Boba has taken Egypt by storm over the last few years, with tea shops popping up in Maadi, New Cairo, Heliopolis, Zamalek, and El-Sheikh Zayed City. The trendy tea concoction, a modern trend in Asia, has made its way into many hearts with its unique flavors, exciting combinations, and surprising textures.
Boba is a tea-based drink native to Taiwan, and is characterized by having pearls or ‘bubbles’ made from tapioca starch and brown sugar syrup.
The word ‘boba’ actually refers to a myriad of chunky drinks, which can include anything from traditional bubble tea to chunky fruit juice.
The basic form of the drink consists of black tea, ice, milk, and black tapioca pearls. The drink is then well shaken, and served with a wide straw – famously known as the boba straw – that allows the pearls to come through.
Bubble tea in Egypt comes in many different variations: the classic and most popular one across all shops, being the ‘Tiger Sugar Milk tea’, alternatively known as ‘Brown Sugar Boba’. It can also be served with Japanese Matcha tea, Thai tea, coffee, fruit iced tea, and nearly any other imaginable flavor.
According to the owner of the new popular Boba Shop, Yokozuna, Boba is very different in Cairo; what is sold to Cairenes is what fits their palate. In a classic Boba shop, you would never find flavors like Oreo, chocolate, hazelnut or any of the ‘funkier’ flavors that are prevalent in the capital city.
Although boba drinks were available in a handful of cafes, the craze was ignited with Fengcha, the oldest Bubble Tea spot in Egypt.
Located next to ‘Kokio, the iconic Korean fried chicken spot in Maadi, Fengcha is part of a franchise of bubble tea shops worldwide . The original Maadi location is small and cozy, perfect to grab a drink and chill. More recently, Fengcha extended a branch in New Cairo as well.
This boba institution serves a number of Bubble Tea varieties, their most popular being the ‘Brown Sugar Dirty Boba Tea’, which is flavored with dark brown sugar. They also have other drinks such as the Wolfberry Bobi made of Goji berries, and the Taro Bobo, Taro, a root vegetable similar to potatoes with a sweet taste, similar to biscuits.
Their prices range from EGP 60 to EGP 100, depending on the drink and size.
Another venture for boba to consider is : Boba Bear, also located in New Cairo. The small shop opened in the midst of the pandemic, as a way to offer its clients the joys of bubble tea without breaking the rules. However, a running joke among its clientele is how hard it is to actually find this Bubble Tea spot.
That is because Boba Bear is not actually a shop at all, but a coffee car. They serve 12 kinds of tea, with variations of creative flavors, like ‘Tiramisu Milk Tea’ and ‘Mocha Coffee Boba’. The spot’s most popular drink is the Brown Sugar Boba, which is described as ‘cold shay b laban’ ( Cold Milk Tea) on many of their Instagram reviews. When you visit, they will probably suggest their newest flavor, the mango Boba, which according to their reviews, is worth a shot.
Boba Bear is located on Road 90, in front of Concord Plaza and behind Petrogas, in el Araby Square.
Their prices range from EGP 40 to EGP 60 depending on the drink and additions.
Before we leave New Cairo, there is one more stop along the way: Moishi, the newly-opened Japanese confectionery store. Although they mostly focus on ‘Frozen Mochi’ – mochi being a Japanese rice-flour based dessert usually filled with red bean paste or other fillings – ,they also serve four kinds of bubble tea.
Moishi is located in Arabella Mall in New Cairo. When walking into Moishi, you will be greeted by an organized, calm, and serene space. The staff are helpful when choosing your drink, and you can always have a little treat to go with it!
They serve strawberry, Matcha, and brown sugar boba, along with Yuzu (a citrus fruit native to East Asia) boba. They are one of the few in Cairo to serve the citrusy variation of the tea. Yuzu is a new flavor to the Egyptian palate, which is why it may be worth a taste.
Similar to most Boba shops, their prices range from EGP 50 to EGP 70.
Our next stop along the route is Heliopolis, in El-Thawra st, where a small family and their friend opened what has become one of the most popular boba spots in Cairo.
Yokozuna serves around 57 variations, including ones with Oreo, Frappes, Cheesecake, as well as their secret menu items… Their edge lies in the fact that they give the client the choice for the sugar level, starting at 25 percent for those who don’t have much of a sweet tooth.
When you walk into Yokozuna, you can smell the boba being cooked and the tea brewing, and can see concoctions prepared in front of you. The staff is eager to help and may even suggest an item off their secret menu!
With the astonishing variety offered, it is doubtful that anyone would have trouble finding a drink at Yokozuna. They have a very active Instagram presence, with a popular drink every week. Yokozuna is located in El Thawra St, Heliopolis.
Their prices range from EGP 50 to EGP 70, depending on your additions and if you order their 250ml or 500ml size.
On the other side of Cairo, in El-Sheikh Zayed City sits a popular spot, Bubble Cafe in Galleria 40. This quaint tea room also has another branch in Zamalek.
This spot is particularly popular for their ‘Twin Cup’ where two kinds of Boba are put together into one cup, with a separator in between.
Although the shop is very small, Bubble has become a go-to spot for Boba fanatics in El-Sheikh Zayed City. Many have even taken the trip all the way from the other side of Cairo just to try it and document their visit on Instagram! Although Fengcha is older than Bubble, they are the first to open on that side of Cairo.
Their most famous drinks would have to be their Toffee Milk Tea and their Red Bull Bubble, in which the famous energy drink is combined with Boba pearls in various flavors. They also serve Ube Milk Tea made from Purple Yam and Yuzu Milk tea.
Their prices range from EGP 70 to EGP 100, depending on the order.
Also, located in El-Sheikh Zayed City, is Boba-T, the lesser-known teahouse famous for its colored boba and caffeine series.
Boba-T, though less popular, caters well to the Egyptian palate, serving flavors like Red Velvet and Caramel Frappe Boba. However, they still offer the popular authentic flavors like Matcha, Taro and Thai Tea.
Moreover, they serve Boba based desserts, such as their signature Boba Ice creams. Their menu is available on their website, and offers an extensive selection.
Their prices range from EGP 30 to EGP 50.
Bubble Tea’s presence continues to grow in Cairo, and whether one is bigger on variety or classics, one can always find their choice of drink. The sweet and rich tea has found its place to many hearts across Cairo and continues to do so as the trend grows.