Where to Drink Bubble Tea in Doha
What is Bubble Tea?
Bubble Tea, also known as Boba Tea, is a unique and quirky beverage that started life in 1980s Taiwan as an iced tea laden with sweetened tapioca pearls. The story goes the drink came about by mere chance at a Taiwanese tea stand – an extremely popular commodity in Taiwan. Indeed, it is said that a tea stand vendor, while drinking tea and eating a traditional dessert, Fen Yuan (sweetened tapioca pearls on shaved ice), decided to mix the two and began to sell the beverage since the result was so unexpectedly good.
Since the chance invention, Bubble Tea has slowly spread across Asia, made its way to America, then Europe, and, in recent times, has become a worldwide success, with shops popping up almost everywhere you travel. The traditional Taiwanese beverage remains, but it has also evolved along the way. The original recipe included tea (obviously), milk, sugar, ice, and sweetened black pearls of tapioca (made from South American cassava root). However, over time, the Bubble Tea range has grown to incorporate coffee as well as tea infusions, different flavourings (black sugar, caramel, chocolate, fruit flavours, etc.), various kinds of milk (fresh, sweetened, soya, almond, coconut, taro, etc.), non-milk options (fruit teas, juices, and sparkling juices), alternatives to the black tapioca pearls (popping fruit juice filled pearls made from seaweed extract, various other flavoured jellies, aloe vera, panna cotta, etc.), and a variety of additional toppings (cream mousse, crushed biscuits, pudding - egg custard, cheese mousse – whipped cream cheese, etc).
Nowadays, Bubble Tea, served either hot or cold in a glass or plastic cup with an oversized straw to accommodate the pearls, comes in varieties, flavours, and styles to suit various tastes. Some shops, moving with the times and catering to intolerances, lifestyles, and environmental values, also serve vegan-style Bubble Tea, gluten and lactose-free beverages, reduced sugar content drinks, and Instagram picture-perfect style cups. So, if you haven't yet tried the wonder of Bubble Tea, rest assured there should be a style to suit.
Describe the Taste
What does Bubble Tea taste like? Depending on the type of drink you opt for, it can be hot or cold, milky, creamy, fruity, or more tea and coffee infusion flavoured. It is generally quite sweet and sugary unless you choose low-sugar options. The tapioca pearls are sweet and chewy, popping pearls are a fruit juice explosion, and the toppings can range from sweet and creamy to cheesy. Aside from the base flavours of the tea, coffee or juices, the pearls also come in various flavours, which you can mix and match to complement your drink. The most popular pearl flavours include mango, strawberry, peach, pomegranate, lychee, watermelon, lemon, kiwi, pineapple, coconut, and grape.
Where Can I Try Bubble Tea?
If we have whetted your appetite for Bubble Tea, don't worry; the unusual beverage has definitely found its way to the streets of Doha. You can find many cafes, restaurants, kiosks, and outlets serving the distinctive drink all over the city. However, if you are new to the craze, we recommend checking out these three top tea shops as a first port of call:
Best Bubble Tea Shops in Doha
Go-Ssip is one of Doha's favourite independent Bubble Tea vendors. Such is the popularity of the beverages; the company have been constantly expanding since they opened three years ago. There are now six Go-Ssip outlets across the city, three counters at Monoprix supermarkets at Doha Festival City Mall, Msheireb Galleria, and the Iconic 2022 building, one kiosk in City Centre Mall, and two cafés in Al Mansoura and Place Vendome Mall. Go-Ssip is instantly recognisable thanks to the giant Bubble Tea models that form part of their kiosks and sit outside their cafes, as well as the cartoon smile logo that adorns their cups and the Bubble Tea plushies that can be found dotted around their venues.
