Trying Off-Campus Boba at the New “Dragon Tea”


Dragon Tea on East 187th Street provides better quality boba for a more affordable price than Dagger John’s. (Courtesy of Claire Krieger for The Fordham Ram)

Boba tea has become extremely popular in the U.S., with the tapioca-filled drink shops seeming to pop up on every street corner in New York. At this point, everyone has had or at least heard of the novelty beverage. It is truly an acquired taste, and opinions range anywhere from distaste for the texture of the pearls to the group that absolutely loves it. There are only a few boba places near Fordham in the Bronx, and while we do have a boba spot on campus in the McShane Campus Center basement, I ventured out to try a new business that just opened over by 187th Street called Dragon Tea.

Dragon Tea opened on Aug. 21 and is a part of a New York based chain. Their menu features Taiwanese milk tea, bubble tea, taro milk tea, coffee and a range of other tasteful creations. Their five most popular drinks include strawberry honey lemonade, bubble milk tea, brown sugar boba with bubbles, taro fresh milk and passion fruit jasmine green tea.

The interior of the boba shop itself is open and modern, with slick silver walls, white countertops and grand opening flags still blowing outside to signify the new establishment. When we visited the shop, the patio doors were all open and it was a great spot to enjoy a drink while enjoying the nice weather, even though you were inside.

You place your order on a remotely operated screen when you first walk in instead of putting it with a person. Instead of feeling impersonal or too robotic, it was immensely convenient to order on the computer. We were able to place orders quickly with no hassle, and you can even order boba from the store online so it is ready when you get there and can avoid the wait.

To keep it simple, I got the brown sugar boba with 50% sugar instead of the normal level as it is a pretty popular flavor (and my own personal favorite). I was pleasantly surprised at how refreshing the ratio of sweetness to milk there was in the drink. I am not a huge fan of overly sweet drinks, so the 50% sugar was the perfect level of sweetness. However, if you have a sweet tooth, I’d recommend going for the full 100%. It also contained the perfect amount of tapioca pearls, not too overwhelming but also not sparse. And the pearls themselves were just as chewy as I hoped they would be without having a starchy or sticky consistency.

Overall, the price came out to be about $6.50. However, I substituted out normal milk in my boba for oat milk, a modification I did not know you could do until I came here, so the price for an unmodified drink would be less. Not only is that cheaper than our school’s boba, but I think Dragon Tea is better-quality boba than Dagger John’s. While convenient, there is spectacular boba right outside campus gates. The high-tech ordering system also makes the purchase even more exciting. It is only a 10 minute walk from the Walsh turnstile, which might be a shorter commute than Dagger John’s, depending where on campus you are coming from. Next time you are craving boba, I definitely recommend venturing off campus and stopping here for your tea fix.

Fordham students are fortunate for the endless number of dining options we have right outside our campus gates. As members of the Bronx community, it is important to journey out and support the small businesses that surround us, especially after all the struggles that many restaurants faced with COVID-19 and following guidelines while still trying to make business.

Next time you are looking for something other than campus food, I challenge you to go out and try a nearby restaurant you have not been to before. You’ll find that good food is no further than a couple of blocks away from your dorm. At the very least, be sure to give Dragon Tea a try for some great refreshments at reasonable prices.