The Alley is a Taiwanese Bubble Tea chain with locations across Asian, Australia, France, United States and Canada. There are already several locations in Ontario, but a first for BC. They are known for making their own tapioca pearls as well as their own sugar cane syrup. The most popular drinks are their Brown Sugar Deerioca series, which has their pearls in brown sugar with either milk or soy.
We were invited to a sneak peek of their location on Hornby Street before they open their doors on April 27th, 2019. During their grand opening weekend on April 27th and 28th, 100 free drinks will be given out starting at 3pm on a first come first served basis. Then after, it’s 15% off select drinks.
The space is very narrow and small with a few seats inside. Most people will be doing take out.
You can also choose the sweetness and ice level of the beverages. Some drinks on the menu have very obscure names, so we ordered a few of them so you can get an idea of what you’re ordering.
This drink has their red tea infused with blueberry for a hint of blueberry aroma to the tea. Tapioca pearls are the best paired with it. I was very surprised by the unique taste like a floral milk tea. I thought it was pretty unique and no other bubble tea has anything like this.
This has their house made tapioca, slow cooked with brown sugar syrup for 2 hours to offer a textural sensation as each bite is different.
There are essentially 3 versions of the drink – fresh milk, soy milk or matcha latte. I really like it with soy as it balanced out the brown sugar and the pearls quite nicely. Remember to stir the drinks well to incorporate all the ingredients so you’re not just sucking up brown sugar and pearls.
The aurora series has 2 beverages – Morning Dawn and Northern Lights. Both are in these cute plastic bottles with layers of different items.
Morning Dawn has a base of Jasmine Green Tea, crushed mango ice, and the blue butterfly pea tea.
Northern Lights has their apple vinegar, black currant crushed ice and the blue butterfly pea tea.
Both drinks are very refreshing but out of the two, we enjoyed the Morning Dawn as the mango and Jasmine green tea go better together. At $8.50 per bottle, it is a steep price.
Passionfruit Green Tea
The green tea has essence of passionfruit and there are even passionfruit bits inside too. There is also jelly and pearls in this drink. It adds a nice texture to this drink. Good to get it half sweet so you can fully appreciate the tea flavour.
Iron Goddess Tea
I got this with less sugar and the boldness of the tea came through. I love how they brew their own tea and you can taste the quality of it.
White Peach Oolong
There are 2 tea bags inside, so it’s nice to see that they use real tea leaves to steep it. Nice to get this half sweet as well. There are subtle fruity peach flavour to the oolong tea.
Apple of My Eye
Apple of my eye is like an apple cider vinegar slush with tea and aloe bits. Definitely different, but we really weren’t expecting the apple cider vinegar taste.
Hojicha Soy Milk
Love the look of this drink with the hojicha on top and the soy milk on the bottom. At full sweetness, this drink isn’t bad at all with the soy milk. You really have to mix this drink well to get the best flavour. We did notice that the hojicha tea was a bit of a gritty texture has had more sediments in it compared to some of their other drinks. Other than that, this was still very enjoyable.
Uji Matcha Latte
This has their uji matcha on top and milk on the bottom. Great for those who are matcha fans, but we would get this half sweet to be able to taste a better balance of the matcha.
Purple Rice Cocoa
As a hot drink only, this had bit of purple rice on the bottom of the drink and then a really rich hot chocolate drink. Try using a big straw with this drink so you can easily sip up the purple rice in every gulp. I would also recommend to get this half sweet.
The Alley Trio Milk Tea
This has their classic milk tea and 3 toppings – pearls, aloe and rainbow jelly. The addition of the toppings give it a nice texture in every sip. We found this to be very milky and not enough of a strong tea flavour.
Vancouver has a lot of bubble tea shops already but a lot of people have been urging The Alley to open up and Vancouver and it’s finally happening. Not bad to have another bubble tea shop as they offer a different items unique to their shop.
My favourites were the Soy Deerioca, Royal No 9 Milk Tea, and Hojicha soy milk. The quality of their drinks are good, but the price point on some drinks are higher than some bubble tea shops around town.
985 Hornby Street, Vancouver