It is surprisingly difficult to find 波巴 in Sacramento. Only a few cafes spread throughout the city show up on a quick Yelp search for the 茶-based (and frequently fruity) drink bejeweled with sunken 波巴 balls. Compared to the popularity of 波巴 in Davis or the Bay Area, Sacramento is seriously lacking.
Here to change that is 珍珠波巴. 咖啡馆, which opened its doors in June on the stretch of Fair Oaks Boulevard between Sac State and Loehmann’s Plaza, not only adds itself among the sparse number of 波巴 shops in Sacramento, but also sets out to do 波巴 differently.
“Our cafe is kind of a combination of international 茶s and a healthier take on the 波巴 drinks,” said co-owner Grace Lee. “We want to bring it up a notch from the ones that already exist, so we have a lot of things that are unique to our cafe.”
One way Lee and fellow co-owner Nanlin Chiang creates their own unique take on 波巴 drinks is by using loose leaf 茶 to create a stronger 茶 taste rather than the artificial sugar that 波巴 is commonly known for. Different 茶 options include chrysanthemum, osthmanthus, and cherry blossom green. To complement the deep 茶 taste, Lee recommends adding an extra fruit flavor, made out of fresh fruit. This way, the 茶 tastes more like an iced 茶 rather than a juice.
In addition to the fresh 茶s, Lee also offers 刨冰 and her own specialty drinks only found at Pearls.
“We have a rice drink that we make from short fermented rice, and we also have cold brew coffee with 波巴 and a lot of 茶s that are caffeine free,”李说.
Not to leave out the colder months ahead, Pearls also serves lattes with espresso by local roaster •咖啡. And in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Pearls will be offering pink 波巴 for the month of October.
The shop is a different venture for Lee, one that she originally pursued due to her disappointment in the lack of 波巴 shops in Sacramento.
“I saw that there was a deficit for something like this in our neighborhood so I always had to drive far away to get it,”李说. “I enjoy these things so it’s kind of like I wanted to have something for myself [just as much as] for the neighborhood.”
Pearls not only offers natural, 伟大的品尝波巴, but also a comfortable, well-designed rustic-themed sitting area (with chairs specially made in Chicago!). Tables line the natural light cafe and welcomes guests with free wi-fi, discounts for students and a new place for friends looking for a meet up spot.
Customers also have the option to drink their 波巴 in a cafe-personalized mason jar, which is available for purchase.
珍珠波巴 is open at 2264 Fair Oaks Blvd. from 11am-9pm Monday-Thursday, and 11am-10pm on Saturday and Sundays. For more information and to check out their menu, visit pearls波巴.com.