Review: Gong Cha (Plano, TX)

Gong Cha seems like it’s probably the most prolific boba chain out there – I’ve seen Gong Cha locations in pretty much every country I’ve been to (and tried it in a few of them as well). They’re also pretty good about being consistent between chain locations, though I’ll say that the downtown Vancouver location had the best drinks I’ve tried so far.

Anyway, in Dallas, there are 4 locations right now, with a fifth opening soon. I think this makes them the second most locations after Kung Fu Tea. Pretty impressive considering the first location only opened here in 2016. It appears that Gong Cha has two franchises in the US, one for California and one for the rest of us non-Californians. Unfortunately I’ve never been to a California one, but now that I know that fact I’ll have to try one in California.

Of the Dallas locations, this one I think is the largest and nicest. I usually go here or the Carrollton location, have only been to Richardson once, and have never been to the Grand Prairie location.

The Plano location currently has 4.5 stars and 122 reviews on Yelp, and 4.4 with 114 reviews on Google.

Shop Ratings

  • Location – is the area nice? Where is the shop?

The Plano Gong Cha is located in a small Asian strip mall off 75 and Park. It’s kind of an inconvenient location to get to from the northbound side of 75, but there’s a bunch of good food in that plaza, so it can be worthwhile. Parking is often difficult there, but there are spaces behind the store. There’s a Mango Mango next door and a K-BBQ place as well.

  • Ambiance – how does the shop feel inside? Is it quiet or lively? How crowded is it?

This Gong Cha is pretty quiet compared to other boba shops. There are ample tables and some couches in the back, as well as a row of one-person tables near the door. This one is definitely the biggest Gong Cha. Internet is free and pretty fast. It can be a bit loud when they’re making drinks, but overall it’s pretty quiet and comfortable.

  • Friendliness – are the staff polite and helpful?

The staff at this location are usually pretty friendly. One of the managers is nice. They’ll tell you if a drink is lactose free or not.

  • Other information – does the shop have a credit card minimum or other payment considerations?

I believe that there is no credit card minimum at Gong Cha. They have a loyalty program, but I only used it once and I don’t think they promote it much anymore. You have to tell them you want to enter your phone number before you perform the transaction.

Drink Ratings

I got the classic milk tea with boba. At Gong Cha, 70% sweet is the standard sweetness, so I usually get that. I also got regular ice.

This drink is lactose-free.

  • Texture – is the drink thicker or thinner? How does it feel in the mouth?

Gong Cha drinks tend to feel kind of thin in the mouth, but leave a bit of a residue/aftertaste. It’s pleasant, but makes it easy to drink it fast! They’re usually pretty consistent in terms of thickness and ice doesn’t seem to make it as watery as some other drinks.

  • 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?

Gong Cha drinks have a unique flavor to them. I can’t quite pin down what it is, but they are a bit more milky. They’re also not too sweet at 70% default sweetness, which is nice.

  • 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?

Gong Cha usually has pretty good boba. They are a little smaller and not quite as chewy as some other chains. They also have an interesting flavor to them, which might be more of a tapioca flavor? They’re not especially sweet and sometimes they can be cooked a little unevenly, but never undercooked.

  • Drink-to-boba ratio – is there enough boba for the size of the drink?

I find that because the boba are smaller at Gong Cha, you often get a bit more here. However, I usually manage to finish the drink with only a few boba remaining.

  • Appearance – is the drink nice looking? How is the packaging?

Gong Cha uses the taller, skinnier cups, which I suspect actually allow them to sell you slightly less drink. However, the cups are high quality and I really like the design of the tops and the cups.

Overall Thoughts

The Plano Gong Cha is a great branch of a consistently good chain – spacious, quiet, nice for work, and with tasty drinks. Really, nothing to not recommend a stop at Gong Cha.

Overall: A

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