ChunYang Tea is a bubble tea shop specializing in traditional Taiwanese black teas without artificial flavours.
This brand has been all the rage in Asia since it first launched in 2017, where it's exploded with more than 100 locations across the continent with outposts in Singapore, Malaysia, and China.
The fact that it was co-founded by two Taiwanese celebrities Wang XinKai and Chen Jianzhou, a former basketball player, probably helps—as do the celebrity endorsements from big ticket Asian stars like Jay Chou and Barbie Hsu.
Marking ChunYang's first foray into Toronto, this Yonge Street store seems pretty consistent with all the other stores worldwide, which—beside the Lucky Cat statues and the big fluorescent character that translates loosely to 'gulp'—is actually pretty understated.
Named after a village in Taiwan best known for traditional tea-making, you shouldn't expect any outrageous flavours here.
Natural is the focus here: the brand prides itself in not using milk powders and syrups, opting for real fruits, like a super light-tasting grapefruit green tea ($6).
A honey lemon oolong tea ($5.50) uses a lemon-infused honey that's made in-house for its sweetness.
You can get it with aiyu jelly: a special topping made from the seeds of the awkeotsang creeping fig native to Taiwan that has an almost a super traditional green tea, almost medicinal flavour.
Tapioca is renewed every three hours, so you're guaranteed a fresh stock.
Regular pearls (an extra 5o cents) imported from Taiwan is the main option for most drinks, but you can also get the brown sugar version by ordering the one-size Brown Sugar Pearl with Fresh Milk ($6).
The tapioca is incredibly soft, and while I prefer more chew in mine, it's definitely sweet enough for me.
Using real dairy is really important here, and the store also has a good list of soy milk options too. I like the black tea cheese macchiato ($5.50), which has a noticeable but not-too-strong cheesy taste.
With so many bubble tea options in the city, ChunYang Tea doesn't necessarily wow, but its promotion of powder-less, syrup-free drinks is a big incentive for conscious boba drinkers.