Instagram-Worthy Asian Desserts in Downtown

The Place: Pop ‘N Tea Bar
The Location: 550 W. McDowell Road, Phoenix
The Dishes: Sun Devil Sweetea, Diamond Bar, Malibu’s Most Wanted
By: Tyler Peckham

Driving down McDowell Road near 7th Avenue, it’s hard to miss the tall vintage sign advertising where the well-known Phoenix venue, “My Florist”, once sat. Today the locale is rife with trendy new shops and eateries, and it is here that you’ll find the cheerful and delicious Pop ‘N Tea Bar. A sign outside the shop reads “Tea on Tap”, but upon entering, we realized it was much more than a trendy tea house.

Childhood friends Eric Caraig, Matt Kwong and Benson Tran opened Pop ‘N Tea in late January 2018 after years of planning in their home state of California. When they came to Arizona, the friends realized Phoenix was lacking unique Asian cuisine and culture, so Phoenix then became the perfect place for their long-planned boba shop.

Even during their soft opening in January, Pop ‘N Tea’s Yelp page was receiving many positive reviews, and business has only grown since then. Customers rave about the Instagram-worthy décor (herringbone tile, neon signs, lots of greenage including a plant wall), and of course, the boba.

Any drink at Pop ‘N Tea can have boba added for $0.50, and theirs is particularly delicious. The boba at Pop ‘N Tea is colored with matcha, giving it a fun green color, and cooked in honey and brown sugar, adding a slightly sweet taste.

Teas, slushies and smoothies are the bulk of the Pop ‘N Tea menu, all ranging in price from $4-$5.25 depending on price and style. We chose to sample the most popular choices on the menu, the Sun Devil Sweetea ($4.25 regular/ $4.75 large) and the Malibu’s Most Wanted smoothie ($4.75 regular/$5.25 large). The Sweetea has a black iced tea base with peach and strawberry flavoring; fresh peach and strawberry bits are also added, making it a perfect summer drinks. The Malibu’s Most Wanted is essentially a strawberry pina colada, and I made a serious OMG face after taking my first sip. It was beyond good!

What the store is really known for however is their picture-perfect ‘diamond bars’ made with Villa Dolce gelato and sorbetto. The fresh-made bars come in a multitude of flavors, including options like sea salt caramel, coffee, and chocolate chip. Upgrade to a deluxe for an extra $1 and choose from a white, milk or dark chocolate dip and two toppings. This ‘choose your own adventure’ style has been very popular with guests and the owners are always surprised by what people come up with. The texture of the diamond bar is firm yet soft enough to bite into, thanks to the owner’s choice of using gelato and sorbetto instead of ice cream.

Though the shop is still new, Pop ‘N Tea Bar is already delivering on their mission to deliver the best and most innovative products to the Valley. My guess is we will be hearing about this place again very soon.
Pop ‘N Tea Bar is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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