A Visit to Vivi Bubble Tea in Philadelphia
Bitsy Boba recently decided to try out three interesting flavors of bubble tea at…*drum roll*…Vivi Bubble Tea in Chinatown, Philadelphia! This Taiwanese style bubble tea shop certainly has some unique flavors to offer such as Blue Galaxy, Oreo Crème Brûlée and Oolong Float that we couldn’t wait to try.
About Vivi Bubble Tea
Beginning their journey back in 2007, Vivi Bubble Tea first opened in New York City but has since expanded into 70 locations across the United States. They pride themselves in buying only ingredients shipped directly from Taiwan in order to create the most authentic bubble tea flavors. Their mission is to bring new and seasonal boba tea flavors for all palette types and to be innovative, which looking at their menu, we can see Vivi Bubble Tea’s effort to deliver delicious but interesting bubble teas that might not be found elsewhere. They also offer dairy alternatives and gluten-free options. Plus bubble tea isn’t all that they sell—if you want some food as well, they got that too!
If you’re local to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, like us, you might have already noticed Vivi Bubble Tea before with their storefront’s signature pink detailing and cutesy skulls. Found in Chinatown near the Convention Center and tons of bustling restaurants, it’s an easy location to reach in the heart of Philly—simply get off at the Race-Vine train station or by bus. You can also drive in, although you might have to pray (and pay) for parking.
To accommodate the current situation with COVID19, and to protect their employees, you’ll find that Vivi Bubble Tea has the seating cut off with a plastic sheet from the bar area to the adjacent wall. So, unfortunately you can’t dine in—but they still have their wall art full of their signature skull designs right as you walk in to keep it vibrant—and it will still make a great background for your Instagram photos or reels!
So what did we sample, and what did we think of the three drinks we tried at Vivi Bubble Tea? Read on to find out!
Vivi Bubble Tea Blue Galaxy Drink
Interestingly enough, the Blue Galaxy (pictured here) is actually a caffeine free, herbal tea made from the Clitoria ternatea plant. Contrary to the contrasting, powerful look of the Blue Galaxy, the taste was fairly mild. It tasted like juice, sweet but not overly sweet. Vivi and Vivi Bubble Tea customers have described the taste as a lychee lemonade, which explains its light-natured flavor. Now we totally see the appeal in the Blue Galaxy as well, so if a light and refreshing flavor sounds like your cup of tea—this boba tea should be perfect for you! But, in our opinion, the Blue Galaxy could’ve had just a tiny bit stronger initial taste as it almost seemed a little watery. This could’ve, of course, been caused by the ice melting so if you’d like to avoid this maybe order it with no ice or less ice.The first of our samples from Vivi Bubble Tea was the Blue Galaxy drink, which didn’t contain any tapioca pearls. Now this was such a stunning and aesthetically pleasing drink. We highly suggest the Blue Galaxy if you’re searching for an Instagram-worthy treat. And to make it even better, this beautiful ombre tea was ultra-refreshing on such a hot day!
What makes this drink special and much more enjoyable, though, was when Bitsy Boba found a nice surprise of jelly at the bottom! The citrusy jelly gave this bubble tea an extra kick that we thoroughly enjoyed. It really gave the Blue Galaxy the flavor we were looking for in such a beautiful tea and we found ourselves wishing there were more jelly! Overall, we found the Blue Galaxy to be a delicious boba tea.
Oolong Float Boba Tea
As for the second tea that Bitsy Boba tried at Vivi Bubble Tea, we had the Oolong Float boba tea from the Cream Float Series (pictured on the right, first bubble tea)! The Cream Float Series includes the Oolong, Early Grey and Jasmine Floats. Each has a layer of cream (milk foam) on top.
Unfortunately, the Oolong Float bubble tea was our least favorite boba tea flavor that we tried at Vivi Bubble Tea. We found the taste to be fairly bitter and overpoweringly strong, which took away from the drink as a whole. Perhaps the tea was steeped too long or that is simply its true flavor (though we’ve had other oolong bubble teas that we enjoyed). Regardless of the reason, it wasn’t the most pleasant to drink and Bitsy Boba was left feeling a little disappointed. Plus the addition of the cream float—milk foam—didn’t add much to this particular drink.
While the bubbles were the Oolong Float boba tea’s saving grace, as they were the nice, chewy texture all boba lovers expect and search for, the boba pearls weren't enough to save the Oolong Float as a whole. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t recommend this flavor of bubble tea at Vivi. But, don’t worry, the next flavor of bubble tea we tried gets rave reviews.
Vivi's Oreo Crème Brûlée Bubble Tea
Last but not least, Bitsy Boba sampled the Oreo Crème Brûlée bubble tea! This bubble tea is made with black milk tea with Oreo cookies and milk foam on top. Despite being unsure of how well the turnout was going to be, this was hands down the best flavor out of the flavors Bitsy Boba tried at Vivi Bubble Tea. At first sip, we fell in love. (Maybe we should’ve been able to guess because this, because this bubble tea looked so delicious!)
While Bitsy Boba was a little concerned about this boba tea being too sweet, our worries were quickly swept away. Vivi Bubble Tea’s Oreo Crème Brûlée tea maintained a lovely balance, so it had the sweet factor but was not incredibly overpowering. There was a pleasant surprise of Oreo chunks inside, which of course we loved—because come on, who doesn’t LOVE Oreo chunks? And it blended so well with the tapioca pearls, which we weren’t expecting. It added a nice texture of something hard and almost a little crunchy to go along with the soft, chewiness of the tapioca pearls.
This bubble tea was creamy in its taste and texture, and even surprised us with a little of the burnt flavor of crème brûlée—and we mean burnt in the best way possible. It gave another dimension to the boba tea that we didn’t know we even needed but absolutely LOVED!
We would highly suggest this bubble tea, altogether. But if you’re craving something sweet and don’t want to choose between a dessert or bubble tea…well, this is absolutely the boba tea to get. There is absolutely no need to compromise here! You’re getting the best of both worlds. You can still get your boba tea with tapioca pearls while also getting something with some cookies inside.
Though not so much the traditional bubble tea, the Oreo Crème Brûlée boba tea was the perfect tea to end our sampling at Vivi Bubble Tea.
Plan Your Visit to Vivi Bubble Tea in Philadelphia
Location: 145 N 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Hours: Open 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day (at time of posting)
To learn more about Vivi Bubble Tea, or to see if they have a location near you, visit: https://vivibubbletea.com
Vivi Bubble Tea in Philadelphia (Yelp)
Overall Ratings for Vivi Bubble Tea
Blue Galaxy: 4/5
Oolong Float: 2/5
Oreo Crème Brûlée: 5/5