The menu at Go-Ssip includes a Signature Collection - Brown Sugar Milk Tea, Taro Milk Tea and Thai Milk Tea; a Classic Milk Collection – Brown Sugar, Thai and Jasmine Green Teas, Oreo Milk Tea, and Japanese Matcha and Houjicha Lattes; a Finest Range – Cocoa Latte, Melon Milk, Taro Milk, Brown Sugar and Brown Sugar with Milo; a Dalgona Coffee Selection; a Soya Milk Collection of teas and coffees; a Flavoured Tea Collection – lemon, strawberry, lychee and green tea; and a Fizzy Drink Range of various juice flavours. Our favourites include the signature Taiwanese Brown Sugar Milk Tea, with tapioca pearls, konjac (made from a Chinese root vegetable) and a cream cheese foam topping, and the Oreo Bubble Milk Tea with Custard Cream – utterly decadent choices!
Whichever drinks you choose, you can opt for toppings or not, add extra toppings (pearls, jellies, aloe vera, red beans and cream cheese foam), swap fresh milk for soya, and choose the level of sugar you would like in your beverage. In addition, the cafes at Al Mansoura and the Place Vendome offer cooked-to-order crispy crepes with multiple fillings.
Bubble Milk Tea and the other varieties of beverages at Go-Ssip cost between 18 and 31 QAR each, with toppings a mere 3 QAR per serving. Drinks without toppings cost 3 QAR less than the advertised price.
Location: Various locations (see map links below):
- Go-Ssip Café - Al Mansoura, Al Mansoura Street (nearest Metro, Al Mansoura on the Green Line)
- Go-Ssip Cafe – Place Vendome Mall, Lusail (nearest Tram Station, Lusail Central on the Orange Line)
- Go-Ssip Kiosk – Ground Floor, City Centre Mall (nearest Metro, DECC on the Red Line)
- Go-Ssip Monoprix – Ground Floor, Doha Festival City Mall
- Go-Ssip Monoprix – Msheireb Galleria, Downtown Msheireb (nearest Metro, Msheireb on the Green, Red and Gold Lines)
- Go-Ssip Monoprix – Iconic 2022, Al Waab (nearest Metro, Sport City on the Gold Line)
Opening Hours: Saturday to Wednesday, 10 am – 11 pm
Friday and Saturday, 10 am – 11:30 pm
Contact: +974 7035 1100
Tabi Boba is another of Doha's most popular home-grown Bubble Tea brands, with eight stores across the city. You can find six kiosks - in the city centre, Msheireb, Katara, The Pearl, Al Wakrah and Umm Salal, and two cafes – in Al Sadd and Al Mansoura, serving Tabi Boba's tea brand, Onezo, as well as a host of other Boba variants. The Onezo tea, with raw materials imported from Taiwan, is handmade, with sixteen flavours available.
While Tabi Boba's six kiosks may be more of a grab' n' go concept, the cafés offer much more. At both café locations, you can enjoy your Bubble Tea alongside some great entertainment – karaoke and darts. The karaoke systems are provided in comfortable and funky rooms for groups of up to five and offer an extensive catalogue of songs. To get one hour on the microphone, you only need to buy four drinks! And, if you've had enough karaoke (really?!?), you could always try out the game's rooms, where you'll find Darts Live, an electronic, network-connected game that allows you to play various darts games with people worldwide.
The menu at Tabi Boba is pretty extensive. There is an Original Bubble Tea Selection, with teas ranging from Assam, Jasmine, Earl Grey and Oolong to lychee, pineapple, peach, grape, melon, and chrysanthemum; a Milk Bubble Tea Selection, including authentic Taiwanese Milk Tea, Brown Sugar Milk Tea, Chocolate Milk Tea, Rose Milk Tea, and Taro Milk Tea, and a section offering Bubble Teas and Lattes with organic milk. Plus, the menu also provides Bubble Teas with Taro milk, milkshakes, yoghurt, fruit tea and honey tea. Vegan options include teas made with soy, almond and oat milk. To add to the Bubble Tea, a variety of toppings are also available – a melee of pearls in flavours from brown sugar, milk, lychee, mango, and strawberry to coconut sugar, saffron, Karak and cactus, as well as milk foam and cheese foam. Our top picks from the menu include house specials, Crystal Lemon Tea and Saffron Tea Latte, Honey Taro Bubble Tea, and Date Milkshake – a mixture of fresh, fruity, and creamy, luxurious beverages!
