As you can see, bubble tea (or boba tea) – whatever you want to call them – has become one of the most popular go-to drinks in Toronto and for good reasons.
With an irresistible and authentic tea flavour blended with the taste of your favorite fruit, like mango or peach, and with a hint of sugar and sometimes milk, you have a heavenly drink to enjoy with a meal or as a dessert.
Bubble tea comes in an array of many flavours that range from simple classics like milk tea or peach green tea to more interesting combinations like Oreo mixed with Oolong.
Due to Gong Cha’s popularity in Asia, and now Canada, especially in Toronto, we always enjoy stopping by this joint for their high quality and popular drinks.
After many visits to Gong Cha as a group, we decided to write a review about this bubble tea place. You can find out whether this boba chain makes it to our list of the best bubble tea drinks in Toronto.
But before we go into our in-depth review on Gong Cha, we’re going to answer the most commonly asked questions you have about them.
What is Gong Cha known for?
The Chinese term, “Gong Cha,” directly translate to “tribute (or contribution) tea for the emperor.” And of course, the emperor only gets served the finest and highest quality tea!
With over 1,300 stores in 20 different countries, including Canada, Gong Cha is a popular bubble tea shop that is known for its delicious drinks including tea, coffee, and juice. They pride themselves for serving natural, healthy, freshly brewed tea and beverages that are tailored to your liking.
Whether you love or hate sugar, prefer your drink to have less or more ice, Gong Cha will adjust each drink to match your taste buds.
Aside from their freshly brewed tea and other beverages, Gong Cha also serves some mouthwatering “bubble” waffles and ice cream. This dessert – whether you decide to order the waffles alone or with the ice cream – will pair nicely with your drink.
What is the best drink at Gong Cha?
From the best classics like Royal Milk Tea with Pearls and Milk Tea with Grass Jelly to modern trendy hits like the Brown Sugar Pearl Oreo Milk Foam Oolong Milk Tea or Oreo Milk Foam Black Forest, Gong Cha offers a long list of drinks that will probably leave your head spinning.
Yeah, don’t be surprised if you end up with decision paralysis at the counter.
But luckily, they narrowed down their list to Gong Cha’s top 10 sellers in Toronto to help you make a good decision that you won’t regret.
Gong Cha’s best drinks include:
- Brown Sugar Pearl Oreo Milk Foam Oolong Milk Tea
- Brown Sugar Coffee Jelly Oolong Milk Tea
- Earl Grey Milk Tea with J
- Taro Milk Foam Smoothies
- Oreo Milk Foam Black Forest
- Matcha Milk Foam Smoothie
- Passionfruit Green Tea with QQ
- Royal Milk Tea with Pearl
- Milk Foam Green Tea
- Milk Tea with Grass Jelly
Gong Cha Menu
Many of you ask what’s on the menu, so we decided to include this to give you an idea of what this bubble tea chain serves. In case you want to know what other delicious drinks they offer in addition to their top 10 picks.
Gong Cha’s menu breaks down their drinks into different series that will help you choose a drink that will satisfy your personal style and taste buds.
No matter what, there will always be a drink on the menu that will be tailored to what you like, satisfying even the pickiest person.
