A Northwestern student’s guide to Evanston’s bubble tea options


Illustration by Angeli Mittal

Evanston is home to about seven stores you can peruse to satisfy your tea needs.

Iris Swarthout, Senior Staffer

Coffee consumption will likely skyrocket during your time at Northwestern, whether it’s to combat a midterm or grant you energy to stay up past 2 a.m. at Main Library. But for those looking for a different source of caffeine, bubble tea is the go-to option for many Wildcats. Evanston is home to several bubble tea places with an array of flavors and toppings. 

Tealicious Bubble

Tealicious Bubble, which opened in 2019, is located farthest south from campus but is well worth the walk. With imported tea leaves from Taiwan — where bubble tea originated — and handmade taro boba, Tealicious strives for authenticity. 

Flavors range from the fruity passionfruit green tea to the Traditional Taiwan Milk Tea with prices hanging at about $5 for a regular sized drink and $6 for a large. Tealicious also serves soups, egg waffles and bento boxes if you need something to snack on while sipping. The shop offers a student discount with your Wildcard.

Happy Lemon

Located right down Sheridan Road and offering a student discount, Happy Lemon is a convenient Boba option in a pinch. Owner Trinh Le opened the store’s Evanston location last July.

One of the most unique aspects of Happy Lemon is its famous salted cheese topping, which adds zest to the drinking experience. Fresh lemon is incorporated into some traditional green tea, Jasmine green tea and Black tea flavors as well. For those looking for a bite to eat, Happy Lemon is also known for their bubble waffles.  

Kung Fu Tea 

If you are looking for a familiar face for tea, global chain Kung Fu Tea is right off of campus on Clark St.

This bubble tea store sells juice, smoothies, ice cream and frozen yogurt. It also sells an array of asian foods including popcorn chicken and fried dumplings. Teas sold here are extensive in variety including the Sesame Oolong Milk and Lychee Punch teas, and toppings range from traditional tapioca pearls to jelly. 

Joy Yee Noodle

Joy Yee Noodle, a Chicago-area chain that started in Evanston, offers an immense variety of Chinese and Asian offerings. The restaurant also introduced Taiwanese bubble tea to the midwest for the first time upon opening in 1994, making Joy Yee a bubble tea landmark. 

Joy Yee offers an array of bubble tea flavors and is known for their fruit freezes and large portion sizes. Bobas can be tapioca-filled or fruit-flavored bursting, though customers can also choose from other toppings like custard pudding and herbal grass jelly. You can check Joy Yee out at 533 Davis St. 

Cafe 527

Cafe 527 is a family-owned, small business with its location right in the name: 527 Davis St.  Along with dessert teas such as Rose Matcha Latte, Chocolate Freeze and Oreo Milk Tea, the shop offers classic Taiwanese milk teas and fruit teas. Cafe 527 also sells Asian quick bites like fried tofu and steamed vegetables. 

Möge Tee

Möge Tee, which opened in Evanston this summer, is an international chain inspired by Chinese traditional tea. The Uji Matcha tea, for instance, is a traditional japanese matcha named for the Japanese city where the tea leaves are traditionally cultivated. 

Evanston’s Möge Tee is located downtown at 1590 Sherman Ave. The Yogurt Fruit tea series incorporating strawberry, mango and avocado flavors should satisfy those looking for a thicker texture, and the store also sells souffles for those hankering for a sweet bite. 

Shang Noodle and Chinese

Shang Noodle and Chinese offers teas like the Chinese Hong Kong Iced Milk Tea and the Thai Iced Milk Tea with four choices of toppings: tapioca, nata jelly, crystal boba and mango popping bubbles. The store also offers soft drinks like the Yuzu Passion Fruit soda and The Galaxy Lychee Drink along with an array of hot teas like the Pink Rose and Lychee Black. 

This authentic Chinese restaurant sells noodles, rice dishes, appetizers and drinks in Evanston, Streeterville and the South Loop. The Evanston location  sits at 608 Davis St.

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Twitter: @swarthout_iris

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