Boba and brown sugar

Illustration by Mark Stivers

Sadly, Sacramento's boba tea selection (a.k.a. bubble tea or pearl milk tea—whatever you want to call it) isn't what it could be. After living for five years in Orange County, I found myself spoiled by incredible bubble-tea shops, such as Cha For Tea; 85C Bakery Cafe and Class 302 Cafe. After returning to Sacramento in 2008 and sampling the few boba franchises that the city does have—Quickly, Lollicup and Tapioca Express—made for a sort of five-year-long tapioca-tea letdown. Fortunately, a pretty good boba place popped up a few months ago inside the 99 Ranch Market called Brown Sugar Bubble Milk, and it stacks up against some of the best pearl milk tea drinks in Southern California. It uses brown sugar, cooks its boba to a nice, soft consistency, and offers toppings such as grass jelly, chia seeds and green beans. It's located at 4220 Florin Road, Suite 106. Find out more at