Brew Tea Series
- Winter Melon Drink
- Watermelon Oolong Tea
- Earl Grey Tea
- Oolong Tea
- Jasmine Green Tea
- Black Tea
- Oreo Coffee Milk Tea
- Milk Foam Tea
- House Special Milk Tea
- Coffee Milk Tea
- Caramel Coffee
Creative Mix Series
- QQ Peach Green Tea
- QQ Passionfruit Green Tea
- Mango Green Tea
- Lychee Oolong Tea
- Honey Green Tea
- Strawberry Green Tea with Kanten Jelly
Milk Foam Series
- Oreo Milk Foam Early Grey Tea
- Milk Foam with Winter Melon Drink
- Milk Foam Oolong Tea
- Milk Foam Green Tea
- Milk Foam Early Grey Green Tea
- Milk Foam Black Tea
- Brown Sugar Milk Foam Oolong Tea
Milk Tea Series
- Ruby Milk T with Pearls
- Winter Melon Milk Tea with Grass Jelly
- Taro Red Bean Milk Tea
- Strawberry Milk Tea
- Pearl Milk Tea
- Milk Tea
- Honeydew Milk Tea
- Matcha Milk Tea with Red Bean
- Honey Milk Tea
- Coconut Taro Milk Tea
- Chocolate Milk Tea
- Caramel Milk Tea
- Brown Sugar Oolong Milk Tea
- Brown Sugar Coconut Milk Tea
- Tropical Fruit Party Coconut Jelly
- Strawberry Chocolate Drink
- Ruby Milk T with Pearls
- Rose Tie Guan Yin with Lychee Pearl
- Roasted Coconut Coffee Smoothie
- Milk Foam Peach Green Tea Crush Coconut Jelly
- Mango Milk Foam Smoothie
- Honey Rose Tie Guan Yin Tea Latte
- Crème Brulee Strawberry Latte
- Crème Brulee Brown Sugar Smoothie
- Matcha Mango Kenten Jelly
- Mango Kenten Jelly Latte
- Green Tea Mango Kenten Jelly
- Peach Teaffogato
- Matcha Teaffogato
- Mango Teaffogato
Gong Cha Drink Toppings
You can also choose to add any of the additional toppings to take your drink to the next level and make it more enjoyable:
- Red Bean
- Lychee Pearls
- Kanten Jelly
- House Foam
- Grass Jelly
- Coffee Jelly
- Coconut Jelly
- Basil Seeds
- 3JS: Mix of Pudding, Grass Jelly, and Tapioca
What are Gong Cha pearls made of?
According to Gong Cha, their marble-sized tapioca pearls, also known as “bubbles” or “boba,” contains a natural flavor, which is typically described by many as chewy like a gummy bear. Gong Cha says their pearls are made from tapioca starch that comes from Cassava Root. The appearance of their tapioca pearls is either white or transparent. It could also appear black, but they say it depends on what ingredients are used.
The white tapioca pearls are made from either starch, caramel or chamomile extract. However, the more popular black tapioca pearls are made from starch, sweet potato and/or brown sugar. They say you can basically make Tapioca pearls in any color by soaking the white tapioca pearls in colored syrups.
You can also read more about our honest thoughts about Gong Cha’s black tapioca pearls in our review below.
Gong Cha Ice Cream
As we mentioned earlier, not only does this bubble tea joint offer tea and beverages, but they also offer their famous bubble waffle and ice cream dessert!
They call it bubble tea soft-served ice cream!
This is the perfect time to try one of Toronto’s best desserts in town!
We didn’t try this yet but based on the pictures we saw at their shop, it looks really mouthwatering delicious – who can say no to ice cream?
If you’re a big ice cream fan – whether it’s delicious American soft served or creamy Italian gelato – you can’t go wrong with Asian flavoured soft served boba ice cream at Gong Cha. Imagine how it would taste when it’s paired with their egg waffle (comes in original, chocolate, or matcha) – you’ll probably be craving for seconds!
A really good one from their menu is the milk foam-matcha twist soft serve. These two flavours combined will not disappoint you especially when you pair it with a cone or bubble waffle, and your topping of choice!
Gong Cha Review
Now that we’ve answered your commonly asked questions about Gong Cha, we’re going to dive into our review and give you our honest thoughts about their bubble tea drinks and beverages.
Food & Drinks: 3.8/5
Today, we decided to hit up Gong Cha at Midland and Finch since we were around the area for dinner.
Because it’s a Tuesday, Henry and Andy ordered the QQ Peach Green Tea since it’s their special today for only $3.80 for a medium size. After tax is $4.30.
On top of that, Rui ordered the Pearl Milk Tea with Grass Jelly because he likes sticking to the sweet and simple classics. This drink wasn’t on special, so we paid $6.00 after tax for a large. ?
I didn’t order any drink today because I’ve been reducing my intake of sugar for health and diet reasons, so I just asked for a hot water to enjoy with my non-salted walnuts. And nope, I didn’t order plain coffee or green tea because I’m sensitive to caffeine and unfortunately, I’m told to cut back on all my tea too. I know it’s complicated, but anyways…
The hot water was free, and surprisingly, the server was really nice to give me hot water mixed with a very slight hint of jasmine tea flavour inside, which was unexpected. I preferred plain hot water, but they were just going above and beyond, so we’re going to give their service some extra points for doing that!
