10 of Toronto's most popular (and prolific) bubble tea chains

Jul 17 2017, 7:34 pm

Bubble tea in Toronto is so popular, you’ll find international chains and local faves expanding to all corners of the city at a ferocious pace.

If you love teas and fresh juices swimming with squishy tapioca and fruity jellies then these spots are sure to satisfy.

The Alley

The Alley has two locations that are both in Markham: Commerce Gate and Unionville Main Street. The gold standard for bubble tea, Alley handcrafts their tapioca, makes their own sugar cane syrup, and steep whole tea leaves. Their stores have a vintage atmosphere, consisting of brick walls and rustic knick-knacks.

Address: 505 Highway 7 East,Unit 16, Thornhill
Phone: 289-597-8855

Address: 142 Main Street, Unionville
Phone: 905-604-8862

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Chatime has 20 locations in Ontario—spanning from Ottawa to London—and has over 800 locations worldwide. The chain started its first Ontario store on Yonge and Dundas in 2011 and has flourished since. Their roasted milk tea is a hit or miss with customers (but mostly a hit).

Address: 10+ locations in the GTA

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CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice

CoCo is the largest bubble tea chain in the world, with over 2000 stores worldwide—10 being in Ontario. The chain is great for creamy original milk teas and taro sago, and their weekly special makes CoCo a great value.

Address: 10+ locations in the GTA

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Green Grotto

Sit-down bubble tea shops grow more uncommon with the rise of grab-and-go, such as Chatime and CoCo. Green Grotto, however, has found a lot of success serving their drinks in ceramic/glass cups with waiters and waitresses taking orders. The chain has expanded aggressively over the past few years and has nine stores in the GTA.

Address: 8 locations in the GTA

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Sharetea started in 1992 and now has 450 stores in 18 countries; there are currently seven stores in Ontario and two more in British Columbia. Sharetea is one of the few bubble teashops with a wide selection of non-milk fruit teas, and drinks like their strawberry black tea are a gem.

Address: 10 + locations in the GTA

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Real Fruit Bubble Tea

Real Fruit Bubble Tea covered every level of Pacific Mall before many of the global Taiwanese brands came to Canada. The chain has a large emphasis on real fruit, as opposed to powders and syrups. Their stores always display arrays of mangos, strawberries and other fresh fruit to reinforce a message of “freshness” to customers. With over 30 Locations between Oakville and Ottawa, Real Fruit Bubble tea is hard to miss.

Address: 10+ locations in the GTA

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Happy Lemon

Founded in 2006 in Shanghai, China, Happy Lemon landed in Toronto around a year ago. Their first and only location at Pacific mall provides patrons with an unusual cheese bubble tea—yes you heard it, CHEESE bubble tea. If having cheddar flavoured green tea sounds too adventurous, Happy Lemon also has delicious milk and fruit teas.

Address:  Pacific Mall, 4300 Steeles Avenue East, Unit B25, Markham
Phone: 416-855-0768

Address: 5425 Yonge Street, North York
Phone: 647-827-0153

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Gong Cha Tea

Gong Cha has built over 1100 stores in over 20 countries since its 2006 founding in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Its Canadian stores include Downtown Toronto, North York, Markham, and an upcoming Scarborough branch. Gong Cha layers a milk foam on top of their bubble tea to create a unique experience that is exclusive to this chain.

Address: 575 Yonge Street, Toronto
Phone: 647-347-6688

Address: 5449 Yonge Street, North York
Phone: 647-346-2600

Address: 3636 Steeles Avenue East, Markham
Phone: 905-604-9323

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TenRen’s Tea

TenRen is a publically traded tea empire. More than just bubble tea, its tea and ginseng products are found globally in both its stores and in other food and health retailers. Their Canadian outlets are in most Ontario Cadillac Fairview malls, and a total of 11 TenRens live in the GTA.

Address: 10+ locations in the GTA

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Preso Tea

Presotea is the largest bubble tea chain, in terms of Ontario stores, with 33 shops. Unlike typical bubble stores, Preso brews all its tea by order with an espresso-machine-like device, as opposed to making large containers of tea all at once. The panda milk tea is their signature drink, and it’s delicious!

Address: Stores across the GTA

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See also

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