Koala Tapioca and Rewts Tea — Decent Boba West of the 110

17 May

For a true bobadouche, it has been a tale as old as time that there was no decent boba outside of the SGV. This makes sense, as boba, or bubble tea or pearl milk tea, is a somewhat recent invention from Taiwan and the SGV is the hub of Taiwanese immigration. But a couple new places are challenging the old wisdom, bringing quality boba to the other loci of Taiwanese and Chinese immigration, UCLA and USC.

Westwood has had bad boba for years, from the Noodle Planet afterthought boba to subpar Boba Loca and the fall and decline of Relaxtation. Into this void stepped a couple UCLA alumni with a food truck serving boba drinks. Now turned into a B&M, Koala serves some very legit boba and a bunch of other tea house snacks.

I’ve had the boba milk tea several times, and I can definitely recommend it. Heavy on the cream with a decent sweetness level, it is too light on the tea to be considered excellent, but it is really very good for not being in the SGV. It’s not in the same weight class as Half and Half or Smiling Face, but better than anything on Sawtelle except for maybe the new MJ Cafe. 

They also have some real food. The popcorn chicken is pretty good (but when is popcorn chicken ever bad?), and the bahn mi are not bad. To damn with faint praise again, the bahn mi are good for the Westside, but not accurate enough or innovative enough.

Rewts is a different beast. They emphasize high quality boba ingredients, which is kind of hilarious for a food stuff that was last linked with a melamine contamination scare. But they do a good job with the boba — soft and chewy, warm, and sweetened but not too much. 

Where Rewts really shines is the high quality tea. It’s not about powdered flavors here. It’s about high quality teas. Even done as a milk tea, you can taste the difference. I’m going to have to try it a few more times before I crown Rewts the best boba in town, but it is at least in the running.

By the way, I often ask new boba places how their sweetness level is compared to Half and Half. Many times they don’t know what I’m talking about, which signals to me that they are probably not very good (and is usually confirmed). But the Rewts guy was a total boba hipster. He practically rolled his eyes when he said that Half and Half was too sweet. I decided to trust him, especially because I agree that Half and Half is too sweet by half.

Turns out that the sweetness level at Rewts is perfect. Less sweet than Half and Half and Smiling Face, but still sweet. The boba are a little smaller than usual (organic boba, sneered the hipster), and are pretty good, but not honeyed and perfect like the ones at Smiling Face. But the tea is the star of the show. 

Oh, I almost forgot to comment on what a dumb name Rewts is. So there’s my comment: it’s stupid.

Oh, yeah, and here’s a random shot of the Mighty Boba Truck. It’s pretty good for the Westside, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it.

Koala Tapioca
10965 Weyburn Ave,
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Rewts Tea Bar
2321 S. Hoover St.>
Los Angeles, CA


One Response to “Koala Tapioca and Rewts Tea — Decent Boba West of the 110”


  1. Koala T Cafe — Adding Szechuan Food to a Boba Place. Hmm. OK. | Fooddouche's Blog - November 12, 2015

    […] The boba was more or less what I remembered. Great. So I ordered one of my favorite dishes, Dan Dan noodles. I sometimes fall into a trance thinking of the version at Chengdu Taste. So maybe this could evoke that, seeing as how the chef was a real Szechuan chef. […]

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