I remember back when I was first learning about the wonderful world of boba, there weren’t too many good places in Dallas. On a trip to Houston, I was told that Kung Fu Tea was the best place around, and so of course I resolved to go check it out. Well, that event sparked an undying love, greater than the force of a thousand golden pearls…
But nowadays, of course, there are a ton of bubble tea options out there, and Kung Fu Tea is no longer only in Houston – now, there are eleven locations in the DFW area, and probably dozens more all around the US. They seem to pop up in random places as well, like Wichita Falls, which is about the last place I would expect a good bubble tea shop to be.
In Dallas, particularly, I often find myself at the Richardson KFT, just because that tends to be where I am the most. However, I’ve been to the Carrollton location (the first to open), as well as the Plano locations and have had drinks from the downtown location. The Richardson location is probably one of the more spacious and better-designed for all your working and studying needs. I visited this location recently with a friend and decided to make it a review trip.
- Location – is the area nice? Where is the shop?
The Richardson KFT is located right off 75 and Campbell, at the edge of a fairly busy set of shopping centers. It’s actually easier to get to than a lot of highway-frontage shops, so that’s a plus. There is plenty of parking, although the lot constantly has some of the worst pavement I’ve ever seen (and in Dallas, that’s saying a lot). It’s convenient for UTD students or people in Richardson.
- Ambiance – how does the shop feel inside? Is it quiet or lively? How crowded is it?
This location is always pretty loud, I think because they use the blenders a lot. The acoustics also aren’t great. It’s hard to talk to people or study quietly, but sometimes I like having a lot of ambient noise. It’s usually reasonably busy as well, but I’ve never really had issues finding a table.
- Friendliness – are the staff polite and helpful?
The staff at this location are nice and helpful, and seem to mostly be student age, so they’re engaging and fun.
- Other information – does the shop have a credit card minimum or other payment considerations?
This shop has a $5 credit card minimum, which essentially means you have to order a large if you want to pay with a credit card.
I ordered the classic milk tea with half sweetness (a must at KFT, as default is incredibly sweet) with regular ice and boba.
This drink is indeed lactose free, and KFT is by far the best chain about notifying you of dairy containing drinks.
- Texture – is the drink thicker or thinner? How does it feel in the mouth?
KFT has some of the thickest drinks around. They’re extremely creamy and heavy feeling, and it always leaves quite an aftertaste in your mouth. I have noticed that having the regular ice level does break this up somewhat, but it still is noticeably thicker than other drinks. I’m not sure if this is related to the base they use, but this seems to be consistent across all the locations.
- 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?
Flavor-wise, the drink is mostly creamy/milky with a small flavor of tea. The boba are pretty essential to making the drink a bit more flavorful. Sweetness is one of the biggest issues I have at KFT, as the drinks are extremely sweet by default. 50% is probably the max I would get, although I do think that going below that errs a bit on the side of tastelessness.
- 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?
KFT has pretty good boba. They’re always a good consistency and taste fresh. They have a unique flavor and are pretty chewy – I think they’re a bit more sugary than some other places. They’re definitely good.
- Drink-to-boba ratio – is there enough boba for the size of the drink?
KFT always gives a solid amount of boba and there are usually some leftovers after normal drinking. As I mentioned above, I think it’s essential to get the regular amount of ice in order for the drink to be cold and not overwhelmingly thick.
- Appearance – is the drink nice looking? How is the packaging?
KFT uses pretty nice cups and lids for their drinks. I really like the designs that they use as well – in this store, they have some merch that uses their design language that’s pretty nice. The cups are solid and not too flimsy, though be careful, as you can penetrate the cups with the straws.
Kung Fu Tea was the first boba place that made me realize that boba could be really good, but unfortunately it has been surpassed by many other superior options in the Dallas area. The milk tea is tasty, but just too heavy for me to really enjoy on a regular basis. I also haven’t been super impressed by their locations or the quality of their other drinks.
Overall grade: B+