It is surprisingly difficult to find boba in Sacramento. Only a few cafes spread throughout the city show up on a quick Yelp search for the tea-based (and frequently fruity) drink bejeweled with sunken boba balls. Compared to the popularity of boba in Davis or the Bay Area, Sacramento is seriously lacking.
Here to change that is Pearls Boba. Opening its doors in early June on the stretch of Fair Oaks Boulevard between Sac State and Loehmann’s Plaza, Pearls not only adds itself among the sparse number of shops in Sacramento, but also sets out to do boba differently.
“Our cafe is kind of a combination of international teas and a healthier take on the boba drinks,” says Pearls Boba 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 creates her own unique take on boba drinks is by using loose leaf tea to create a stronger tea taste rather than the artificial sugar boba is commonly known for. Different tea options include chrysanthemum, osthmanthus, cherry blossom green. To complement the deep tea taste, Lee recommends adding an extra fruit flavor, made out of fresh fruit. This way, the tea tastes more like an iced tea rather than a juice.
In addition to the fresh teas, Lee also offers 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 boba and a lot of teas that are caffeine free.”
The shop is a different venture for Lee, one that she originally pursued due to her disappointment in the lack of boba 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,” said Lee. “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, great tasting boba, but also offers a comfortable, well-designed rustic-themed sitting area and a full coffee bar and shaved ice. Tables line the natural light cafe and welcomes guests and students with free Wi-Fi or place for friends looking for a meet up spot.
Customers also have the option to drink their boba in a cafe-personalized mason jar, which is available for purchase.
Pearls Boba 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 pearlsboba.com.
Photos by Kasey Furutani