Gong Cha Classes Up Bubble Tea Near Bryant Park

Since the closure of Sweet Heaven, Midtown West has been deprived of any serious bubble tea options. Along comes Gong Cha, an international bubble tea chain, to inject some alternatives into your afternoon coffee/tea routine. Their lofty claims of “tea fit for royalty” and lack of neon colors immediately signal that this is not your run-of-the-mill teeny-bopper bubble tea cafe. But how do their drinks taste?

If you like super sweet powdered renditions of bubble tea, Gong Cha probably isn’t gonna cut it for you. Apparently, royalty doesn’t like much sugar or fruit in their teas, since you won’t find any fruit juices here, except for a little lychee. And only one coffee option for you caffeine addicts. Nope, the emphasis is on high quality green, oolong, and earl grey teas, with toppings/mix-ins that don’t cover up the original flavor.

That being said, you can still tailor your drink’s sugar levels, as well as amount of ice. Maybe they’ll be accommodating enough to let a customer request 200% sugar?

Since their house specialty is green tea with milk foam, I give it a try. The tea is refreshing, not too bitter, but I’m no connoisseur, much less royalty. The milk foam topping seems to be a cross between cappuccino froth and whipped cream. Mostly, it just confuses me, so I stir it all in to make milk tea. Other additions are standard for Asian milk tea cafes except for…basil seeds?! Okay, that one’s not usually on the menu. The cashier informs me they’re like chia seeds. Not a fan, so I pass, but if high protein health food is your kinda thing, go for it.

Packaging shouldn’t matter much, but they have those fun hermetically sealed cups! I get some sort of pleasure from puncturing the plastic film with the straw. Maybe it takes me back to my juice box school days. Not sure why I ended up with a regular plastic lid…But more so, with the sealed lids, you can bring a bunch of drinks back to your office without worrying about spills, maybe even buy a favor off of a grateful coworker, not that I condone that sort of thing at ALL from my coworkers. Starting at $3.50 for their smaller house specialty, Gong Cha’s not exactly cheap, so reserve this for tea aficionados.

Gong Cha, 75 W. 38th St. (btw. 5+6th)


  • Just might replace Sweetgreens as least redeeming business to be featured on ML

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    gong cha is a good option for milk tea tea on the west side. decent quality milk tea — flavors aren’t as rich as coco’s or comebuy’s, but better than vivi’s. pretty good pricing — as cheap as coco and vivi, cheaper than comebuy. as for toppings — gong cha and comebuy have the more interesting options, i believe, while coco and vivi are more standard. i hate bobas/bubbles/tapioca/balls and generally avoid them, so can’t speak to their quality. i’ve been to juicy cube once and it was unremarkable.

    imho, coco is the superior milk option in midtown for its rich tea flavor and relative affordability.


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