up and enjoy.  Unlike most places, they didn't seem totally soaked in sweet, and complimented the drink, rather than making it too sweet.

The most amazing part of this drink, besides finally getting to taste real taro, and finally enjoying pearls, is that it didn't leave me feeling gross.  So often I gulp down a bubble tea and then ... feel the effects of all the powders, high sugar content, the non-dairy powdered milk.  This just left me feeling satisfied and good.  A wondrous thing!

I really enjoyed this, perhaps more than any other taro milk in my life, and I'd gladly get another (and, would love to try some other options too ...)
Bubble Nini Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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