Before bubble tea (also known as "boba" or "sago" tea) hit the tipping point, there was tiny, subterranean Sweet-n-Tart Café, a pioneer in churning out the hot and cold brewed teas blended with milk and chewy black balls of tapioca. While bubble tea shops have popped up all over, from Chinatown and Flushing to the East Village and even Macy's Herald Square, Sweet-n-Tart continues mixing the teas just as it did before the beverage took hold as a popular phenomenon.
But Sweet-n-Tart also makes a delicious line of thirst-quenching juice drinks, embellished with tapioca pearls, that shouldn't be overlooked as the bubble tea bandwagon continues. Sweet, cool, and refreshing, these fresh-squeezed fruit drinks have a striking visual appearance, as the small, white tapioca pearls are suspended in tall glasses of thick, brightly colored juice. The drinks are $3.75 and come in a variety of flavors, including mango, melon, papaya, watermelon, kiwi, and strawberry (pictured above).
Sweet-n-Tart: 76 Mott Street, New York (212.334.8088); 20 Mott Street, New York (212.964.0380); 136-11 38th Ave., Flushing, Queens (718.661.3380).