Bubble Teas and the other varieties of beverages at Tabi Boba cost between 17 and 28 QAR each, with toppings between 3 and 6 QAR per serving. Mini Boba drinks are also available and cost 19 QAR each.
Location: Various locations (see map links below):
- Tabiboba Shoumoukh Towers – C Ring Road, Al Sadd (nearest Metro, Al Sadd on the Gold Line)
- Tabiboba Gold Plaza – Wholesale Market Street, Abu Hamour (nearest Metro, Al Mansoura on the Green Line)
- Tabiboba Tasty Street – Katara (nearest Metro, Katara on the Red Line)
- Tabiboba Doha Festival City – Food Court Level 1 DFC
- Tabiboba City Centre - City Centre Mall Level 3 (nearest Metro, DECC on the Red Line)
- Tabiboba Ezdan Mall - Ezdan Mzdan Mall Food Court Level 2, Al Wakrah
- Tabiboba Medina Centrale – Marbella Street, The Pearl (nearest Metro, Al Legtaifiya on the Red Line)
- Tabiboba Msheireb – Msheireb Metro Station (nearest Metro, Msheireb on the Red, Gold and Green Lines)
Opening Hours: Various opening times, generally:
10 am to 10 pm, weekdays
10 am to 11 pm - 2 am, weekends
Contact: +974 3354 0665
Tiger Sugar Qatar is relatively new to Doha's Bubble Tea scene, having only arrived in the city in 2022. However, the café is part of a highly successful chain that started in Taiwan in 2017 and quickly became a favourite worldwide. Though there are many varieties of Boba on the Tiger Sugar menu today, the original drink that started the business is still one of the vendor's signature beverages, the Black Sugar Bubble Tea, made with caramelised sugar, fresh cream, iced tea and black tapioca pearls. As such, the original USP of the first Tiger Sugar tea remains - the famous tiger stripes of caramelised brown sugar syrup that streak the inside of each serving cup and, of course, the 8-hour cooking method for the sugar syrup and pearls that give the drinks their renowned toasted, nutty flavour.
The Tiger Sugar Qatar café is located on the cool, quiet, and thoroughly modern streets of Downtown Msheireb. Though compact and bijou, the venue ties in with its surroundings with contemporary décor, including a giant mural of a tiger adorning one of the walls. Guests can order from the Black Sugar Series for a taste of the original drink, with the added addition of coffee flavours, jellies instead of pearls, and milk instead of cream. The menu also offers a Tiger Cheese Mousse Series, Bubble Tea, and teas topped with whipped cream cheese mousse, the Black Sugar Boba Café Latte Series, The Tea Latte Series, and the Taro Series, Bubble Tea made with Taro milk. If we were to recommend a few of our many favourite Tiger Sugar drinks, we would have to give a shout-out to the original Black Sugar option, the Black Tea Latte with cream mousse, and the Black Sugar Café Latte with coffee jelly and cream mousse - all supremely tasty. Alongside all the menu options for beverages, Tigar Sugar Qatar offers an array of toppings.
Overall, drinks at Tiger Sugar are slightly more expensive than our other recommendations. However, the flavours and sense of indulgence make its Bubble Tea worth every penny. Beverages cost between 14 and 32 QAR each, with toppings between 3-6 QAR per serving.
Location: Tiger Sugar Qatar – Al Jeewan Street, Msheireb
(nearest Metro, Msheireb on the Red, Green and Gold Lines)
Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday, 11:30 am – 12 am
Friday, 1 am – 1 pm
Contact: +974 4492 2129
Main image: Britannica
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