Sharetea Yonge & Dundas
Sharetea is a popular bubble tea chain from Taiwan that already has a few locations in Toronto . This particular outpost is a bright space conveniently located by Ryerson just east of the Eaton Centre.
Unlike some other bubble tea places that offer thick slices of toast or other snacks in addition to beverages, there isn't any food to be found on the menu here; the focus is solely on the drinks.
Classic Pearl Milk Tea ($4.60 medium, $5.10 large) is always a good test of a bubble tea spot, and this one doesn't disappoint. The tapioca balls (a.k.a. "bubbles" or "pearls") are fresh and the right chewy consistency - not too soft and not too hard.
Along with your choice of black or green tea, you can also choose how much ice you want ("normal," less or none) as well as the sugar level - it can be reduced to 80%, 50%, 30% or none, and brown sugar is used instead of white.
If you're not into bubble tea flavours that use powder (I'm definitely not), then the Handmade Taro Fresh Milk ($5.10, $5.60) is a good choice.
It's non-caffeinated and made with actual taro blended with ice and milk. Encountering real bits of taro can be a bit unsettling for those used to the powdered version of the beverage, but I find it kind of reassuring.
Each extra topping is 50 cents and choices include the usual pearls, jellies, aloe vera, red bean or pudding, but there is also the option of adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which I think would complement the taro well.
My personal favourite from this visit is the signature Wintermelon Tea Creama ($4.60, $5.10) with a frothy cream on top accompanied by a pinch of salt and a sprinkling of matcha powder.
This non-caffeinated drink has a distinctive flavour that I would definitely return for, and it's fun to decide how to drink it: the way it's served or by stirring in the cream (I think I prefer the former).
Prices are a little high for some of the beverages here in comparison to other bubble tea spots, but the attention to quality makes it worthwhile. Take advantage of loyalty cards and daily specials that offer 20% off a featured regular-sized drink.
With free WiFi and a central location, this is a nice hangout for Ryerson students or those who need a bit of a break from the bustle of Yonge-Dundas Square.
Photos by Jesse Milns