There are a few places that serve bubble tea in West Vancouver – a juice stall in the Park Royal Mall, Chef Hung, and a fish n’ chips shop called Pisces – but I can’t say that I know of any bubble tea cafes in the area before I found out about Bubble Tree Cafe.
From the exterior, it looked Bubble Tree Cafe was a straightforward bubble tea place that also served smoothies and coffee to lure in bubble-tea-unaware newbies. The inside of the cafe revealed something else entirely.
Its hard to tell from the above photograph, but Bubble Tree Cafe is actually more of a smoothie selling candy store that also serves chocolate fondue, shaved ice, coffee, and bubble tea.
Since my wife, kids, and I were quite full from our meal a few doors down at Shanghai Village, none of us had enough intestinal capacity for one of their delicious-looking smoothies. My wife and I both had a small black Americano in hopes of raising our heart rates and, in turn, speeding up the digestive process (totally not proven); my son had a hot chocolate because he wanted a chocolate ‘dessert’; my daughter had an order of milk tea with pearls that she planned on taking more than an hour to finish.
I’m no coffee expert, but I think that the Americano tasted fairly good. It was as good as the Americano that my wife and I usually get at the West Van Bean Around The World. It also tasted similar to the cups of Americano we sometimes get at coffee places like Starbucks. Similarly, the hot chocolate that my son had basically tasted like hot chocolate served at Tim’s, McDee’s, Starbucks, or your local ski lodge.
As far as flavours go, the milk tea with pearls was the beverage that had the most unique and non-generic flavours. Although still recognizable as Taiwanese milk tea with its light tea and creamer base flavours, the milk tea had an extra aromatic layer that suggested the presence of a different variety of tea. I couldn’t pinpoint what the flavour was exactly because I only had a sip of the milk tea, but my guess would be that they used a more aromatic varietal such as Earl Grey as their tea base.
The lone tapioca pearl that I had demonstrated to me that it was well-cooked. It was teeth-bouncing throughout while being fully coated with sweetness. There amount of pearls in the milk tea was just about average for non-Taiwanese bubble tea places. They definitely were not so crazy-generous as to fill more than a third of the cup with tapioca, but the four rows of fat “frog eggs” in my daughter’s cup was definitely not a sign of profit-maximizing stinginess.
Bubble Tea Cafe is definitely a place worth visiting for bubble tea if you are ever in the area. As far as I can tell, it serves both coffee and bubble tea that pleases more than disappoints. My wife and I will definitely revisit the place to sample their yummy-looking smoothies. My kids will also definitely ask me to take them there again for some candy.