Subscribe to our newsletter!

Stay in the loop about our new flavors, events, buildouts and more!

What's your name? *
What's your name?

3491 19th St
San Francisco, CA 94110


We grew up drinking milk tea and to this day are still obsessed about it. We started Boba Guys as a way to share the milk tea we remember from our childhood (only this time with fresh ingredients; none of the powdered stuff).

We use only the finest ingredients: Straus Family Creamery organic milk accompanied with homebrewed heirloom organic tea from Five Mountains. Our syrup and almond jelly is homemade and we use Grade A balls. (We just like saying that. )

Boba Guys Blog

Filtering by Tag: long read

Finally, Our Flagship

Bin Chen

Hello Boba Guys and Gals,

We promised big announcements this month and here they come!

In addition to our NYC popup, news just broke about our flagship location in Hayes Valley, so we want to clear the air with our fans first. We know the first two stores are a bit smaller than we'd like-- we just never knew it'd take off like this! That is why we're so excited to finally share this with you all. This location will have seating, better ventilation, and all of the bells & whistles that we envisioned when we first started the company four years ago. Our mission is to bridge cultures, so our flagship will be one of the best vehicles to do this.

We also want to publicly say that we are still a small business and we sincerely care about the communities we put our stores in. As many of you know, we quit our full-time jobs earlier this year to pursue our passion. We obviously want to reach more people through expansion, but we have always been transparent about our triple-bottom line approach. It's been in our DNA since our days writing our column on GOOD.

We always tell people, we are a "Company with a Soul." We want to make this world better through food and immersive, cultural experiences. We know there are a lot of opinions out there. In the true Boba Guys way, we want to be transparent and upfront about it. We understand our presence will spur another debate about gentrification, locals vs. transplants, cultural assimilation, and demographic shifts in the city (we are both Asian). We don't have a great answer, but we do know bridging cultures is on the path toward progress.

We never intended for Boba Guys to be a platform for anything other than boba and tea, but over the past four years, we discovered-- through the Nissan commercial, countless emails, and national press-- that we inadvertently stumbled onto something bigger. We may have one of the most diverse, supportive fanbases out there, but we are all united by our passion for a historically-ethnic drink.

We see you all bringing friends to try bubble tea for the first time. We see you at our Union Square store to learn about tea... from a boba shop! We have young and old, techie and hipster, Nicki and Miley, Mac vs. PC-- all waiting in our ridiculously long lines (which we hope to solve by having a much bigger store). We say #‎BallsForAll because food has brought people together for millennia.

So as we head toward the next chapter of Boba Guys, you will see a common theme dialed up throughout our dialogue with you, the public, and even our competitors: bridging cultures. It's not "us vs. them." It's "us AND them." Yes, we're very aware some people think we're "boba for X people." Or we're too hipster because we use Straus organic milk and fancy ingredients. Or we don't respect tradition enough. We don't have any issue with that, per se. We just have an issue when the labels are used as justification for exclusivity, hate, and prejudice. It's all heavy stuff for a little boba shop to talk about, but as long as have a platform, we will use it for good. After all, we once wrote about Chinese-Taiwanese politics-- you can't get more controversial than that! :) 

Here's to bridging cultures and as always, have a nice day and a pleasant tomorrow!
- The Boba Guys (Andrew & Bin) 

Bin Chen

While studying abroad in Taiwan over this past summer, our teachers, who were students at the National Taiwan University (NTU or 台大), offered to take us on a few weekend trips to famous and culturally significant places in Northern Taiwan. On one of these weekends they took a small group of us to Maokong (貓空) to visit a “tea master” and drink some of Taiwan’s most famous tea. The trip there wasn’t your typical school bus field trip; we all rendezvoused at the Taipei Zoo, then proceeded into Sky Gondola building, where we boarded the zoo’s “Maokong Gondolas” (which, I think in the U.S, we call ski lifts), which propel your “gondola” along a cable to different parts of the zoo and to the final destination, Maokong.

After landing in Maokong, we walked about a mile (and maybe got a little lost), until the teachers pointed out a large (fake) silver rock on the side of the road with the “Wutie” in Chinese spray painted onto it. Past the rock and down a small path through a garden, we found a precariously perched cottage over looking a large plot of land dotted with bushes of tea. The man inside (our “tea master”) greeted us warmly. His small farm is family owned an operated, and produces a relatively small amount of tea every harvest, but he wanted us to be able to pick our own tea, roast it, and brew it for ourselves with his guidance.

Baskets in hand, he explained which tea leaves to pick, which to avoid, and why. It depended on the look of the leaf, not too young, but not too old, and the feel of the leaf (some had a glossiness to them you could feel if you rubbed them with your fingers). Picking the leaves correctly, and quickly, was something all of us struggled with. After some time, we gathered our harvest and tea master showed us how to roast the tea and periodically “squeeze” the leaves with our hands throughout the roasting. He even used a large square of cloth to roll the leaves and squeeze them tighter, then left the ball to rest, before roasting them further.

Our tea, in the end, was pretty good, despite a hastened roasting process and our amateur tea-picking technique. The real treasure of this trip, however, was the Wutie Alishan Oolong. Served in much tinier tea cups, and served after a long, complicated, brewing process which involved several cups and more than one tea kettle, this complex tea was well worth the wait. Alishan high mountain tea is very expensive, and you can taste why. My own interpretation was that this oolong had almost a hint of a coffee taste to it, and to this day was the best tea I have ever had the pleasure of drinking.

A truly memorable experience I will never forget in my travels, hopefully, someday, we can take all of out Boba Guys to Maokong to try their world famous tea at it’s source.