The Dessert House (B-Tsai)
101-111 2 Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2G 0B2
Bubble Tea, everyone’s favorite summertime drink, originated in Taiwan. The OG version was a basic black tea, condensed milk, honey, and tapioca balls. While many people swear by the original version only, there are now an infinite number of variations other than milk tea, including fruit tea, fruit milk, fruit juice, and fruit slush. For me, the key to any good bubble tea lies in good bubbles. They must’ve been boiled long enough to get rid of any chalky texture. And not been sitting too long to be “too soft”. The Taiwanese have a term for this correct texture – “qiu qiu”.
Don’t get me wrong. The flavour obviously matters as well, but it’s secondary. The freshness of the fruit matters the most (after texture), but in most slushes and juices, the sweetness is often adjusted by the inclusion of simple syrup, making it a bit less important. With powder drinks, it matters less, as it’s all a matter of shop preference for how much powder is included.
In Calgary, my favorite place for bubble tea is The Dessert House (B-Tsai Desserts). Due to high volume and years of experience, they have the most consistent bubbles, and freshest fruit juice. They recently moved locations from their smaller, cramped location, to a cavernous location across the street. Their hours have stayed the same, but the prices have gone up. Definitely the most expensive bubble tea i’ve ever had, but as an occasional treat, it’s worth it. The best of the fresh fruit is the seasonal fruit specials. For example, currently it’s all berries – blueberry, raspberry, blackberry. You can mix flavours for 50 cents more.
To be honest, i’d take Dragonball in Vancouver any day, especially at the price. The prices themselves are a bit ridiculous – while i understand inflation, $8 for a large seasonal fresh fruit with bubbles is a bit extreme. The Dessert House does have other items – a lot of Hong Kong style snacks (think tapas style), ices, and jellies. But for me, they are all about the Bubble Tea, if you can afford it. Order the seasonal fruit. And take a seat, as it’s so busy, it’ll take a while. But to get your vitamins in a tasty form, it is well worth it.