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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

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The Story of The Tea Fresca

Bin Chen

All summer we’ve been serving up iced drinks (our ice machines can barely keep up)! With the hotter months here (not that San Francisco really knows what hot means), iced drinks are in demand and our tea frescas are the perfect solution. Currently, our house made fruit purees flavors are strawberry and mango. Try our refreshing strawberry jasmine tea-fresca: equal parts strawberry puree and iced jasmine tea. Or try our newest (and definitely prettiest) creation, the layered mango matcha tea fresca: rich mango puree, topped with organic premium grade matcha! 

For now, let us tell you a little about how we came up with our line of tea frescas:

We’re a company that’s always getting our hands messy and experimenting: sourcing new teas and ingredients, testing new drink concepts and mixing new flavors. Our experiments often become our biggest menu hits like the horchata boba: the highest quality of sweet rice milk, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar and a splash of rich organic whole milk. All of which gives a nod to the numerous taquerias in the Mission and with a heaping scoop of boba, it still sticks to our Asian roots. You can order it “dirty,” with a shot of espresso or cold brew and it gives a nod to the artisanal coffee world of San Francisco too. We wanted to do the same thing with our next experimental claim to fame that we’ve recently been rolling out: tea frescas. 

Tea-frescas are our own new Mission meets boba shop fusion. One part Mexican agua fresca or ‘fresh water’, those sweet, fruity and floral blends that taquerias sell in heaping batches. The other part, the oh so familiar syrup based fruit tea that many boba shops are known for. Both being refreshing and delicious in their own ways, we wondered what a drink would look like if we concocted a tea version of the two. 

The idea was to create a next level quality product, sans powder or fruit syrups and instead use fresh, seasonally sourced, housemade fruit purees. Then, mix the puree with our classic tea blends you already know and love over ice. Thus creating our hybrid, the tea-fresca: a fresh fruit tea.  

With the Indian summer here, what kind of new fruity flavors would you like to cool off with?

We're Back!

Bin Chen

Hey boba guys, gals, fans, addicts, obsessers, 

We know it’s been awhile (okay, more than awhile) but we’ve been more than busy lately. In the past year we’ve been growing fast, moving fast and making many new things (drinks, stores, and even a tea company)! But we’re happy to announce we’re dusting off the cobwebs and are re-entering the blogosphere.  Social media has been such a huge part of our journey as a company and having a blog where we can update, connect and share with you all things Boba Guys is important to us. We've moved off of Tumblr and are located right on our very own site! For now, sort through our old posts and make sure to keep an eye out for new posts soon (very soon)! 

We're back (street) back, alright! 

Bin Chen

The day has finally come…the grand opening of Boba Guys Union Square!

Where? 429 Stockton St.
When? Saturday, Sept 27 from 12pm-10pm

If you’ve been following our journey, you might have picked up that we are more than just next-level boba and tea without powders. We know we’re no longer the new kid on the block. However, our mission has always been about building community, bridging cultures and doing the right thing.

So we’ve partnered up with Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly - San Francisco Chapter and we’ll be donating all of our profits from our grand opening just like we did with our Mission store grand opening!

We have far too many people to thank for helping us get this far…from our customers, to our families and friends as well as our kickstarter backers! We hope you’ll stop and help us celebrate!

Emotional Intelligence in Small Businesses

Bin Chen

We used to be a lot better about sharing our internal workings. When we had a column on GOOD, the self-imposed deadlines forced us to share anything and everything about our business practices. As we’re gearing up to open our second official location in Union Square, we wanted to share an email we sent to all our Team Leads (shift leads, catering leads, etc) from a while back. It gives you a glimpse into how we manage our teams and strive for excellence. 

We’ve been getting a lot of emails about entrepreneurship and marketing strategy lately. We want to apologize in advance for our super slow response. We’re about bringing people together and being transparent, so we hope to answer all your questions one day. In the meantime, you might come across this post because we directed you to it. We don’t mean to be so impersonal, but captures our sentiment about leading small teams better than any email I write in haste. 






Bin and I have been talking with most of you about Emotional Intelligence in our 1:1s. It’s something that’s hard to convey in person, much less in a document. However, for many of us, we need multiple sources of stimuli to converge in order to hit home. I’m just passing this stimuli. =)

Article: What Makes a Leader? 

The first article (attached) is the hot lens in modern management. As Bin and I have said to each one of you, our servant leadership values is just an extension of having strong character and solid EQ (Emotional Intelligence). I read this as an undergrad (20 y.o.) and I went through it again in grad school (27 y.o.). I then came across this a third time as I’ve been meeting CEOs and government leaders (32 y.o.). My point is this thing has been passed around like a hot letter in high school! It’s timeless!

The biggest takeaway is this chart captures the EQ-level that all Shift Leads, Managers, and Committee Leads (e.g. Tea People, R&D) should have one day. As we hire more people, the bar only gets higher, so we want to make sure our current team, you, is prepared for our growth.

Article: Can You Really Improve Your EQ?

I know not everyone wants to be a “leader” and manage a team. That being said, I think everyone does want to improve their situation, both professionally and personally. Also, leadership manifests itself in every social situation, from friendships to your family. This is a good way blueprint on improving EQ. I know it sounds self-help, but almost every C-level executive in the Fortune 500 and government leader reads Harvard Business Review, so please read it with an open mind.

