Update (March 2015): It is to my extreme sadness to announce this location has closed. Fingers crossed they open a new location (that is not across another popular bubble tea chain).
I love my bubble tea. What I love less about it are the crazy wait times, watery drinks, and mushy tapioca. Over the years, either my tastes evolved or the quality of a lot of bubble tea places has gone down. Kung Fu Tea Shop is undoubtedly my favourite and combats all the issues I have with other bubble tea shops.
Ever since I first went here on recommendation from my sister, it has quickly become my go-to place for bubble tea in downtown Toronto. Just down the street from the ever-crowded ChaTime, Kung Fu Tea Shop is a great little nook to study or grab a drink to go, and I am always willing to walk a little out of my way in order to get here.
Their drinks are sweetened with honey instead of sugar syrup, and as with many other bubble tea places, they ask for your sweeteness and ice level preference.
Among my favourites are the two pictured below: 38 Milk King (milk tea with jelly noodles/vermicelli, tapioca, and grass jelly) and tieguanyin milk tea (they use crushed ice for longer-lasting coldness). A
pologies for the half-full photos; just goes to show how eager I am to drink them? (Went back and took full photos, above!) Another popular drink is their rose milk tea, one of the best drinks according to my sister, which I have yet to try cause I love my favourites too much (tried, and it was delicious!).
The prices are $4.10 for a regular or $4.60 for a large, and tapioca for $0.30, making their prices slightly lower than competitors such as ChaTime. They have specials between certain hours for large drinks for $4, including the pearl milk tea, pictured at the top.
While I usually take my drink to go, one of the times we sat down and the barista provided us with popcorn. This is not always the case as of the few times I’ve sat down, that was the only time it happened.
The service has always been good here; staff are always been friendly whenever I visit. A memory that sticks out was one time we did sit down (with popcorn!), we asked for the wifi password, which we were unable to understand even after the barista repeated it several times. We didn’t want to continue asking, so we were just going to drop it, but her other coworker good-naturedly chided her for her bad pronunciation and wrote it out for us. Though their English may have room for improvement, they are sufficient at explaining the menu items and are always very helpful.
All in all, Kung Fu Tea Shop is the place to go for bubble tea if you’re in the downtown core, especially if you are a fan of the milk variety and don’t like waiting in long lines for a drink!