Could ‘boba’ replace coffee? First look – and taste – as Cupp bubble tea opens in Dundee

The “drink you can chew” – bubble tea – is coming to Dundee’s Reform Street in new boba store CUPP.

Bubble tea or boba is a type of tea which originates from Taiwan, that includes milk and tapioca balls.

Boba is popular on social media due to its colourful appearance and the oversized straw used to suck up the tapioca balls.

At Cupp, they have a range of flavours on offer, including fruit milk teas, matcha teas, hot boba teas and even baby boba.

The venue is small, but very stylish and minimalistic. In keeping with the online trend, there are boba plushies, and other merchandise available for fans of the drink.

Cupp is opening on Friday March 1. Image: Paul Reid

Mikayla Whittle is the head of franchising for Cupp in Scotland.

She says: “We hope that everyone comes out and gives it a try – even if it’s a new thing that you’ve not tried before.

“Once you try it, it is absolutely addictive.”

Boba an alternative to your morning coffee?

So why has bubble tea become such a craze in the UK?

“There’s a steer away from super caffeinated coffee,” says Mikayla.

“People are looking for something that’s a little bit different, and here, we have something for everyone.

“We have so many different flavour combinations that you could go in there for a year and get a different drink.

Staff at the launch event for Cupp bubble tea. Image: Paul Reid.

“Cupp a celebrated name in bubble tea with an unmatched reputation for flavour and quality.

“I think the major difference is that we use all fruit purees. We don’t use any artificial fruit flavourings and we use real, organic milk.

“We’ve had amazing success in our stores across Scotland so far.

“We are really excited to showcase boba in Dundee, and I think Reform Street is a great location for it.”

What does Cupp Dundee’s bubble tea taste like?

Kaya Macleod and food and drink journalist Joanna Bremner tried out the offering from Cupp.

Cupp’s launch event was packed with local foodies excited to try out the bubble tea on offer.

We were spoiled for choice, having to choose between milk tea, fruit tea, brown sugar tea, matcha tea, cloud series, fruit milk teas, mochi teas, coffee boba and hot boba.

We chose – with the helpful advice of staff member Becky – the taro cloud cake tea, mango matcha tea and brown sugar tea.

Kaya Macleod and food and drink journalist Joanna Bremner tried out the offering from Cupp. Image: Paul Reid

The flavours and appearances of the drinks varied greatly, and there were plenty of options for customisation.

You could choose to get your drink hot or iced, with several choices of milk and an overwhelming selection of toppings.

The brown sugar milk tea was by far our favourite.

Taro cloudcake milk tea, brown sugar milk tea and mango matcha milk tea. Image: Paul Reid.

We had this one iced with whole milk and tapioca pearls.

It was the right level of sweet, with some warmth coming from the brown sugar. The tapioca pearls were nice and chewy.

One thing you need to keep in mind if it is your first time trying boba, is the small pearls, bubbles or balls in the drink. They’ll be a bit of a surprise if you’re not anticipating them!

‘Style over substance’ with some Cupp bubble tea?

Next up we tried the taro cloudcake milk tea. This pretty lilac beverage was topped with Lotus biscuits, and we had it iced, with coconut jelly and whole milk.

This one was very sweet which I enjoyed, but we found the biscuit topping slightly odd, and it took some getting used to.

Finally, we got a taste of the mango matcha milk tea. This we tried with oat milk, coconut jelly and strawberry popping bubbles.

The mango matcha milk tea at Cupp, Dundee. Image: Paul Reid

These bubbles properly burst in your mouth to release delicious fruity juice.

But this drink wasn’t to our taste either, though we noted that the coconut jelly did pair better with the mango purée.

Kaya noted that it was “style over substance” and called the consistency “gloopy”.

Cupp opens on Friday March 1 at 2pm on 33 Reform Street Dundee.

Reform Street has a 26.5% shop vacancy rate, compared with 35.9% on Commercial Street. The city’s average is 18.5%.

Track the empty units in the city with The Courier’s Dundee shops tracker.

Lifestyle – The Courier