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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Tea Maru’s boba drinks top all others in San Gabriel

By Sophia Pu | Staff Writer

   Pak! The boba straw punctured the lid. Slurrrp. Pop! A glistening boba jumped from the straw into my mouth. Mmmmm.

   These are the sounds that any boba lover, like myself, knows well. Growing up in the San Gabriel Valley, it is as if there is a boba shop with every turn. So I set out to find the one true best boba shop in all of San Gabriel.

   Over the course of two days, my friends and I tried a total of seventeen drinks from six boba shops. And the winner was… drumroll please… Tea Maru!

   When we ordered our drinks online, I was struck by how user-friendly their website was. I could see the name, price, and picture of each drink without feeling like I had to scroll forever. We ordered the Mango Fluffy Matcha, Taro Fresh Milk with Boba, Mango Green Tea Cheese Foam, and Tea Maru Latte.

   The layers of flavor and texture in the Mango Fluffy Matcha lets both the mango and the whipped cream shine spectacularly. Tea Maru uses real, fresh bits of fruit, which gave a juicy bite to the silkiness of the milk. Neither flavor overpowers the other, and though we ordered it with 100% sugar, it was not too sweet.

   When not brewed correctly, green tea can easily taste overpoweringly bitter or underwhelmingly light. However, in the Mango Green Tea Cheese Foam, all the components worked in harmony. The mango flavor brought a brightness to the nutty tones of the green tea, which complimented the light, creamy, salty cheese foam.

  What was unique about the Taro Fresh Milk with Boba is that they used real taro, and it did not taste artificial at all. Many tea shops’ taro drinks are very sugary and purple in color, but Tea Maru’s taro was in its natural state: a white root with pink specks and a very subtle flavor. The boba was smaller in size, purple in color, and according to their website, made out of sweet potato. Chewy but not hard to eat, the pearls were just the right consistency.

   We got our Tea Maru Latte with oolong tea, the other choices being black, green, and four seasons tea. The oolong tea’s strong fruity aroma was not very compatible with the rest of the drink’s flavor, but it was clear that the tea was of high quality. The boba in the latte was a mix of purple and yellow pearls, something I have not seen anywhere else.

   We chose to use organic cow milk in all of our drinks, but Tea Maru does offer lactose-free milk, oat milk,and soy milk as alternatives. They also have a very wide and unique selection of toppings, including mango and black sesame boba, which are only available on weekends.

   The only criticism I have is that Tea Maru’s ambiance is not appealing. There is music playing, but instead of making the space feel lived-in, it bounces off their bare, white walls. It is understandable that like most other tea shops, they have set themselves up to be pick-up-and-go with no indoor seating due to the pandemic. However, other boba bars at least have decorations on their walls to give the store personality.

   I definitely recommend Tea Maru for their fresh, natural, unique ingredients. Their service is pretty fast, taking only ten minutes for four drinks. However, it is only possible to pay with cash in person, as they only accept credit cards, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay online.

   Tea Maru’s prices range from $4 to $6.

Tea Maru

709 W Las Tunas Dr

San Gabriel, CA, 91776


Open daily 11:30 am-10:30 pm

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Tea Maru’s boba drinks top all others in San Gabriel