Boba Internet Cafe
Posted by Tampa Bay Food Monster on October 24, 2010
THIS PLACE was the first place i ever got boba at. that was back in 2004, i believe. honestly, i don’t remember what it was called back then, but now it’s known as boba internet cafe (that’s a link to their myspace, which may not have been updated since 2008). since my inaugural visit to this boba hut near the university mall, i have been hooked on the stuff. also, since then, they’ve changed ownership. i think that was around 2006. in addition to ownership, they’ve changed just about everything else.
it used to be very simple on the inside, with a counter at which to order and pick up your drinks, some seating around the area, and a wall full of photos of people who visit. all that’s been held over from those simple days are the large cup-shaped menu signs behind the counter listing their various drink options. now there are video games, a stage, and the preparation area is sealed behind a gigantic plastic box, through which you can watch the employees making the drinks. it’s actually very strange; i don’t know exactly why the guy constructed this thing, but uh… more power to him?
so you order your drink (outside of the box, so the register is totally open for robbery if you’re into that sort of thing), and then wait around for them to make your drink. once it has been prepared, the guy behind the box uses a microphone to announce what drink is ready, and passes it through a small hole in the box.
i’d like to imagine that the box has been constructed to keep out germs, as the owner has grown paranoid from years of exposure to unbathed college students. i didn’t see him handling any money, and maybe i saw him curled up in the fetal position and shaking in the corner? maybe!
so i ordered my standard taro milk tea, and this is what i got. right off the bat, i’m disappointed that it’s not the typical purple color i expect from taro. and the taste is… well it’s not taro. it tastes like the traditional taiwanese milk tea, except maybe a bit more bitter. i’ve had taro tea from many different places, as well as other taro flavored products, and this does not taste like taro. and strangely enough, it’s been like that since before the change of ownership. i don’t have any explanation for it. worst of all, the tea was not very strong in its flavor; it tasted like a mix powder (which i believe they usually are, at least but most places don’t taste like it).
the boba itself, the tapioca balls, are not really well prepared here. they were undercooked, and at least one of them was still starchy and powdery on the inside (a most unpleasant experience). it was really disappointing, but not surprising. i’ve always felt let down by this place, and this was the first time i’ve been there for over three years. i just stopped going once i realized i didn’t really care for their product.
BUT of course on the other hand, it is a nice hangout. they occasionally have live music, and they have different groups meeting there now and then. they have a whole bunch of games to occupy yourself with. and i assume there is some sort of internet connection. in fact, if it weren’t for their drinks, i’d probably go there all the time. but in the end, that’s all that matters to me. so i have to say no to boba internet cafe. sorry guys! go to got tea instead.
wait… hold on… more like BLOW-ba internet cafe? uh boba interNOT cafe? don’t make me boba internet LAFE? ahhh… whatever.