Zsófi is back in Budapest with her family, and took the opportunity to scour as many bubble tea shops as possible, so that you don’t have to. Here are, by her standards, the best bubble tea places in Budapest.
Everybody needs a project. Or, well.. everybody who moved back home to Budapest with her parents, works a boring office job trying to save money and is going through the ups and downs of the post-breakup months needs a project. Of course, life is not as dire as that may seem.
I am hugely excited and anxiously preparing for my big move to London coming up in September, so get ready for an insurgence of London food articles in your inboxes very soon. I also love spending some time in my family home, but one thing was for sure: a creative outlet was needed.
I tried painting but very quickly started feeling sorry for those close to me having to pretend I show any signs of artistic talent. I dabbled in bracelet making which went much more successfully, but if I’m honest, did not turn out to be an appropriate channel for emotional angst. Then, I finally settled on a challenge that seemed far more suitable to my skills and interests: bubble tea tasting.
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Inspired by a friend’s suggestion, I set out to try as many bubble tea places in Budapest as my blood sugar level and wallet allowed. I ranked them on taste, texture, and overall experience. I spent, all in all, two months and seven days in Budapest this summer, and managed to go to 8 different bubble tea places in that time.
The results have been astonishing. Not only did it allow me a break from my recently implemented but all the more strict frugality for just a few minutes a week, but also helped me connect with some friends, new and old, over sips of bubble tea and nostalgia.
I bonded with a stranger over her first ever cup of bubble tea that surely will not be her last (I’ll make sure of it as we are very close now and send each other voicenote podcasts).
I reconnected with an old high school friend who shared her favourite bubble tea place with me in Budapest and even won us free bubble tea with an Instagram giveaway (they’re not always a scam guys)!
I had a catch-up call with a close friend in Birmingham with bubble tea in both our hands and the newest gossip in both our ears. And well, I got some inspiration for this article!
So, here goes. In my (very scientific and most definitely peer-reviewed) experiment, here are four bubble tea places that will give you an amazingly sweet experience in Budapest, guaranteed.
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Find Tea Budapest sits legs open wide and arms on both armrests manspreadingly comfortably at the top of my list here. I had my first bubble tea in the name of this project at this store and it hasn’t been topped since. It is at a prime location, serving beautifully aesthetic bubbly drinks just a five-minute walk from the beautiful Danube and the historical Chain Bridge. The selection is varied, suitable for lovers of both milk and fruit teas, and the drinks are divine.
As a believer of the ‘the best pizza place is always the one that can turn the simplest Margarita pizza into a wonderful culinary experience’ theory (does it have a name?) and as one who takes liberties in applying pizza-related theories to bubble tea, I ordered a Classic Milk Tea with Tapioca Pearls and Soya Milk. It passed the Margarita Test with flying colours, and I thoroughly enjoyed sipping my wonderful drink while strolling along the riverbank in beautiful sunny weather.
And I wasn’t the only one who seemed to think so. There was almost a crowd in the shop but the quick service and short waiting times kept it from feeling packed. In fact, the loud murmuring of people created a lovely energetic atmosphere that almost charmed me away from the Danube onto one of the tables in the shop. All in all, a fantastic experience, and I recommend it.
I have been recommended Biu!tea on many different occasions by several different people, one even describing it as their favourite place in all of Budapest (okay, this last one might be an exaggeration but you get the idea). On my first visit here, I stuck to my guns, and repeated my standard order: Classic Milk Tea, please, with Tapioca Pearls and non-dairy milk, thank you. I was absolutely satisfied. The tea was perfect and it was even more enjoyable in the cutesy, colourful bubble tea shop sitting right on the edge of the water, a short distance from everyone’s dream picnic location, Margaret Island.
Biu!tea has some funkier drinks as well, and if I may recommend some, the Taro Coconut Milk drink is a fantastic mixture of the sweet taro and more sour coconut bits. Definitely one for the Budapest bucket list.
I was wondering for a long time whether to include Un1que in my best of list or whether it just missed the mark. The truth is, the bubble tea I ordered from here, a Grape Tea with Tapioca Pearls was good, but not as satisfying as I would have hoped. It tasted a tiny bit bitter for my taste and didn’t correspond to my expectations of fresh sweetness that I impose upon all fruit-based teas.
However, there are many reasons why I chose to include it after all. Firstly, my friend’s Matcha Milk Tea was not only incredibly pleasing but a perfect bubble tea for her first time as well – certainly enough to keep her interested. Secondly, Un1que does not only serve bubble teas but all sorts of wonderful East Asian food from lovely quick bites such as Fried Gyozas to filling afternoon meals like Ramen Soup. In the couple hours I spent at the shop, many families, couples, and groups of friends came by and had dinner with a side of bubble tea – and let’s be honest, isn’t that what life should really be about? (Okay secret third reason, look at the cute bear on the cup!)
I recommend visiting Un1que for a holistic East Asian experience of casual late meal out and bubble tea all at the same time.
Another one for the list of cute colourful bubble tea shops, YouCha Bubble Tea has some lovely outdoor seating that makes catching up with a friend over bubble tea an even more enjoyable experience.
They have less variety in their menu, focussing more on the classic milk and fruit flavours, but the taste leaves nothing to be desired. I recommend going for one of their daily specials which they change around frequently to supplement their menu. It is also lovely to sit outside the shop on their cute yellow-pink-powder blue furniture on Teréz Körút and watch the people rush by while you’re enjoying a calm quiet moment for yourself. I know I did exactly this with my Lychee Fruit Tea in hand on – of course – a very pink chair.