The long awaited boba hub has finally arrived in Isla Vista where Pita Pit once stood. As a Los Angeles native who has fortunately tasted eateries well known for their iconic boba, my taste buds are well acquainted with the difference between high quality and mediocre boba. A few friends of mine have not had the privilege of trying boba prior to coming to SB, so they consider Hana Kitchen and Naanstop exceptional boba. I suppose for I.V. the quality is acceptable. However, with the recent opening of the Ice Milk Company, these boba hubs may have a potential competitor that could force them to step up their game.
My first impression upon walking into the establishment was the apparent difference in temperature from the breezy outside to the stuffy and hot interior. After five to 10 minutes, my body adjusted, but the initial shock was unpleasant along with the flies roaming around my head that wandered in from the wide-open door. The music playing on the television featured everything from pop to folk while also displaying the lyrics so you can sing along to the tune whether you know the song or not. The pale brown, almost khaki color of the tiles contrasted with the neon green signs and made me question their design taste, but I was still optimistic about their boba since I had heard it was better than local competitors. Not to mention Ice Milk Company has a bathroom, unlike the more well-known Hana Kitchen.
Next to the register, a large chalkboard displayed the menu divided into “fire” (cooked items) and “ice” (teas, milk teas and floats). As an avid fan of taro, I always order taro milk tea, light on the ice wherever I venture as a standardized method to compare boba hubs. According to their ice section, taro milk tea is one of their top five milk teas.
My expectations were heightened knowing that it was a fan favorite, and I eagerly waited for my order. The owner quickly called my order and I immediately jumped out of my seat to plunge a straw into the plastic-sealed lid. Initially the taste was pleasant, although it was not the taro milk tea I have grown up with. After tasting the milk tea, I sampled the boba balls and they were surprisingly hard and less sweet compared to Hana Kitchen. The sugariness and apparent taro root flavor was lacking, but the smooth texture was satisfying. However, after a couple sips, an unpalatable flavor encompassed my mouth.
My roommate warned me about an apparent “burnt” aftertaste that ruined her experience with the milk teas at Ice Milk Company. She suggested getting the regular teas without milk instead since they tasted better. However, being the traditional girl I am, I stuck to my usual taro milk tea. Like a rebellious teenager I didn’t listen and I regretted purchasing my taro milk tea for $4.27. But on the bright side, Ice Milk Company gives you a plethora of boba that I could not finish, along with quick, friendly service.
Next time I venture to Ice Milk Company, I plan to take the words of wisdom from my roommate and order a passionfruit green tea instead. As a boba lover constantly craving this delicacy perfected at my home in Los Angeles, I would gladly visit again because of the karaoke sing-a-long TV screen, friendly servers and owner and vast menu options, but the funky aftertaste is something I hope to see improved.