By the way, in case you are wondering about Gong Cha’s Daily Specials, here is the list:
- Monday – Oreo Coffee Milk Tea
- Tuesday – QQ Peach Green Tea
- Wednesday – Strawberry Green Tea with Strawberry Kanten
- Thursday – Honeydew Milk Tea
- Friday – Milk Foam Winter Melon Drink
- Saturday – Winter Melon Milk Tea with Grass Jelly
- Sunday – Brown Sugar Oolong Milk Tea with 2 Jellies
Here’s our review of each drink.
Gong Cha QQ Peach Green Tea
Both Henry and Andy ordered the exact same drink with less ice and at 70% sugar level. That means 30% less sugar than the regular drink.
The toppings in this refreshing QQ Peach Green Tea drink included tapioca pearls and lychee jellies. It also had crushed peach pieces inside that made the drink and jellies more enjoyable.
Andy thought there was a plentiful amount of sweetness in the drink due to the added jellies, so he felt that he could have knocked down the sugar level to 50%. He’s a fan of sweet drinks and desserts, so in his opinion, 50% is still a good amount; not that 70% was bad or anything like that.
Herny is a guy who usually overloads his coffees and any beverages with sugar, so he asked for regular sugar at 100%. He would even ask for 120% at times. Man, this guy loves his sugar!
To his disappointment, the server gave him 70% by accident because she thought he wanted the exact same drink as Andy, and he was no happy camper.
However, surprisingly, with his first sip, Henry didn’t really notice much of a difference between 70% and his regular consumption of 100%. And we’re talking about a guy who goes all out on the sugar!
Having that said, if you’re a person who loves sweet drinks but don’t want to intake too much sugar, you can consider asking for 70%. In Henry’s opinion, it doesn’t really make much of a difference in taste so you may as well knock down the unnecessary intake of sugar and calories.
Now, if it was Rui, who prefers less sweet, he would have gone for 20% to 30%. That means reducing the sugar by 70% to 80% of the regular sweetness. This is perfect for those of you who don’t want your drinks to be overly sweet.
I, on the other hand, would’ve probably asked for no sugar. I’m sure the peach tea taste would have been enough for someone like me who prefers minimal sugar. This option is perfect for people who don’t like sweets or prefer to cut back on sugar.
Henry and Andy both thought the tapioca, lychee jelly, and tiny peach pulp were tasty! In particular, they emphasized how Gong Cha’s black pearls were just as fresh, soft and chewy as Kung Fu Tea’s tapioca pearls at the Markham location. Henry mentioned that the only difference is Kung Fu Tea had bigger pearls.
Although the drink is called QQ Peach Green Tea, both of them didn’t taste any green tea. They said it tasted more like peach and lychee. The peach flavoured tea overpowered the green tea but not in a bad way. They agreed that this fruity drink was delicious and it’s something you can enjoy during the summertime. In fact, they had this drink in mid-November, so you can enjoy it anytime! ?
Gong Cha Pearl Milk Tea
Rui ordered the Pearl Milk Tea with Grass Jelly. He asked for less ice with no sugar. He did the same thing with The Alley’s Royal No. 9 Milk Tea Drink last time. The first time was a bold move because he didn’t know what to expect. But to his surprise, he thought the Royal No. 9 Milk Tea with no sugar at The Alley was really fresh and good!
Due to that experience, he wanted to try Gong Cha’s Pearl Milk Tea with no sugar to see how it compares to The Alley bubble tea shop.
He thought Gong Cha’s Pearl Milk Tea with Grass Jelly is really good, but he prefers The Alley’s version because it had a stronger tea taste which brought out its natural flavour.
Being the curious George that I usually am, I couldn’t resist, so I stole a few sips from him – haha!
My thoughts were similar to Rui’s – The Alley’s Royal No. 9 Milk Tea with no sugar had a more intense natural tea flavour compared to Gong Cha’s Pearl Milk Tea with no sugar. It was still good, but I fell in love with The Alley’s milk tea drink with no sugar!