Here are the highlights from this article:

  1. Your level of EQ is firm, but not rigid.
  2. Good coaching programs do work.
  3. But you can only improve if you get accurate feedback.
  4. Some techniques (and coaches) are more competent than others. 
  5. Some people are more coachable than others. 

Interview: The Truth about Great Leaders

I was given this article by one of my mentors. It’s a quick read that covers all the holes that are missing in the first two resources. My favorite points:

  • “Studies conducted by companies evaluating their own executives have proven that the top 10% of performers displayed superior competencies in emotional intelligence, rather than in purely cognitive thinking.”

  • “The smart leader can get results in the short-term, the wise leader can net results in both the short and the long-term.”

Sorry to blast you with two self-helpish emails. I send this to our Leads because you guys are the driving force of Boba Guys. With all the great press this week, Bin and I count on you to fulfill the promise we make to the public. We are a team– no one part is better or more important than the other. That’s why we need everyone well-greased and working properly. (Sorry, I just had to watch the latest Cars movie for work.)

Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks,


[link to this article]

Bin Chen

We’re pleased to introduce our first line of premium Boba Guys enamel camp mugs! They’re perfect for tea (or coffee) out in the woods or in the comfort of your own home. We sourced them from a manufacturer in Europe who still uses WWII era equipment to produce these classic and sturdy cups. Each steel mug is coated in hand-dipped enamel, with a double layer on the handle and rim to keep them going strong.

*Please note these mugs are made by hand, resulting in small bits of character that make them truly unique.

Bin Chen

As most of you know, San Francisco is home to some of the world’s best coffee roasters.

After rounds and rounds of cuppings, we have finally selected our winner! We are proud to announce that we have chosen De La Paz!

We chose DLP not only because of their ‪#‎nextlevelquality‬ but also because they share our philosophy on the potential for blends. Our coffee milk tea is the first item to use the beans, but our partnership already has us working on new and exciting things for the future!

Bin Chen

It might be easy to just think of us as just a cafe (albeit serving the highest quality ingredients in the world for boba) but we’re actually comprised of accomplished entrepreneurs, bakers, product designers photographers and writers! In other words, we have a lot in common with many of our customers!

Because we value transparency so much, we hope to start sharing more behind the scenes work that we do that might not be immediately obvious at first glance. Here’s our “work in progress” menu wireframe designed by our new team member Jesse based on feedback we’ve received from customers

Bin Chen

This post has been a LONG, LONG time in coming. In lieu of today's Gizmodo post, we think now is the best time to talk about our milk… and shake things up a bit. *cheesy rimshot*

A lot of people ask us why we made the decision to use Straus organic milk in all of our milk teas. We hear it a lot:

“Milk is all the same, right?”

“People across the US drink it every day and they’re fine. Why do you guys have to use organic milk? That’s soooo bourgy." 

"I’m fine with non-dairy creamer. Tons of people drink it every morning. We all can’t be wrong.”

Well, we tried to address it on our FAQ page, but it’s hidden in the deep recesses of the website. It’s just easier to highlight it every so often like today.

Before we get started, we wanted to set the context. We don’t try to be “bourgy, "hipster,” or “artisan” because it’s trendy or different. We do it because it represents values that we can be proud of. We’re deathly afraid of being labeled as self-important, so it’s a very fine line to straddle. For example, our brown sugar for our housemade syrup base is not organic mostly because it’s so crazy expensive– we try to be as prudent as possible and always ask if the customer finds value in whatever it is we do.

So back to milk. We’ve all heard “Milk does a body good.” We believe organic milk does a body better. And Straus Family Creamery is the leader in this space. That is why many of the best ice cream shops in the Bay Area like Bi-Rite or Humphry Slocombe use Straus

Once upon a time after business school, I worked in CPG (consumer packaged goods). I was put on a food brand in my first assignment and worked in the salad dressing market with brilliant food scientists. Let’s just say I learned A LOT about the processed food and dairy industry. While I am forever grateful that I got world-class training, I always felt weird about promoting something I had issues with consuming myself.

It is there that I developed the strong conviction that some, though not all, foods are much better when there are high-quality standards (e.g. organic, no rBST). Fortunately, my business partner is very passionate about this, too.

Although there are debates on whether or not organic products are truly better, most agree on two things: organic milk does not have rBST and are processed with savory production conditions. Also, we think the cows are happier, too. Doesn’t that count for anything?!

The real question is if all of this is worth the price. To us, it is. 

So that’s why our milk brings all the boys to the yard. Damn right, it’s better than yours.




Bin Chen

We have big news to share!

Our mission is to change the way people think about boba and tea. We chase this dream through three core values: quality, transparency, and giving a damn. 

That mission has now lead us to build our 2nd store inUnion Square! This time though, it’s not just another store, it’s about building what we’ve always dreamt of building…Boba Guys Labs! 

Boba Guys Labs is a place where we can continue making our products in-house, experiment with new ideas, and build lasting community. It’s the boba revolution!

Today we launch our Kickstarter to help build our most ambitious project to date. But we need your help to raise $30,000 to open our doors. Please watch the video, back us and most importantly…help us get the word out! We’ll be sharing more information in the days to come.