By Cindy Goldstein -
The stream of customers coming in to Dragon Tea on Mamaroneck Avenue was impressive – especially since they had only been open 6 days. Online reviews have been terrific, and people are excited for this happy and - depending on what you choose to add to your tea –healthy product.
What is Bubble Tea?
Also known as boba milk tea, bubble tea is a cold, frothy drink made with a tea base shaken with flavors, sweeteners and/or milk. Tapioca pearls nestle at the bottom of the drink, so a “fat” straw is required in order to enjoy some of the slightly chewy pearls with each sip of tea. Choose your level of sweetness, ice and add-ons such as taro balls, milk foam, mango star jelly and whipped cream (to name a few). The options for customizing your drink are virtually limitless including fruit flavors, chocolate and choices of milk including almond milk or non-dairy creamers.
Dragon tea uses loose leaf teas from the farmlands of central Taiwan and owner Sean Christie sources organic products whenever possible. Because the base of each drink is tea the customer gets the traditional health benefits of whichever tea is used: green tea, black tea or oolong tea.
Where did Bubble Tea Come From?
It was first created in the 1980s in Taiwan when tapioca pearls were added to frothy tea drinks. The concept was a hit in Asia and is growing in popularity worldwide. Some restaurants offer it, but Dragon Tea is the first shop in the area to focus exclusively on bubble tea.
What are Pearls Made Of?
The tapioca pearls are made from cassava root and taro balls are from taro root. Each provides a satisfying chewiness which is welcome when drinking tea.
Why Mamaroneck Village?
Owner Sean Christie’s enthusiasm for his concept and product is obvious. Previously, he worked in the music industry with rappers Busta Rhymes and Jim Jones but realized life in the studio, although fun, was tough. He then moved into real estate sales and in 2020 eventually ended up opening bubble tea shops. In an effort to expand Sean looked around Westchester County and fell in love with the vibrancy of Mamaroneck Avenue.
Dragon Tea is committed to keeping each tea drink natural and authentic as well as producing a superior product overall. No artificial flavors or chemical ingredients are used. This commitment to quality is obvious when watching Sean train his staff (patiently and decisively) to prepare each drink to his high standards. The staff is 80% local residents, which helps get the local buzz going and accounts for the shop’s constant foot traffic.
Dragon Tea also has shops in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx with plans to expand further in Westchester County and Long Island.
We ordered two drinks – a traditional Bubble Milk Tea 50% sweet and 30% ice (why load a drink up with ice when I had the option to have more product and less ice?). The tea was just sweet enough to not feel guilty and the chewy tapioca balls were a great contrast to the liquid. My daughter was impressed with the Lychee Jasmine Green Tea, 50% sugar and no ice with brown sugar boba and taro balls. Both drinks were fresh and delicious, and Sean and his staff were friendly and efficient with each drink cup having its own label with the description of the tea and add-ons.
Check out Dragon Tea at 317 Mamaroneck Avenue any day from 11 am to 9 pm. Delivery is available from Uber Eats and an app is coming soon.