Published on Nov. 6, 2019
Interviewing students on the rising popularity of boba.
By Javier Manzano
Junior Latrell Aquino drinks boba tea five times a week. That’s 80 ounces of tea in just one week. That’s over 100 boba pearls, and Aquino loves every single one.
Aquino is not alone. In the last few years, boba shops have been popping up left and right, increasing the popularity all around the country, including the SLZUSD district. Most of our interviewees have known about it for quite some time, so why is it getting more popular now? In 2016, Sharetea opened. In 2017, iTea. Most recently, in 2018, three different boba shops opened up in the SLZUSD area. Two of those shops were in the Greenhouse, blocks away from AHS.
Aquino is one of the many boba enthusiasts at this school. When asked about why he likes boba, he states, “Because it’s good, the flavor pallet is pretty diverse, especially on the menu, and also boba’s just nice, its chewy, and stuff like that.”
When asked about his history with boba, he says, “Well, I’m Asian, so I found out a very long time ago, probably when I was around four or five.”
Why is there so much hype? “The boba boom is mainly just a side effect of the general Asian culture boom around the world. I think that’s actually a good thing, because now people get to experience this good ass drink.”
Photo I Alexis May Go
Photos | Javier Manzano
Junior Joneil Reotutar also drinks boba religiously. He discovered boba in freshman year and was hooked. Reotutar said, “It tastes good, the texture... I just like tea in general... I like the fruity taste,” Reotutar said. “[I found out about boba] by my sister freshman year.”
When asked about the benefits of boba, Reotutar said, “Tea is apparently an antioxidant, so it makes you look healthier.”
Aquino goes more in depth about his love for the drink, he said, when asked about whether it’s worth the money goes, “Hell yeah, hell yeah, I would indefinitely say it’s worth it.”
When asked about whether he has ever gotten ill, he says, “Never, never. And I don’t know if that’s genetics or just a streak of luck, but I hope I never get sick from boba.”
Junior Ashely Bernados is another bobaholic at AHS, but her knowledge on the subject is greater since she works at a boba shop. When asked about why she likes it she goes, “I just like the overall taste of the mini pearls and I guess caffeine is just my go-to drink for everything.”
Bernados’ first experience with boba was over five years ago, she says, “My first experience with boba was going to Tapioca Express in San Leandro after my karate practice when I was about 10 years old.”
The benefits of boba is that it is a “good way to hang out with your friends, it’s just a go-to place for all of your friends to hang out and just be happy drinking your favorite drink with others.”
The diversity of boba possibly plays a role in the sudden rise of the tea.
Bernados's Boba Runs
Photos Courtesy of Ashley Bernados
Bernados said, “If you’re lactose and you can’t drink milk, I wouldn’t go for a milk tea but fruit teas are always your second option.”
Is buying boba worth it?
“At MLKY, the boba place I work at, we sell 24 ounce cups only, and they’re pretty large, but it’s good, the price is good for what you’re buying so it’s worth it,” Bernados said.
Working at a boba shop, when asked if she has seen the rise in popularity, she said, “I think boba started trending when I was in middle school, so seventh grade, because that’s when more boba shops started to open in the Bay Area, and pretty soon we had like hundreds and hundreds of boba places in California... social media tends to promote a lot of things that go around. In social media, a lot of people record themselves with their friends at these shops, and they all unite and have a little get together and hang out, so this drink kind of connects people.”
Would you ever give it up? Bernados replied with, “[A]bsolutely not, never in a million years. Boba has become a part of my life along with my identity. I wouldn’t want to abandon something that constantly makes me happy.” •