Bubbles burst: Lower Westchester’s bubble tea shops reviewed

Fabers number one pick, Gong Cha Hartsdale, is reliable, convenient and delicious. Lychee Oolong Tea with boba and peach jelly is pictured left, and Black Milk Tea with boba is pictured right.
Faber’s number one pick, Gong Cha Hartsdale, is reliable, convenient and delicious. Lychee Oolong Tea with boba and peach jelly is pictured left, and Black Milk Tea with boba is pictured right.
Allie Faber

The brainchild of Taiwanese tea shops in the 1980s, bubble tea – the sweet, creamy drink grounded with chewy, namesake “bubbles” of tapioca – has grown exponentially in popularity in the United States. National chains, mom and pops and even Starbucks have adopted their own take on the incomparable beverage. 

I have sampled countless, outrageous variants of the drink. From cheese foam to popping bubbles that explode in your mouth, bubble tea in all its forms is my obsession.  

Thus, I give you three boba shops in lower Westchester – reviewed.



Whether you huffed down the hill illicitly during a free period for some educational reprieve, or sampled their refreshing frozen yogurt for an end-of-the-season treat with your coaches (deploying your student ID for a discount, obviously), GoGreenly is the quintessential destination for the average Masters student. 

Where GoGreenly diverges from tradition, however, is in the bubble tea section of their menu’s offerings. The GoGreenly Dobbs Ferry website’s slogan reads, “Not Just Yogurt” – but maybe it should be? 

I will be the first to admit my snobbery as a pseudo-Pete Wells. Regardless, their classic Black Milk Tea with boba as a topping fell quite short. The powdery aftertaste I was left with following that first gulp – and first impressions are everything – left, well, a dry taste in my mouth. I enjoyed their boba, however, which was cooked to a suitable chewy-ness and dispersed a sufficient amount of brown-sugar-tapioca flavor. 

Where the Black Milk Tea disappointed, the Passion Fruit Green Tea rewarded. This second indulgence effortlessly avoided the sickeningly syrupy taste common to fruit-tea beverages, and the boba again did not disappoint. Overall, GoGreenly is great in a pinch, especially for a post-class snack, but steer far clear from their classics. B+. 


When I first stepped foot into Pokemoto Tarrytown’s turquoise blue and nearly empty interior just a train ride away from Dobbs Ferry, I was skeptical. The flavor board listed some bold picks, all of which were a fruity derivative, and none of which were a traditional tea. This, in tandem with the lack of option to adjust sweetness, suffocated my expectations. Unsure, I opted for my default pick: lychee fruit tea with boba. 

Immediately after being handed my treat, I was uneasy. Where Pokemoto fumbled was not with the tea, but with the boba – or lack thereof. A good cup of bubble tea has the trademark, thick foundation of closely-assembled tapioca balls. However, much to my dismay, Pokemoto supplied me with a thin, single-layer coating of boba that left me sipping on the liquid portion of my Lychee Fruit Tea far after the boba ran out. It was a terrible case of an off-kilter ratio. 

Thankfully, the tea had a bold lychee flavor that was balanced and sweet, boasting a traditional, floral taste. While Pokemoto has the makings for a stellar shop, their product requires tweaking. Unfortunate B-. 

Pokemoto was Faber’s least favorite shop. It lacked sufficient boba, literally leaving more to be desired. (Chana Kim)

Gong Cha

Last, but certainly not least, Gong Cha Hartsdale. I cannot tell you how many times I have schlepped from my post in Dobbs Ferry to enjoy a beverage from Gong Cha. My orders are consistent and delicately curated to optimize flavor and refreshment. Gong Cha exceeds with their Lychee Oolong and Passionfruit Green Tea, so it comes as no surprise that their Pearl Milk Tea (they call their boba “pearls,” which I personally do not understand) also lives up to the hype. 

While some batches have occasionally left me with the ever-ominous powdery texture, nine times out of 10, I was in safe hands. Gong Cha receives a special shoutout for their constant rotation of seasonal specials – spiced boba in a gingerbread man bottle, juicy mango and a Hershey chocolate series, just to name a few – option to adjust both ice and sugar levels and vast choices for toppings. Safe to say, I’m a fan. Solid A.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Comments on stories are posted at the editorial discretion of the Tower staff.
All Tower Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *