bubble tea

Welcome to The Messy Life. Let's take a bubble tea trip.

Two weeks ago, I went to my friend's place for the weekend. Now, I love bubble tea, and a few friends told us about this shop near her apartment that was supposed to great. Not only was it nearby, but also everyone and I mean EVERYONE, had good things to say about it. So of course we decided we had to try it.

The name alone was enough to grab my attention: Novel Tea? It's the perfect play on words.

Let me guide you through the experience:

First, I arrived at hers, fully hyped and ready for the best tea I've ever had.


Me walking to her apartment, knowing I'm about to get bubble tea.

We ended up lounging for a while, until the cravings for bubble tea exceeded our desire to avoid the cold.

Entering the store, the first thing I notice is a grass wall with the cleanest typography in what appears to be Bebas Neue. And I'm like, okay this place has good aesthetic value. That's a start.

The vibe was beautiful all in all. From the stools, to the wooden countertops, to the floor-to-ceiling windows it was a sight to behold.

novel tea grass wall

novel tea window walls

There was no line, so we walked up to the counter and ordered our drinks. They have limited options, but they do have Taro which is my go-to choice for milk tea, so no complaints there. I will say, it is pretty expensive relative to other places I've been. A large costs about $5, and they charge extra for tapioca.

novel tea bubble tea menu
Shot by the One and Only Klaudia J.

plant shadow box with wooden frame

The ambience makes up for the price. I mean look at this place.

They have a succulent-filled shadow box! Consider me shaken and stirred.

Also, ordering was painless and there was actually a promotion going on, so we got BOGO 50% off.

There is a bit of a wait for your order, but that gave me time to obnoxiously photograph the store, so I didn't mind too much. "Do it for the blog," I thought. I don't think I received too much judgement.

 Alright, it's time for the big reveal.

Q: How was the tea? Drumroll please.


Here's the tea: It fell flatter than my hair after a hat day.

To be honest, everything was on point: the straw selection, the branded stickers on the cups, the color of tea, the amount of bubbles. I sound ridiculous, but to the last detail, I was prepared for greatness.

Then, I took a sip. I was floored. To this day, I don't know exactly what made it so awful.

Part of me wants to blame the milk. I don't know if the milk was bad, but it might have been because it made the tea taste like baby formula Needless to say, I regret ordering a large. Now, I don't hate Novel Tea because I am determined not to let one bad experience ruin my perception. I probably ended up being more disappointed, because their tea is so highly reviewed.

Someday, I'll go back to try one of their juice teas, because their bubbles were really good, but never again will I order their milk tea. Even so, don't let me deter you, because I know plenty of other people who love them. I just can't recommend. My restaurant buddy feels the same.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Novel tea taro bubble tea drinks with sunset | The Messy Life

Update: In hindsight, for reasons I won't divulge in detail, I think the milk was bad. Considering this, I just might try their milk tea again. What can I say? I love good boba.

Update 4/22/18:

I tried their tea again and I just don't like it. This time around, I didn't get sick! Still, that shouldn't be a concern in the first place. Since visiting, they have raised their prices and considering this, there are at least 3 other restaurants in the area that I recommend, which sell higher quality bubble tea.

Marketing Student - Comfort-obsessed, plant-loving mess. Always trying. Continually coming to be.


  1. Kimberly
    March 4, 2018

    Aww man! I hoped that the tea would live up to the ambiance and title of the shop. But it sounds like it was a fun experience all the same. Where is the Novel Tea shop located? If it’s near me, I’d love to give it a try.

    1. Ashleigh
      March 5, 2018

      It’s in upstate New York! I don’t know if you’ve heard of Binghamton? I’m thinking I’l give it another try and do an updated post in the future.


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