They say you can tell if someone’s a Californian from three things they never stop talking about: how cold it is, how much they miss boba on the west coast, and how they “can’t believe you can drive to another state in less than an hour, that’s so weird." I am, in fact, a Californian, and I am very much guilty of all three of these. So, what better way to acknowledge my roots than to write a boba-themed article? Without further ado, here is your Brown dining hall alignment based on your go-to boba order.

Thai Tea Boba: Andrews

Often found in the top 5 most popular drinks at any given boba shop, Thai tea boba is generally a solid staple drink. Andrews generally has good options and is on a consistent rotation so you know what to expect. Pro-tips: Roll into Andrews on Fridays for dinner to have a nice steaming bowl of noodle soup. If you’re ever in the mood for pizza, the grandma margherita is the move. Also, a more elusive but indubitably delicious sandwich is the chicken banh mi that sometimes appears on weekend dinners. (It’s my current favorite food from any dining hall!)

Brown Sugar Milk Tea Boba: S.O.E. Cafe

It’s THE classic boba drink. This is the one drink every reputable boba shop has to nail, so it’s very often one of the best. The S.O.E. Cafe is extremely consistent, and more importantly, it’s consistently great. Whether you want a breakfast sandwich, coffee, pastry, lunch sandwich, or snack, this little cafe has you covered. Hands down, it’s the best use of your flex points. The atmosphere is also great for studying or chatting with friends. My recommendation: get the spinach-egg-and-swiss or green-eggs-and-ham breakfast sandwich for a nice start to your morning. Throw in a blueberry muffin or chocolate croissant if you’re feeling funky; the blueberry muffins have a sugar crust coating that is just *chef’s kiss*.

Taro Milk Boba: Vdub

Taro milk boba is visually appealing (purple!) and doesn’t have caffeine. The Vdub is also visually appealing, and the vibes are decaffeinated — as in, I’ve heard people say they could put their heads down and sleep in the Vdub the whole day if they wanted to (they could also just be sleep-deprived). The Vdub has a comfortable dining atmosphere with just the right amount of ambient noise. I’d attribute the comfortable feeling to a combination of the way the tables are arranged (you can fit so many people at the same table, #collegecommunity) and how the sunlight streams through the windows facing Meeting St. in the morning.

Coffee Latte Boba: Ratty

Ordering a boba drink that contains coffee may be a bit controversial, but there’s definitely potential for success. Sometimes the Ratty slaps, but sometimes the Ratty falls short. Case in point: caramelized drumsticks vs. tempeh. (Apologies in advance if you enjoy or have friends who enjoy Ratty tempeh. If so, are you available for a quick interview? Just wondering.) Coffee latte boba is like this too – there’s a fine line between coffee latte boba and a latte with boba added in. The latte has to be prepared specifically so that it complements the boba to make the drink cohesive. So, if you ask me if I’m going to order a coffee latte boba at a boba shop or if I’m going to the Ratty for dinner, it’s a strong “maybe.”

Passion Fruit Green Tea Boba: Blue Room

Passion fruit green tea boba has such a delicate balance of green tea and citrusy refreshingness. If you had to translate a “sunny smile” into a boba drink, it’d be this one. The Blue Room also has the essence of a sunny smile with its bright displays of dazzling cafe foods. Passion fruit green tea boba and a Blue Room pastry/sandwich/coffee/slice of cake are both sure to brighten up your day.

Fruit Tea Boba: Ivy Room

There’s nothing quite like the refreshing experience of fruit tea boba. With their daily build-your-own smoothies and sandwiches, the Ivy Room has you covered if you’re going for a standard meal. It’s definitely because of the fruit, but fruit tea boba also feels healthier than other options, just as having an Ivy Room smoothie or sandwich feels like a healthier option than other typical dining hall foods.

Strawberry Yakult Boba: Jo's

Unless you’re a big Yakult fan, ordering strawberry Yakult boba is more of a spontaneous, once-in-a-while order for the typical boba consumer. Jo’s is also like this — not a go-to, but sometimes it just happens. It’s like the famous saying, but in reverse: it’s not about the journey, but about the destination. Maybe you don’t quite know how you got there, but it’s the late-night fries you’re munching on or the strawberry Yakult boba you’re sipping that really matters.

Fruit Smoothie: Gourmet-to-Go

Why are you ordering a non-boba drink at a boba shop? Unless it’s the end of the semester and you’ve realized you have so many flex points to spend with so little time, why are you at Gourmet-to-Go? Unfun fact: A pint of Ben&Jerry’s is a whopping $8 at this dining location. Yikes! You’re better off spending your flex points at the S.O.E. Cafe or the Blue Room.

Final Thoughts

Do you strongly agree with your Brown dining hall alignment? Or was that the worst take you’ve ever heard? Give them a try, and let me know what you think! Want more boba content? Check out these articles for a short history on boba, a behind-the-scenes take by a bobarista, and some more boba recs!