One of my favorite boba shops is located in Las Vegas, which is also one of my favorite travel destinations. Since I have a lot of family in Las Vegas, I get the chance to visit quite often, and I always make an effort to get out to Brew during my stays (even though it’s not in the most convenient location).
Brew Tea Bar maintains an impressive 5 star rating on Yelp, and with well over 1500 reviews, at that. This is pretty rare for any business, and especially for a boba place, since a lot of people have varying opinions about drinks.
- Location – is the area nice? Where is the shop?
I visited the Rainbow Rd location, which is sort of in the southwest quadrant of Las Vegas. Although I don’t live in LV, I know that it’s not really the most popular area of town (although more stuff seems to be around every time I visit). It’s located in a plaza with an Albertsons grocery store, so there’s plenty of parking, although I find that it can be pretty crowded in front of the shop. The area is nice enough, though.
- Ambiance – how does the shop feel inside? Is it quiet or lively? How crowded is it?
Brew is pretty small inside, with maybe 4-5 tables seating max 4 and a small bar at the end. There’s also a little waiting area near the front where the drinks are picked up.
When I visited, the shop was really crowded. There was a line almost out the door. This isn’t saying much, since the shop is small, but I think this is a pretty typical crowd. I wouldn’t recommend using this as a study spot unless you manage to come at an off time.
- Friendliness – are the staff polite and helpful?
Because the place was super busy when we came, they had another staff member holding an iPad and taking orders in addition to the register. We ended up going to that guy. He wasn’t super friendly, but they were busy, so it’s understandable.
- Other information – does the shop have a credit card minimum or other payment considerations?
Toppings seem to be included in the price of the drink. Drinks are $4.50 for a large and $3.50 for a small (in the milk tea category). There wasn’t a credit card minimum. They use the name on your credit card to call you.
THE BREW Milk Tea (normal sweetness, normal ice)
This drink is LACTOSE FREE.
- Texture – is the drink thicker or thinner? How does it feel in the mouth?
This drink is on the thicker side for a milk tea. It’s not quite as thick as Kung Fu, but it’s probably a notch below that. You can see some foamy residue on the side of the cup when you drink. However, it doesn’t really linger in your mouth, and doesn’t feel like it coats your teeth.
The ice for this drink was a bit more crushed than other places I’ve been to. I think this added an interesting dimension because it made the ice take up less space in the drink. However, you would occasionally get some pieces of ice in the straw, since they were small enough to fit in. I didn’t mind this, but it definitely was a new sensation since I’m not used to getting much ice until after the drink has melted a bit more.
- Flavor – is the drink more milk forward or tea forward? Is there a good balance? Is it a powder-based drink? Any interesting flavor notes?
I thought the flavor of this tea was good. This drink trends towards the richer side, and it definitely tasted unique – you didn’t really taste it as distinctively milk or tea, but rather a whole new drink. There were a lot of different flavors in the tea, and it seemed like it had a lot of depth to it. Oddly, it does remind me of some lesser powder-based drinks, but you can tell that this drink is the genuine article because of the depth and richness of the flavor.
- Boba quality – what size are the boba? Are they well-cooked? How chewy are they? Are they flavored with honey or any other sweeteners? Is the flavor good?
I was a fan of the boba at this shop. They are advertised as honey boba, although I didn’t taste much honey when I drank them. I actually thought they trended a bit more towards jasmine. They were of moderate sweetness. The boba were varied in size, but maintained a nice round shape. Firmness-wise, they were a little on the softer side, although still perfectly cooked and had a nice chew.
- Drink-to-boba ratio – is there enough boba for the size of the drink?
I had probably 10-12 pearls left after finishing the milk tea. I thought the boba ratio was good, since I got a couple pearls in each sip.
- Appearance – is the drink nice looking? How is the packaging?
This drink has a bit more of a rich brown color than other milk teas. The cup was nice and sturdy, though they did not use a sealed plastic top like most shops. This one used a removable lid with a large hole in it, similar to your usual soft drink lid (but boba-sized). The packaging was nice and featured the shop’s logo on it.
Overall, Brew was a good solid choice for an independent boba shop. It seems like they might have changed the recipe since I last visited (over a year ago), since both Lynn and I remembered it tasting a bit different and with a different consistency. Hindsight is always a bit more favorable, so I can’t say it lived up to my previous impressions. However, this is still a great shop, and I’ll continue to come back and visit when I’m in Vegas.