Calling all boba lovers! Run, don’t walk to the Cake Bar.
By Andie Vigliotti
Over the past few years, arguably no drink has gained more popularity among Gen Z than boba tea, also commonly known as bubble tea. The versatile drink originated in Taiwan in the 1980’s and spread to the West Coast of the U.S. due to the large Taiwanese population that settled there. As the drink’s popularity has skyrocketed, boba shops have opened all across the states, and even here in Syracuse we have seen a few pop up.
One place in particular is called The Cake Bar. It is a bakery located in downtown Syracuse that fuses Vietnamese and American culture. The owner, Duyen Nguyen, grew up in Vietnam assisting her mother’s popular bakery with cake decorations and business operations. Ngyuen first opened The Cake Bar in 2021 as a small stand in Salt City Market, and then expanded to include a larger location downtown with a wider selection of boba drinks and desserts. They now offer a promising deal for those new to the traditional boba drink: a boba flight.
For $20, customers can sample four out of the six popular flavors of boba tea. The flavors include original, Thai Tea, Brown Sugar, Jasmine, Honeydew and Taro. Each drink comes with tapioca pearls in the bottom. The flight is served on a wooden tray where the drinks are arranged from the most bitter to the most sweet. If they are sipped in this order, the palette is not overwhelmed by the sweetness from the stronger flavors, and so every flavor can be completely enjoyed.
Their original milk tea is the classic flavor and the bitterest of the flight. It has the strongest taste of tea and is quite earthy. The next level up is Thai Tea; traditional Thai Tea is a spiced black tea with sweetened condensed milk. Following the Thai Tea is the Jasmine flavor, which clearly tastes floral, yet is not too strong. The initial floral taste lends itself to a more natural flavor with just a hint of citrus. The Honeydew flavor is next on the sweetness scale, and is much sweeter than the last. It has a strong note of melon, but it almost tastes milky. The second to last flight and almost the sweetest is the Taro. Taro is a starchy root vegetable native to Southeast Asia, similar to a sweet potato. The taste of taro is often compared to buttery popcorn or having a caramel flavor. The final and sweetest flavor is Brown Sugar. The brown sugar is just as you would expect: sugary! The sweet syrup in the flight tends to sink towards the bottom, so it should be blended with the milk to get the best taste.
The best flavors boil down to personal preference in many cases, and each flavor offers unique qualities that can be appreciated. The boba flight is a good option to share with friends or as a one time experience for those who want to try boba or The Cake Bar’s menu for the first time. It might not be worth the price to purchase more than once because the drinks are quite small for $20.