When it comes to bubble tea (also called boba tea), I’m a bit of a newbie. If you happen to be a boba newbie too, here’s a quick summary…boba tea is a Taiwanese tea-based beverage and the name comes from the large tapioca pearls that are typically added to the drink. They sink to the bottom and add a chewy texture. Boba tea can be customized and personalized in countless different ways with a ton of different flavors and add-in ingredients. With so many different possible combinations, it can be daunting trying to narrow down your options and pick something you’re really going to enjoy. Because of that, I’ve only tried boba tea a handful of times. And each time, I’ve been on the fence about whether or not I really liked it.
I recently decided to give it another try when I stopped in at what seems to be one of Jacksonville’s most loved boba tea shops. Aroma Corner has two locations, one on Baymeadows Road near Old Kings Road and one on Beach Boulevard near 295. We stopped by the Beach Boulevard location and were pleasantly surprised. The inside is bright, colorful, and cheerful. The decor and furnishings are quirky and eclectic without being kitschy or dated. And the bright blue and green colors are vibrant and fun.
Taking a moment to look over the menu, my fears of not knowing what I wanted were immediately assuaged. While the menu at Aroma Corner is expansive, it is easy to read, and laid out in a simple way so that all those flavor options are not so overwhelming. The menu literally walks you through step-by-step to help you create your perfect beverage. In addition to drinks and smoothies, Aroma Corner also serves noodle salads, Asian breakfast wraps, sandwiches, and desserts. We decided on a Chocolate Milk Tea, an Oriental Cold Noodle Salad, and a concoction called the Frozen Explosion. I had really wanted to give boba another try in the milk tea and on the Frozen Explosion, so we were a little disappointed to find out that they were out of boba. Huh?? Out of boba at a boba tea shop? Oh well. Just gives me an excuse to go back to Aroma Corner another time.
Our food was ready pretty quickly and was brought right over to our table. I was excited to dig into my Cold Noodle Salad. I opted for the salad with just veggies ($5.55) but you also have the option of adding chicken as well ($6.55). My plate was piled high with noodles, carrots, cucumbers, and a dark rich-looking Asian peanut sauce. The noodle salad was delicious. The noodles were cooked perfectly and the sauce was really tasty. The sauce had a wonderful peanut flavor with just the right amount of soy sauce and a little bit of heat. I loved this noodle salad. Plus the portion was huge, which meant that I had plenty to box up and take home with me to enjoy later.
The Chocolate Milk Tea ($3 for a small size) was also yummy. And my son was not at all disappointed in the lack of boba. His last run-in with those chewy tapioca pearls did not go too well. So, this time around he enjoyed his Chocolate Milk Tea without the boba. It had a great chocolatey flavor and a creamy consistency. He was a big fan and I liked the taste, too.
What I really enjoyed the most was the Frozen Explosion ($4.25). It was beautiful to look at, with all its layers of shaved ice, jellies, and red beans, and it was topped off with a scoop of ice cream. This usually comes topped with boba as well, but since they were out, they piled on more mango pudding squares. And that was fine with me because they were delicious and had a great fresh fruit flavor. This was such a fun treat to eat. I loved digging through all the layers of different flavors and textures. The tea and lychee jellies added a lot of flavor and an interesting texture in each bite. I thought the red beans were an especially nice surprise. I’ve tried red beans in sweet applications before and have not been a huge fan, but the Frozen Explosion may have changed my mind about that. The red beans were a perfect addition and added a nice bit of texture. This icy cold, refreshing treat really lived up to its name…it was an explosion of unique flavors in every bite. I would absolutely order it again.
While we sat enjoying our treats and our noodle salad, I couldn’t help but notice the alluring dessert case by the counter. I just couldn’t resist buying a couple of sweets to take home for later. Aroma Corner has tons of mousses, cakes, pies, and cream puffs in their well-stocked dessert case. In addition to those delectable desserts, they have a large three-tiered display with at least a dozen different types of cookies, all packaged in adorable little baggies and all priced right around $1 per bag. We picked a couple different types of cookies to take home for later. Both were so tasty and were a perfect one-bite size. We got some Coconut Chocolate Balls, which were like coconut shortbread with a hint of white chocolate flavor. They were buttery and sweet, but not overly sugary. The subtle sweetness was really nice. We also got a couple of brownie macaron-type cookies. They were not labeled on the shelf, so I don’t know the exact name, but I knew when I saw them that I just had to have them. These were amazingly decadent and chocolatey. The cookies were crispy and light on the outside but chewy and moist on the inside. And the chocolate filling was rich and had a wonderful dark chocolate flavor. I should have gotten more of these to take home. I’m already plotting my next visit so I can pick up some more of these chocolate treats.
I am a huge fan of Aroma Corner. The service was prompt and friendly, the atmosphere was fun and cheerful, and the food was great. My only disappointment was that they were out of boba, so I wasn’t able to try that on my Frozen Explosion. It would have added even more flavor and another layer of texture to an already amazing treat. Like I said, that just gives me another reason to go back and pay Aroma Corner another visit sometime soon. But to be honest, I didn’t really need another reason…those desserts will be enough to keep us coming back again and again!
For this review we welcome a member of our own JRR family: Rhonda Kovar is a former call center manager turned stay-at-home mom. She grew up in the heart of North Carolina and moved to Florida after getting hitched in 2002. She is a graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University and a lover of all things crafty, musical, or edible. Rhonda loves finding new and delicious ways to turn her two tiny picky eaters into future foodies. You can follow her on Instagram.