The Brown Sugar Boba Ice Cream Bar by the Taiwanese Company Shao Mei has captured the attention of boba lovers everywhere. Boba, also known as bubble tea, is the quintessential Asian drink that doubles as a snack. Chewy tapioca pearls mingle with a milk-based tea for the perfect sweet treat. Because boba has a cult-like following, people went mad with excitement when they learned that they could enjoy their favorite drink in ice cream form. But there is a question that comes with any hyped food: does the quality of the product justify all of the attention? I put the brown sugar boba ice cream bar to a taste test, and here’s what I’ve concluded. 

The Look: 10/10

Princie Kim

As a drink, brown sugar boba is visually stunning with its marbled appearance. Similar to pouring cream in coffee, the deep, brown sugar mixture swirls with the creamy, white milk tea base. When I opened the ice cream packaging, I was surprised to see the same beautiful marbling preserved in frozen form. Within those caramel-toned swirls, you can see black spots of boba pearls dispersed throughout the bar. Based on visuals, this product is like the supermodel of ice cream bars.

The Ice Cream Texture: 3/10

The texture of the ice cream in this boba bar is unlike that of your typical ice cream bar—and not in a good way. It's so soft that it feels like it was left out to melt in the sun for several minutes before eating. My tongue sank into the ice cream when I went in for my first lick. In order to keep the ice cream from slipping and sliding off the stick, you have to take awkward bites instead of licking the ice cream like you would normally. Given how soft the cream is, you'd expect the milk base to be extra creamy, but that isn't the case. The richness of the ice cream is comparable to that of a standard Klondike bar.

The Boba: 9/10

Princie Kim

This was the part I was most skeptical of. There's nothing worse than biting into a hard, undercooked boba pearl. I thought there was no way the boba pearls could stay soft and bouncy if they were frozen in ice cream, but I was proven wrong. Shao Mei somehow found a way to preserve tapioca’s chewiness in the freezer, and the boba in the ice cream rivals the texture of fresh boba in the traditional drink. The only downside is that there are too little boba pearls in the bar. There were only about five suspended in the entire bar. If I’m promised boba ice cream, I want a good amount of boba, not a measly five pearls.

The Taste: 5/10

As a huge fan of lavender and earl grey ice cream, I was looking forward to tasting another tea-based ice cream flavor. But as I ate the bar, I could barely detect any floral or herbal tea flavor. More similar to plain vanilla than tea, the bar lacks dimension in the flavor department. Rather than blooming my taste buds with the flavor of milk tea, the ice cream tasted more like sweetened milk. The streaks of brown sugar, which I expected would enhance the ice cream flavor with deeper molasses notes, contributed nothing special

Overall Average Score: 6.75/10

Would I go through the hassle of scouring multiple Asian supermarkets for this ice cream bar again? Probably not. The hype around the sweet treat revolves around the novelty of boba pearls inside of ice cream, and its visual appeal boosts the excitement. In terms of the actual taste and texture, however, the bar is disappointing. If I’m craving brown sugar milk tea with boba, I’ll most likely go out to buy the drink over this new ice cream bar.