My parents love nothing more than sending me articles about the health concerns of boba, but my great love of bubble tea can not be limited by this sort of negativity. In an attempt to find a 'compromise,' I've searched high and low for boba places with better ingredients-- this means tea brewed from real leaves, instead of from powders, real milk, and if possible, organic ingredients sourced sustainably. Although the bubble tea industry has begun its slow move toward 'better boba,' the availability of such places is still limited. Here are 5 places in San Francisco that serve up the best boba, made with real tea, without sacrificing taste.

1. Boba Guys

Katie Sun

Ah Boba Guys... how do I love thee? Let me count the ways: brewed from premium loose leaf teas from Tea People, local Straus Family Creamery organic milk, house-made fructose-free syrups, real fruit, homemade grass and almond jelly, "grade A balls," and best of all? It's delicious. Boba Guys has been my all-time favorite boba place (big claim, I know) since it opened in the summer of 2013, and I've dragged a decent number of people there over the years that have themselves become dedicated customers-- it's genuinely just that good. It's also continued proof that great ingredients like real tea make an even better product! The founders, Bin Chen and Andrew Chau, have been credited with originating the #fightthepowder and #bobarevolution movements. 

Pictured: classic milk tea with boba (left), jasmine green tea with boba (right)

2. Plentea

Katie Sun

Plentea of qualiTEA ingredients! Plentea's website boasts organic loose leaf teas from Jingmai Mountain in Yunnan, China; homemade simple syrup, seasonal fruit, and organic milk from Clover Stornetta dairy. Located locally in Sonoma County, California, the farm was the first rBST free dairy on the west coast to become American Humane Ceritifed. Notably, the store also serves its tea in glass bottles in order to minimize their waste impact on earth, offering a discount for bringing back the bottles! 

Pictured: mango green tea with lychee jelly 

3. Asha Tea House

Founded by fans of the third-wave coffee movement (i.e. Blue Bottle and Intellegentsia Coffee), Asha Tea House sources their artisan teas from growers that practice sustainable, organic farming techniques. The condensed milk and simple syrups are crafted from antibiotic-free milk and cane sugar; fruit drinks are composed of only house-made purees made from local, seasonal fruits. Hit up their various social media channels (like their Instagram) to see which fruit teas they're currently serving up. You can even check out their website to see the specific tea origins

Pictured: matcha and green tea, with house-made seasonal blueberry, pineapple and strawberry purée (left to right)

4. Sweet a Little

Sweet a Little also features premium loose leaf teas and Grade-A milk free of rBST and antibiotics. Uniquely, the store sweetens its tea with organic agave nectar. Some of the more unusual flavor availabilities are sourced from around the world, including pureed passionfruit from Ecuador, vanilla bean extract from Madagascar, and elderberry from Austria. 

Pictured: oolong milk tea

5. Steap Tea Bar

The loose leaf tea at Steap Tea Bar is sourced directly from farms in Taiwan, and served with local organic milk and sugar, and house-made toppings. Indeed, the place is commended by its customers for having no chalky residues, while still maintaining taste. The bar also allows you to sample the toppings, so have at it (within reason). 

Pictured: matcha milk tea with boba