TACOMA, Wash. — Bobalust is the winner of Best Boba in 2022's Best of Western Washington viewers poll.
Bubble tea, or boba, may have originated in Taiwan in the 1980s, but it has seen a surge of popularity here in Western Washington over the past five years. Riding that wave is Bobalust, adding about two new locations every year since three friends started the business together in 2017.
"We're best friends," said Maxine Cheng, who along with Victor Pham and Niko Huynh, crafted all their signature recipes through trial and error in each other's kitchens.
"We can't even count the amount of hours and nights that we spent figuring out combinations before we were ready to bring our drinks to the market," Huynh said.
We watched as Huynh made five of those colorful drinks, like Strawberry Seduction which features tiny bits of strawberries, and Blue Lagoon which is described as blue curacao lychee shaken green tea with mango jelly. The drinks here are considered afternoon pick-me-ups and Bobalust tea rooms have become gathering spaces for friends.
"We really love interacting with our customers and providing an environment that they would really want to come back to," Cheng said.
Cheng and Huynh helped arrange the drinks on a table for a nice shot, but we thought it needed just one more thing, a framed certificate showing Bobalust is the first winner ever of our new Best of Western Washington category, Best Boba.
"This is amazing!" Hunyh said.
"It's pretty surreal to be honest," Cheng added.
Bobalust has eight locations between Tacoma and Kirkland, with a ninth location coming soon. They all feature colorful signature teas and smoothies.