I have such a huge backlog of reviews to get through!
On a recent trip to Los Angeles for an event in San Luis Obispo, I was pressed for time between a late flight, a long drive from LA, and obligations in both cities… but of course, I always have some boba time. 😉
My traveling companion and I chose to visit the Hollywood location of this LA-centric boba chain, due to its proximity to our route up the 101. It also offered parking, which was a plus. I had been to this location once before a year or so ago, so I was interested to see how it was holding up in my memory.
- Location – is the area nice? Where is the shop?
This particular location is in a small and dingy strip mall in Hollywood. I generally find Hollywood to be a pretty underwhelming area of LA, especially given its reputation, and found this strip mall to be no exception. On the plus side, it does offer easy and free lot parking, and it doesn’t seem to be a huge issue to find a spot (or create your own, as I saw some people doing).
- Ambiance – how does the shop feel inside? Is it quiet or lively? How crowded is it?
This particular shop is pretty small. There are a few tables, and some sort of counter seating along windows. There are a few high-top communal tables as well. The ambiance was nice, but I could see it getting crowded pretty quickly. There was Wi-Fi available.
- Friendliness – are the staff polite and helpful?
The guy at the counter was nice and was able to tell me if the drinks were lactose-friendly or not (spoiler: they are). He was in good spirits. The iPad he was using to take orders was suffering from a swollen battery, which I commented on, and we had a few jokes about that. So, overall, good experience.
- Other information – does the shop have a credit card minimum or other payment considerations?
I didn’t notice a credit card minimum or anything like that.
I got the classic milk tea at regular sugar and regular ice.
- Texture – is the drink thicker or thinner? How does it feel in the mouth?
This drink is very rich. It tasted a bit too sweet for my liking, honestly. It tasted a bit more “powdery” than I had remembered it being before. The texture was very heavy and coated my mouth a bit.
- 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?
As I mentioned before, this drink had a very powerful rich flavor. I’m never really sure if this is from it being a powdered drink, or perhaps it’s the sweetener? Whatever the case, it’s pretty strong. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of this flavor profile, just because it makes me feel like I’m drinking something super sugary and heavy.
- 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?
The boba here were good, with a solid consistency and regular tapioca flavor. It’s honestly been a while since I drank this, but I don’t remember anything particularly noteworthy about the boba. I’ll assume that they were solid, yet unmemorable.
- Drink-to-boba ratio – is there enough boba for the size of the drink?
There were enough boba for this drink. I had some left over when I finished the liquid portion of the drink. This was a good balance, in my opinion.
- Appearance – is the drink nice looking? How is the packaging?
The packaging was nice and brightly-colored. They have custom cups and custom lids, which is nice. In addition, they have sealed plastic tops, which I prefer over lids since they are more watertight. It was of good quality and not too flimsy.
I liked Boba Time, but I had remembered it being better. I was a bit surprised at how strong in flavor and richness the drink was. The boba were good but unmemorable. The shop itself is nice, but it’s definitely in a heavily trafficked area and isn’t really a great studying or working destination.
In short, I thought the drinks were good, but honestly, you can do better, especially in LA.
Overall Grade: B+