Living in the south bay, bubble tea shops are as common as your local Starbucks. Though there are many places to buy boba in Cali, not all boba places are made the same. Many places use powder mixes, sugar syrups, and creamers. While convenient and inexpensive, these ingredients aren't healthy because they are often loaded with artificial sugars, preservatives, and additives. 

As someone who is semi-health conscious, I am always on the lookout for tea places that steep their own tea and who use fresh fruits, cane sugar, and fresh milk. Whether you call it boba, milk tea, or bubbles, here are 10 of the best places to snag some drinks in the Silicon Valley.

1. Happy Lemon

Home to the legendary salted cheese drink, Happy Lemon serves a unique concoction people swoon over. By the sound of it, one may be appalled, as the thought of cheese in a drink sounds absurd. The salted cheese is made from whipped cream, milk, cream cheese, and a hint of rock salt. If you aren't on board with the salted cheese, they have plenty of other options, such as the classic green and black milk tea, smoothies, or slushes . 

Recommendations: Black Tea with Salted Cheese (50% sugar, 25% ice) and Oreo Slush

2. Gong Cha 

Located in downtown San Jose, Gong Cha is often buzzing with high school students as well as San Jose State students. Serving fresh milk tea, slushes, lattes, coffee and tea, they offer a myriad of options to choose from. They also offer a mustache foam, which is similar to the salted cheese at Happy Lemon. In addition to drinks, this San Jose location now serves popcorn chicken. 

Recommendation: Wintermelon 

3. Boba Bar Teahouse and Eatery 

Calling all cat lovers! If you happen to be in downtown San Jose, be sure to check out this boba bar and their cat, Carne. Carne resides outside of Boba Bar's door on the porch and you will probably find him either napping or meandering around.

While the focal point of this boba bar is the cat, they offer delicious drinks, such as Nutella milk tea, strawberry mint, and lemonade. In addition to their delicious drinks, they have hearty bowls, such as the tofu eggplant bowl, orange chicken broccoli bowl, and popcorn chicken. This is a great place for a quick, on-the-go meal, boba run, or just an excuse to play with Carne. 

Recommendation: Strawberry Mint with boba 

4. Jazen Tea

Located right next to Pho Hoa, this tea spot also serves up warm, delicious, hearty bowls of pho. Jazen tea uses real fruit and Taiwanese tea leaves as opposed to powder mixes. While they do serve pho, other snacks include a potato twister, popcorn chicken, and even Vietnamese tacos. 

Recommendation: Tutti Frutti with honey boba

5. Ten Ren Tea Co

With freshly made milk tea, soft and chewy pearls, and quick service, Ten Ren's tea is a place worth checking out. They offer a variety of slushes, lattes, milk teas, and yogurt drinks. Ten Ren also has a list of "healthy" drinks in case you want to go out on a boba run, but want to opt for a healthier option. While they may not sell typical snacks like other boba shops, Ten Ren they offer wasabi peas, jasmine candy, and even sells tea leaves to make at home.

Recommendations: #80 Taro with Grass Jelly 

6. ShareTea

Known for their high-quality tea, ShareTea is another place that you do not want to miss. Originating in Taiwan in 1992, ShareTea now has hundreds of locations sprawled across Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. They have numerous options for drinks, from fruit teas, to milk teas, to fresh brewed tea, to even ice blended drinks  If one of your guilty pleasures involves milk tea and ice cream, then ShareTea is the perfect place to satisfy that craving. 

Recommendation: Black tea with Ice Cream and boba at 50% sweetness and 50% ice 

7. Pekoe

While the line may be long, Pekoe is well worth the wait. With numerous offerings for their special drinks and signature ones, there is surely one that you will love. To ensure that you get the bang for your buck, Pekoe uses loose leaf teas and organic cane sugar in their drink. In addition, the cream mixture they use is vegan and suitable for those with a lactose intolerance. Another aspect that makes Pekoe unique is the way they serve their drinks—in light bulb jars as well as split cups. 

Recommendation: Pretty in Pink 50% sweetness 

8. Tea Lyfe

Situated in Vietnam town, you will find this adorable bear-themed boba shop. This boba joint uses fresh, organic tea leaves, local raw honey, and milk from green-pastured cows. They also offer many unique drinks such as horchata, Vietnamese iced coffee, and seasonal teas including strawberry hibiscus. Tea Lyfe also offers waffles, Mille crepe cakes, macarons, and cupcakes. 

Recommendation: Matcha Latte with boba 

9. iTea

This is one of my personal favorite boba places because both their drinks and snacks are fresh. A unique aspect about i-Tea is that they sell ramen along with their scrumptious snacks. The ramen is a perfect meal to grab when you're in a rush, and is always made fresh. My favorite snacks from here are their takoyaki fries and popcorn chicken. These snacks have a nice spice, crunch, and flavor to them. 

Recommendation: Matcha Smoothie with Green tea pudding, red bean, and boba at 50% sweetness and 50% ice. 

10. Teaspoon

Hand-crafted, freshly brewed, and using organic cane sugar, Teaspoon offers fresh and high-quality boba drinks. Unlike most places, the cups at Teaspoon are more narrow and elongated. They also serve delicious shaved ice, ranging from flavors such as taro to thai tea, and even a create your own option. 

Recommendation: Lychee Mojito with boba (this is non-alcoholic) 

There are so many different types of boba drinks, so even if you try one that you don't like, don't think you won't ever like it. Each boba place is unique and has a special preparation method. From freshly brewed teas to organic cane sugar to housemade syrups, you now know how to get the freshest drinks possible.