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Best Bubble Tea 

Blue Koi

The bubble-tea craze started in Taiwan in the mid-1980s, and now the funky fad has made it to Kansas City. Also known as Boba -- a Cantonese slang term for "nipple" -- the bubbles in bubble tea are large, gummy tapioca balls made from sweet-potato flour. At the Blue Koi, servers shake up the tea with milk, ice and "bubbles," then pour it into a clear plastic cup and present it with a straw wide enough for the orbs to slide through. The sweet tea comes in assorted flavors (mango, passion-fruit, green apple, strawberry, sweet taro, mocha, sweet green bean), but the delight is in the balls -- after lots of sucking, they shoot through the straw and boing against your teeth. The chewy, bouncy, weird-feeling little blobs are just plain fun to have in your mouth.

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