For those of you who prefer this classic boba drink that isn’t overly sweet, then I recommend going for either 50% or 70% in sweetness. For some sweetness, but not too intense, go for 30%. If it’s your first time and you’re unsure, you’re always safe with choosing 50% and adjusting it accordingly in the future.
As for the grass jelly, Rui prefers Gong Cha over The Alley because Gong Cha gives you more grass jelly! He said the texture was very soft and chewy, which he thought was an enjoyable snack to munch on with the cold beverage.
Oreo Coffee Milk Tea
Rui and I decided to drop by Gong Cha at Warden and Eglinton. We ordered a large Oreo coffee milk tea because the name sounds appealing with a Westernized twist to it.
To our surprise, the drink was pretty darn good. It actually had more coffee flavour than milk tea. Just imagine a delicious ice cap with Oreo crumble bits inside!
Indeed, it was delightful and refreshing for the summertime. I honestly only wanted one to two sips because I’m not much of a coffee drinker and I know these drinks tend contain a lot of sugar. I try very hard to cut back on sugary drinks, which is why we asked for 30% sugar (their lowest level). But given how good and addicting it was, I ended up finishing half without even realizing it. I feel pretty guilty now… lol.
Rui liked it a lot and says he would definitely order the Oreo Coffee Milk Tea again next time!
Gong Cha Mango Slush
We’re going to update this review the next time we try their popular Mango slush that everyone’s raving about!
Gong Cha Brown Sugar Milk Tea
Same goes with their Brown Sugar Milk Tea.
We’re going to check back with this bubble tea shop and order this next time. We did try Kung Fu Tea’s Brown Sugar Milk Tea in the Soy version, and it was pretty good. Now, it’s time to try Gong Cha’s version and see how it compares to Kung Fu Tea.
The service at Gong Cha (in Midland and Finch) is really good.
We’ve been here many times and they were never rude to us.
This time, we noticed the music was off and it was pretty awkward because the place was in complete dead silence.
The server said she was able to turn on the music for us and she did, so we were happy about that. Every time we’re at this location, the service is always fast. We wait about 10 minutes for 3 to 4 drinks to be ready.
Again, we were surprised that the server went above and beyond and gave us a cup of hot water blended with a slight hint of jasmine tea in their “Gong Cha” coffee/tea cup as you can see in our picture above. Considering water is free, this was good!
Other places will literally just give you hot water in a plain cup. Some may not even give you any hot water!
We admit the ambiance at other bubble tea shops like The Alley is one of the best – and it’s our favourite too! We love their industrial and cabin-like décor because it gives us a cozy and relaxing feeling in a nicely dimmed area.
Gong Cha, on the other hand, is modern and nicely renovated – similar to Kung Fu Tea. They have one big table where we can seat 5 to 6 people and we love how spacious it is!
Like Kung Fu Tea, Gong Cha has a nicely displayed wall with lucky cats and their tea mugs on the shelf for decoration purposes.
Overall, the ambiance at Gong Cha is clean, modern and comfortable. You can always count on enjoying a nice cup of coffee or bubble tea with a friend or group of people here!
Prices are pretty much standard here. It’s comparable to other similar bubble tea joints like Cha Time, Kung Fu Tea, or CoCo.
We enjoy Gong Cha’s daily specials where you can get a discount on their best-selling drinks depending on the day, so you can save some money there if you’re not picky about which beverage to consume.
Gong Cha Rating
Overall, we rate Gong Cha bubble tea shop a 4 out of 5 stars.
They always have freshly served bubble tea and beverages available in a lot of variety. Whether you’re feeling for a fruity drink, a typical classic milk tea, or a hot coffee beverage, they’ve got a ton of different and wild customizations for you to choose from. We just love how they have a pretty big menu!
Gong Cha’s tea shops are always clean, modern and comfortable to sit in.
They also have friendly staff with speedy service, especially at the Midland and Finch location!
If you’re looking to try a different boba shop, then we highly recommend dropping by Gong Cha to order your next beverage!