Stacey Roy/Sun Contributor

March 22, 2023

Crossings Café’s Bubble Tea: Cross it Off Your List

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On one fateful evening, I was channeling my inner lofi anime study girl on the first floor of Toni Morrison Hall when a psychedelic rainbow sign near the Crossings Café order kiosks caught my eye: 

“Now Serving Bubble Tea Available Near You!” 

I was intrigued. Like the average Cornell boba rat, I enjoy a good bubble tea here and there but seldom find the time for a trip to U-Tea or Kung-Fu Tea. Now that it was available in the convenience of my dorm building on campus, I wanted to test how four flavors of the new bubble tea in Toni Morrison Hall’s Crossings Café would size up to the popular classics I order most frequently in Collegetown. 

Taking a leap of faith, I decided to spend 16 BRBs to try the Thai, taro, Japanese green tea and strawberry boba flavors. 

At first glance, it is nearly impossible to differentiate between most of the drinks. The barista who prepared my order was gracious enough to place them in the same order as the receipt, but otherwise, you really wouldn’t be able to discern a Japanese green tea from a Thai milk tea. The Japanese green tea was more golden than green, while the taro looked gray more than anything.

On to my opinions on the flavors: 

TARO: 5/10 

The first sip hit me with that all too familiar starchy and saccharine wave of taro flavor, similar to what they use at U-Tea or Kung Fu — no complaints there. Yet, something was amiss. Did they use rice or soy milk this time instead of whole? The more I sipped, the sooner I realized… there wasn’t any milk in the base. The taro flavor was one of the more concentrated milk teas I tried, which isn’t saying much. My dearest friends, it only goes downhill from here. 


A watery, murky mess. The subtle, earthy notes of green tea were lacking and left to the consumer’s imagination. The drink was overwhelmingly watery, but where there were hints of the green tea powder, the bitterness was overpowering. This drink would have been significantly better with the addition of a sweet and thicker base such as oat or evaporated milk to bring out the softer flavor notes. 

THAI: 2/10 

A good Thai milk tea is sweet and complex, bringing out a blend of herbs unique to Assam black tea such as pandan leaf, cardamom and cinnamon. Yet, it’s hard for me to describe the taste of this drink because I found it difficult to taste… anything. 

I am biased because Thai milk tea is my favorite drink, and to bastardize it in this way brings tears to my eyes, but it tasted as though someone had whispered the words “Thai Milk Tea” into the drink instead of infusing the beverage with the actual flavor. 


While advertised as a milk tea on the order kiosks, the Strawberry Milk Tea resembled a Starbucks fruit tea refresher, which I wasn’t complaining about. Although it was a refreshing contrast from the flavorless concoctions I had sampled for the last ten minutes, the drink was pure sugar. It was extremely concentrated, fruity and, in my professional opinion, a good mixer for other special drinks you may have at home (wink wink). 

Yet, throughout the mediocrity of the drinking experience, there was one common denominator that exponentially worsened the entire taste-test. Absolutely nothing could have prepared me for the tapioca. Compared to how tapioca is conventionally soaked in syrup, honey or brown sugar, the bubbles tasted as if they were simply boiled in water and stirred into the drink. The complete lack of sweetness in conjunction with the chewiness of the pearls made for a downright nightmarish textural experience.

Overall, I did not enter this review with the highest expectations for Crossings Café. I’m very loyal to my girlies in Collegetown and I wouldn’t trade the quality of a Dirty Milk Brown Sugar for anything concocted in the bowels of North Campus. Rather, I came into this taste-test expecting that the Crossings’ boba could at least serve as a desperate girl’s substitute — that when I have completely slept through my morning alarms and missed the mandatory class I’ve already accumulated three absences for, in my slumberful confusion, I could temporarily quench my desolate thirst with a cold and comforting classic Thai milk tea awaiting downstairs. Alas, what a terrible fool I was!

In my professional opinion, the two simple acts of using an authentic milk base and soaking the boiled tapioca for at least thirty minutes in a sugar syrup would make a universe of difference for the quality of the drink. Unfortunately, I cannot say with any amount of honesty that these drinks in their current state are worth the Big Red Bucks, and I don’t know if I can ever financially recover from this. Do not be fooled by the convenient allure of the Crossings Café bubble tea — you’re better off making the trip to C-Town.

Stacey Roy is a sophomore in the College of Industrial and Labor Relations. She can be reached at [email protected].