First Bites

momoCHA Tea House: Bubble Tea in SoBe

My first visit to momoCHA Tea House on Española Way lasted about one minute. I ordered a bubble milk green tea but was told the tapioca pearls wouldn't be ready for another 40 minutes. So I switched my order to a fruit-based, rather than milk-based, tea and asked for boba pearls instead of tapioca. The boba are the same size, but instead of being chewy, they pop in the mouth like a big round of caviar. Bobas come in different flavors, such as mango. Alas, momoCHA was out of boba too.

So I returned the next day, the tapioca balls were ready, and I tried a couple of the teas.

Bubble (or boba) tea gained notice in the '80s when first served at tea shops in Taichung, Taiwan. Some teas are based on regular black, green, or red teas mixed with milk; others are made using fruit teas without milk. MomoCHA offers 16 bubble milk teas (includes jasmine green milk tea, coconut milk tea, almond milk tea, etc.) and about the same number of fruit-juice-based green and red teas (such as mango red tea, apple green tea, lychee green tea, etc.). A small bubble milk tea is $4, and a large is $5; fruit-based bubble teas go for $3.50/$4.50. Smoothies and hot teas are also on the bill of beverages.

I sampled the momo bubble milk green tea and a peach red tea. The former tastes chai-like and is very delicious -- creamy, herbal, not too sweet. The tapioca pearls were, as usual, black and chewy. The red peach tea, also with tapioca pearls (they were still out of boba) proved too sugary for me -- either less sugar is used in the milk-based drinks, or the milk cuts the sugar enough. All are served traditionally in a plastic cup sealed with clear cellophane; customers are given a wide straw (so the pearls can pass through) that pierces the cellophane.

You can purchase the dry tea here too, as well as tea pots, tea cups, and other tea wares. A few types of Chinese cookies are also offered, so you can get something to nibble on with your afternoon tea.

MomoCHA is the only bubble tea available in Miami Beach. It's an ideal sip for replenishing energy on a hot afternoon.

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Miami New Times' restaurant reviewer for the past decade, and the world's indisputable master of disguise.
Contact: Lee Klein