Tokyo trip part 2: bubble tea, pearls and milk tea

Tokyo trip part 2: bubble tea, pearls and milk tea

When I was in Tokyo a few weeks ago, I noticed that everyone was walking around with bubble tea. Bubble tea is originally from Taiwan, which is made out of a tea, milk, sugar and toppings. I’ve been a fan of bubble tea ever since I tried them in Taiwan 8 years ago and I’m always looking to find the perfect bubble tea. When Rick and I went to Japan is was hot and humid there, so a good reason to drink bubble tea all day! I will show you the best and the worst bubble tea I tried in Tokyo, Japan.

Gong Cha tea in Shibuya Japan Tokyo

Gong Cha

Gong Cha can be found anywhere. I first encountered Gong Cha when I was in Seoul, South Korea last summer and my little sister and I where addicted to their milk foam. When I spotted the Gong Cha in Shibuya, Tokyo I became mad and told Rick we had to cross over the street to try it!

We ordered no bubble tea but the Gong Cha Signature Milk Foam Black Tea, which can be totally customized by the amount of ice, sugar etc and make it your own. What makes this drink so special is that the milk foam really adds something extra to the refreshing tea drink: when not stirred it has this strong tea taste, when you mix the foam with the tea it turns instant sweeter. As toppings we picked the Pearls of cours! *4/5 stars

CoCo Milk Tea in Shibuya Japan Tokyo


CoCo was kinda hard to vind ik Tokyo, but we spotted one in Shibuya at the end of the shopping street in an alley. I think I’ve seen CoCo in the countries too because their logo is a cat(?) face. While we were standing there, a guy already passed us the menu so we could make our decision.

Usually when I go for a bubble tea I just pick milk tea, but this time Rick and I picked something totally different: I went for the Matcha Milk Tea and Rick picked the Caramel Milk Tea. We both had pearls as toppings. Well, we should stick with the regular Milk Tea because this was not what we expected. Very plain taste and it felt like the didn’t enough sugar in it and the taste was so odd. When we order a bubble tea we always go for 50 or 75% sugar level, so it was not that. I think they work with powder instead of syrup which can make it taste weird. *2/5 stars

The Alley Bubble Tea in Shinjuku Japan Tokyo

The Alley

Sometimes you want to follow the hype just to see if it’s worth it. Of cours it depend on time and location, but The Alley is a famous franchise and a favorite of many bubble tea lovers. When we spotted their shop, there was always a freaking long line. Too long to wait in the hot humid air for just a drink. One night we where walking under a bridge in Shinjuku and spotted a food truck where they sold They Alley.

I picked the Brown Sugar Milk Tea and Rick the Original Milk Tea. What I love about their branding is that the cup has a round shape, which makes it really stand out. Also the logo is very Western. Somehow it was not what we expected, just like the Coco is was very plain. The Pearls were better than CoCo but still, I couldn’t understand why everyone was standing in line for such a boring bubble tea? Rick’s Milk Tea was okay, but even he had better ones in Amsterdam. My Brown Sugar Milk Tea was not wow compared to another place I visited. Can someone please tell me why everyone loves it? Maybe in Europe they taste better, I’ve heard that in London they are a big thing. *3/5 stars

KOI Thé Milk Tea in Harajuku Japan


Never heard of this place, suddenly there it was in Harajuku. It instantly catches your eyes because they have this huge fake bubble tea cup standing outside and everyone was poking the pearls to see if it was real lol. This was the place we waited the longest from the moment we made our order till we received out drinks. Rick and I made joked how inefficient they worked behind the bar, they had literally 5 girls standing behind and all working on 1 drink!

We ordered a special drink that I cannot find on their menu anymore, but it has one scoop of ice cream in it with Milk Tea and the Golden Bubbles. They don’t have Pearls there, only Golden Bubbles, Grass Jelly and Aloe Vera. Rick was blown away by that scoop of ice cream inside the milk tea, it makes it super creamy and sometimes when you get a chunk of ice cream in your straw your get so surprised by the taste. It was delicious! Not a real original Milk Tea with Pearls, but it was really good and people where coming in and out! *4,5/5 stars

Chaa Time Bubble Tea in Japan Ikebukuro

Cha Time

I’ve tried Cha Time in Paris and I was addicted to their drinks! They are a huge franchise and I believe that in the US they have a Cha Time like evrywhere (are there any SAT Facebook people here?). We found a Cha Time in Ikebukuro and there was a CRAZY line! When I say crazy it is crazy. So crazy that Rick and I walked 3 times by there shop to see if the line was getting ay shorter, and every time it looked like more people where standing there.

One morning we decided to go early and only 2 people were in line! We ordered their Original Milk Tea with Pearls .. and I was disappointed again. How can such a hyped place with 30 people waiting in line be THIS boring? Just like The Alley I cannot understand why people are getting so crazy about this. Ofc course each shop or country can serve different ingredients or drinks, because in Paris I was in love with it. It was not only the Milk Tea but also the Pearls that felt super chewy. I didn’t finish my drink. *3,5/5 stars

Yi Fang Taiwan Fruit Tea in Japan Shinjuku

Yi Fang Taiwan Fruit Tea

I’ve seen Yi Fang doing great things with their famous dripping brown sugar drinks. It was Tasty who introduced me to Yi Fang Taiwan Fruit Tea with their fun food vids. They have shops everywhere but I knew them from London. Their Brown Sugar Pearl with Milk is their most famous drink and probably most instagrammed drink of all the milk tea drinks because of this beautiful build up of layers.

It was in Shinjuku when we found their shop, there was a long waiting line because someone infront of us was taking ages to make her order (I hate people who take so long to decide what to order!!!), so hy the time we made our order our drink was already ready behind the counter. But you can’t just walk there, you have to wait until the people infront of you have their drinks. So, after a very long time I finally got my Brown Sugar Pearl with Milk and I was blown away! I first took a sip without stirring which was delicious, but when I mixed the brown sugar with the milk it felt like a cloud in my mouth. Oh men, I was such a happy girl and it was totally worth the wait! Rick instead was not a big fan, but he just prefers a simple plain Milk Tea with Pearls. The second time we went there I got the exact same drink while Rick tried a Yakult Milk Tea. It was not a succes, but I was still happy ­čÖé *4,5/5 stars

Gong Cha milk tea in Japan

Some have said to me: why would you drink so much bubble tea while you are in Japan? Because I can! In the Netherlands we don’t have a lot of places that sell (great) bubble tea, so when Rick and I came to Japan and saw so many bubble tea shops we knew what we had to do! As a couple we share the love for great food and drinks so this was very fun for us to search and try different drinks.

What is your favorite Bubble Tea drink or where do you usually get yours?

Cult Beauty Ltd.


  1. Tessa Bowie
    July 19, 2019 / 11:46

    Ik heb nog nooit Bubble Tea op, maar het lijkt me erg bijzonder om eens te proberen. Waar in Nederland kan je goede Bubble Tea vinden?

    • thebeauparlour
      July 19, 2019 / 13:14

      In Rotterdam hebben ze YoYo en in Amsterdam hebben ze ook een filiaal zitten!

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