Inside Baton Rouge’s bubble tea boom

While Boba Partea is all about fun drink toppings and photogenic treats, it takes its tea seriously. The local bubble tea shop has a specific method to make each component of its beverages. From the temperature the tea is brewed to how long the tapioca pearls are boiled, it takes precision to make the perfect cup of bubble tea.

The Taiwan-born bubble tea trend has taken Baton Rouge by storm over the last five years, as more tea shops than ever have been popping up around the city. In March 2020, Van Nguyen opened Boba Partea on O’Neal Lane. She wanted to make high-quality bubble tea drinks using authentic tea, fewer added sweeteners and unique drink toppings.

Boba Partea sells hot and iced herbal fruit tea, milk tea, smoothies, coffee and sweet and savory baked goods. Fruit tea flavors include mango; peach; strawberry; passion fruit; rose garden; and pomegranate and strawberry.

Creating your own bubble tea beverage is like making a custom dessert. Customers can choose the level of sweetness, the type of tea and the amount of ice their drink contains. Any drink can be paired with toppings that include everything from classic black tapioca pearls to heart-shaped strawberry sweetheart jelly, which tastes like bite-sized strawberry Jell-o.

“Bubble tea has been trending in the United States lately, but has been popular in my country for decades,” Nguyen, a Vietnam native says. “You can mix boba with anything.” bobapartea.com

Just keep sipping

Where to explore bubble tea in the Baton Rouge area

Arctic Bites arcticbites.business.site

Bao Vietnamese Kitchen baovietkitchen.com

Exotic Sweets exoticsweetsbrla.com

King Kong Milk Tea & Smoothie kingkongmilktea.com

Kitchen 16 & Yami yamidenhamsprings.com

Koi Sushi | Find it on Facebook

Kung Fu Tea | kungfutea.com

Momo Tea | Find it on Facebook

Nagoya Japanese Seafood Buffet  nagoyabatonrougela.com

Pandan Teahouse  pandanteahouse.com

Paradise Smoothie  paradisesmoothie.us

Prince Donuts & Geaux Boba  Find it on Facebook

Simply Pho & Tea  simplyphotea.com

Sweet Society Find it on Facebook

T&T Cafe | myttcafe.com

Teatery Tea & Tapioca teaterybr.com

Vivi Bubble Tea vivibubbletea.com

Zero Degrees zdlouisiana.square.site

Anatomy of a dish: What’s inside Boba Partea’s bubble tea?


1. Real brewed herbal tea

Each bubble tea is made with brews like oolong, black, green and jasmine.

2. Non-dairy milk powder

Boba Partea uses this to give its milk teas a creamy, cow-free taste.

3. Tapioca pearls

Also known as boba or bubbles, these are made from tapioca starch, brown sugar and hot water. They are chewy in texture and have a mild fragrant taste (depending on the amount of brown sugar) that complements the tea.

4. Sea salt milk foam

Tapioca isn’t the only topping available, as seen in the Brown Bubu with Sea Salt Milk Foam pictured above, left. Customers can transform their drinks with other toppings like mango bursting boba, brown sugar crystal boba, herbal jelly or egg pudding.

This article was originally published in the October 2021 issue of 225 magazine.