Bubble Tea Station Café brings caffeine, flavor, and fun to East Prater Way next to Hiroba Sushi in Sparks.
Bubble tea, Taiwanese in origin, is a tea-based drink with either milk or fruit. The “bubble” refers to boba – a chewy tapioca often added to the drink. Owner, Leizel Reyes, offers the drinks for exceptional prices: $3 medium or $3.50 large. Toppings can be added at $0.50 each. I grilled Reyes to better understand her offerings.
- Milk Tea: black tea and creamer (dairy or non-dairy)
- Fruit Tea: black tea, creamer (dairy or non-dairy) and fruit flavoring
- Boba: marble-sized tapioca made from the cassava root; kept moist in a light bath of brown sugar and honey; fresh every four hours.
- Mochi: gumdrop-like gummies made from glutinous rice
- Jellies: small cubes of flavored gelatin; varieties: mango, lychee, strawberry, coffee, and mixed
- Popping Pearls*: delicate fruit juice-filled spheres; varieties: passion fruit, lychee, and pomegranate
- Red Beans*: sweetened adzuki beans
The boba and jellies are house-made. The tea is fresh-brewed. Baklava, of Boss Coffee and Creamery, is also offered. The origin of the tea leaves is a trade-secret, so you know they’re good. Standard black tea is used to make most drinks, and Thai Tea* (extra-strength black tea) and Café du Monde* coffee are also available.
What’s up with the asterisks? It’s a secret. Well, sort of. Each asterisked item is available on Reyes’ secret menu.
Customization isn’t just allowed, it’s encouraged. “That’s what we like to do – experiment a lot,” said Reyes about creating dynamic flavors. Whether you enjoy a stiff drink or something sweeter, Reyes can help you dial it in. Prefer blended or on the rocks? Both are available. Pro-tip – choose on the rocks to preserve the texture of your boba.
Excited to employ my insider knowledge, I ordered Thai Tea. Reyes used a tumbler and an automated shaker to mix the ingredients. Once mixed, she let me sample it. It was a touch too sweet, so she added more tea. I chose boba and coffee jellies for fixin’s. The starchy pearls, with cubic coffee backups, called to mind cinnamon rolls and strudel. Tea, anise, cardamom, cream, brown sugar, and coffee built a monument of flavor in my mouth.
Complimentary Wi-Fi beckons students, professionals, and creatives. The décor is chic without becoming uncomfortable. Bench and stool seating are great for a solo lunch break or hanging with friends. Outbound to an off-road excursion? Don’t fret, because each drink is heat-sealed with a leak-resistant wrapper. It’s unquestionably satisfying to puncture the wrapper with the lightsaber-sized straw.
The shop is closed on Mondays. Stop in on Tuesdays to try out the cassava cake. Quick reminder, boba is also made from the cassava root. Reyes makes the sweet Filipino treat every weekend. The cake sells out quickly, so Tuesdays are your best bet to try it.
Bubble Tea Station Café is located at 1495 E. Prater Way, Suite 111, in Sparks. Operating hours are Tuesday through Saturday: 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Additional locations are inside Meadowood Mall and in Midtown at 999 S. Virginia Street.