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A Fancy Pants Taiwanese Bubble Tea Chain Has Landed Downtown

With the chain making its own brown sugar tapioca balls in house, it’s a concept that has proved popular elsewhere.

The Alley/Supplied

Downtown Montreal has a new bubble tea destination, with Taiwanese import The Alley now open on Guy Street, by Concordia University.

The chain is just four years old (its first location opened in Taiwan in 2015), yet it’s making substantial international expansions — in Canada, it has numerous locations in the Toronto area, plus one each in Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver; it has also been moving into the U.S. market, too.

The rapid expansion could be due to a general focus on quality: the Alley makes its own brown sugar-infused tapioca balls on-site each day: the tapioca pearls are cooked in brown sugar “lava” for two hours. They then feature in the chain’s “deerioca” tea, a trio of sweet options including a regular sweet, milky tea, a matcha option, and a “creamy” option that’s adjacent to a crème brûlée. At $6, it might be a little more expensive than the average bubble tea, but not wildly so; portions are reasonable, too. (It should be noted that the name of this drink and the chain’s deer head logo is not an attempt to score Canadiana points — it has been the Alley’s logo all along.)

The Alley/Supplied

There’s also a general focus on quality tea, which goes through a 500-day process from harvesting through roasting. A range of black, green, and oolong teas are on the menu; the Royal No 9 is one of the chain’s staples, featuring black tea roasted with blueberries.

While many of the Alley’s menu items are sweet, unsweetened options are offered too. The menu isn’t all milky, either — a range of iced drinks like the Apple of my Eye, made with honey, apple cider vinegar, aloe, and more — sweet options like this are generally not cloyingly sugary, though.

STATUS — The Alley is open at 1256 Guy (corner Ste-Catherine) from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

The Alley

1256 Rue Guy, Montreal, QC H3H 1T4 Visit Website