The small town of Evanston, IL isn't known for its trendiness. Beautiful falls and brutal winters, yes, but I wouldn't look to the home of Northwestern University for the latest fad. Nonetheless, my obsession with the boba tea trend inspired me to bob for bubbles around Evanston. Below you'll find the result of my trendy trek, and, surprisingly, you won't be disappointed with the options for boba tea in Evanston. 

Before we tap into the tapioca, though, let's discuss what boba tea actually is. Boba tea originated in small Taiwanese tea shops in the 1980s. It is a combination of two things: black, chewy tapioca pearls and a liquid that could be milk tea, iced tea, iced coffee, hot tea, hot coffee or even smoothies and freezes. These drinks come in a variety of different flavors and have grown from a trend to a modern American staple. 

Kung Fu Tea

Giovana Gelhoren

Kung Fu Tea is the closest boba tea spot to campus, and, therefore, has become one of the most popular go-to's for the ~hippest~ Northwestern students. This little shop next to Subway (you definitely know where the Subway is, right?) boasts a wide variety of flavors, spanning from classic milk teas to frozen slushies. 

Price Range: $3.25-$6.00

Address: 726 Clark Street

Type of Hangout: A quick hangout with friends

Joy Yee

Giovana Gelhoren

Joy Yee is also a prime boba destination for any  Northwestern student. Their multi-page menu can feel overwhelming, but the wide assortment of Pan-Asian offerings are sure to make anyone happy, albeit extremely full. When it comes to boba, you can choose between smoothie-style milk teas or freezes. Each drink is 24 ounces of pure joy. 

Price Range: $4.50-$6.90

Address: 519-523 Davis Street

Type of Hangout: Casual dining with family or friends

527 Cafe

Giovana Gelhoren

Right next door to Joy Yee, you'll find 527 Cafe - a fierce competitor in the battle for the best boba tea in Evanston (who knew we were so on-trend?!). 527 Cafe is smaller, more traditional and has a more limited array of food and drink than Joy Yee. If you're riding the boba boat, you can choose from traditional Taiwanese iced teas or milk teas, which are offered cold or hot, with or without additional toppings. One major draw of 527 is that they offer Crema (a thick, frothy cream) as a topping on some teas, and it is truly delicious.

Price: $3.85-$5.50

Address: 527 Davis Street

Type of Hangout: A more formal sit-down dining option with either friends or family

Shang Noodles & Chinese

Giovana Gelhoren

Don't let the name fool you. Sure, Shang Noodles & Chinese serves up a mean Kung Pao Chicken, but their underappreciated boba is second to none. Though their boba tea variation is limited compared to the spots above, it's also a must when trying out boba in Evanston.

Price: $3.50-$4.60

Address: 608 Davis Street

Type of Hangout: A more formal sit-down and dine option with either friends or family

As it turns out, Evanston, IL just might be the place to spot the next up-and-coming craze. These four spots are my current faves to satisfy my Boba Tea cravings, but I'll let you know next time where to find some trendy avocado toast.