Zero Express was not necessarily my cup of tea

A peach blossom tea with boba from Zero Express Artisan Boba Drinks in Fullerton, California. Photo by Jackie Cohen

You could say I’m a connoisseur of boba, considering that I drink it about once a week. I mean, what is “Thirsty Thursday,” if not a night to go get boba tea with my roommate? My friends and I usually stick to the same three places that sell boba, tea with tapioca pearls in it, which are all within a 15-minute radius of Chapman.

This Thursday, my roommate and I were feeling adventurous with our boba and we went to a new place, Zero Express in Fullerton, about 15 minutes from Chapman. The pictures on Yelp and social media looked amazing, so we had to see what the fuss was about.

When we got there, I looked at the menu and was slightly confused. I’m very indecisive, but when it comes to boba, I always get the same thing: a mango green tea. The problem was that Zero Express didn’t have this. Instead, it had fancier flavors like sea salt jasmine green tea and coffee horchata. After much contemplation, I decided to try a peach blossom tea with boba. This cost about $4.50, which is normal for boba.

As I stood at the cash register waiting to order, I noticed an odd-looking cup on the counter. It had two separate compartments. Next to it was a sign that said that you could order two types of teas in those cups, and they are completely separate. I can’t really tell if it is for an indecisive person who wants to try two different teas or if it is for a couple that is trying to be romantic and share their drink, but they have different tea preferences. Either way, it’s definitely a creative way to sell boba.

Considering the number of people there when we ordered, the service was pretty fast. Zero Express was hosting a fundraiser for a sorority at California State University, Fullerton, so there were a lot of people there, but we were still able to get our teas in 10 minutes.

I was impressed by my tea. It was very aesthetically pleasing. The tea was a yellowish-orange shade and was completed with orange slices and some chia seeds. The cup was not like at most boba places, where you have to poke a hole in the plastic covering; this one had a real lid.

After the first sip, I was surprisingly pleased. For not being my regular mango green tea, it was really good. The peach tea had a sweet flavor while the oranges complemented the sweetness with a nice, citrusy tang. The chia seeds also added a little bit of texture to the tea. The boba pearls were high quality with a chewy, gooey texture. They were not too hard but also not too mushy.

I slowly sipped my tea and about 20 minutes after I first got it, I started noticing a change in the tea’s consistency. As the time had gone on, the orange slices, which had looked very pretty, were slowly disintegrating, and the orange chunks were coming up the straw, overpowering the boba texture. I’m not a big fan of the texture of oranges, so this surprise in my tea was not something I enjoyed. The fibrous texture was too much. Also, when I finished my drink, I was left with a cup of gross-looking, mushy oranges with stray boba pearls stranded at the bottom. Being a boba lover, I was not happy with the waste of perfectly good boba pearls that were lost underneath the orange mush.

Overall though, the tea and boba pearls tasted very good, so maybe I should just go for a simpler drink next time … or I should stop being so picky.

Zero Express Artisan Boba Drinks is located at 2323 E. Chapman Ave. in Fullerton, California.

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