Sweet, sticky, and squishy are all synonymous with the boba experience. Wait. Boba the drink or boba the tapioca topping? Both? We’re not here to debate boba’s true definition but we are here to tell you that if you’re looking for a cup of this Taiwanese-originated dessert drink, you can find it at UC Riverside inside Market at North District.
The addition is a result of Highlanders asking, “When is boba coming to campus?”
“We heard the campus community and chose this opportunity to better serve Highlanders,” said Armando Melendez, an 11-year UCR Dining staff veteran and manager of the North District market.
UCR’s Lollicup Boba & Tea franchise opened approximately one month ago. And training the almost 100-person UCR Dining staff in the art of boba crafting was both fun and chaotic. That first week resulted in sticky counters covered in spilled practice pours, colorful clouds of flavor powder mis-scoops, and the very messy “big splatter” of boba everywhere when a student staffer forgot to put the lid on a blender before hitting the ‘on’ button.
“I definitely tried to laugh it off, but the drink was everywhere,” said Darrin Chuang, a business administration major who caused the comical mishap. “It was on the inside of the blender, on the pumps, on our tea containers, and even a bit on the ice. It was extremely stressful. Fortunately, since I have a very supportive group of peers, we quickly cleaned up the mess, had a good laugh about it, and moved on.”
Ana Perez, also a business administration major, commented on the “very colorful” aspect of boba crafting.
"My favorite drink to make would be the Roasted Brown Sugar Boba Milk Tea. Although it is quite simple to make the drink, I believe it is one of the most visually pleasing drinks we sell. It is always fun to swirl around the Black Sugar sauce on the inside of the cup and see it swirl when I pour in the milk tea.”
With training pains in the past and a developing menu with hits like Horchata Milk Tea, Strawberry Sunburst, and Mangonada — all this eager Lollicup staff needs is for some boba enthusiasts to grab some boba newbies and place their orders.
Good news for those who are weary of sugar content — each drink’s sweetness is customizable. Just select your sugar level preference of 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%, or even 125%.
Melendez said UCR’s Lollicup location will also soon serve classic treats that pair well with boba, like crispy tofu and popcorn chicken.
How to Order at Lollicup:
- Review options on the digital menu and make selections using the touch screen (feel free to ask staff for recommendations).
- Once printed from the self-service ordering kiosk, take the receipt to the Market’s front counter (located at the entrance) and pay the cashier.
- Retrieve your order once the Lollicup staff calls your order number/name.
Note: The general public is invited to share in UCR’s boba fun. There is free street parking on Watkins Drive, which is a short walk down to Market at North District.