I feel like bubble tea and snack places are popping up all over Atlanta lately. It’s good to see–I really love Sweet Hut and I’m excited to hear they’re expanding to add a Lenox Square location, but it’s also fun to go somewhere else every once in a while and experience something different.
That was definitely the case when I went to ViVi Bubble Tea (5306 Buford Highway) with my friend Amanda, who had seen a picture of an incredible drink creation from ViVi on Instagram and wanted to investigate further. So did I!
ViVi is located not far from the I-285 exit for Buford Highway and, interestingly, also not far from Sweet Hut. It’s in kind of a weird location, a building apparently shaped like a triangle. It has about 5 parking spaces, but it is surrounded by strip malls that have abundant parking in case those spaces are full.
ViVi is a Taiwanese chain that started in New York City, where they have more than 20 locations, and expanded forth into other cities like Boston, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia and Atlanta. Their website explains that they started in 2007 and they use ingredients brought in straight from Taiwan. They also have a cute and intriguing look that features the use of hot pink and little cartoon skulls with cute faces.
Here’s a look inside ViVi–you can see the cutesy skulls, plus some of the seating areas. I just noticed the wraparound booth in the corner is meant to look like a chocolate bar.
The space is mainly white with pops of color, so on a sunny day, it feels very bright.
This is the ordering area and the bar where all the magic happens. One machine that amused us endlessly was a sort of mechanical shaker. Insert two sealed drinks and the machine shakes them vigorously for a little bit, much faster than a human could do it. You might also notice the domed thing on the right. We’ll get to that again later.
My favorite drink from any bubble tea joint is, well, bubble tea. Specifically, black milk bubble tea. ViVi has this on the menu, along with lots of other drinks I’ll need to come back and try, like fruit teas, other milk teas, matcha, milk drinks that apparently do not have tea in them, slushies and drinks containing Yakult. Along with drinks, there are some snacks like popcorn chicken, but neither of us were hungry, so we didn’t get anything to eat. Again, that’s something to do on a return visit!
I decided to get my favorite black milk bubble tea, but in a different form. Limited to just 50 a day, ViVi will make you a black milk bubble tea or a peach bubble tea inside, well, an oversized lightbulb.
Illuminating. It was a bit pricier than it would be if served in the normal plastic cup, but come on, how often have you had any drink out of an oversized lightbulb? Exactly. What I really liked about this tea was the bubbles. They were smaller than normal, so you don’t have to worry about those last few bubbles getting stuck in the straw when the tea to bubble ratio is not balanced. They also had a vaguely floral taste to them, maybe jasmine or something? It’s definitely different from typical bubbles, but good different.
Amanda wanted something even wilder than my lightbulb, though. That domed thing from the photo earlier? That’s a cotton candy machine. What does a bubble tea place need with a cotton candy machine?
That’s what the cotton candy machine is there for. This is a tiramisu milk bubble tea that is served in a sort of glass stein with a handle and crowned with a majestic mane of cotton candy. (There’s a bit of tea left over that doesn’t fit in the stein, so a tiny stein is provided for the overflow. They top that off with whipped cream.) The whole thing is placed on a wood cutting board for easy carrying. The doily is just a nice touch. Oh, and then they unwrap one of the pink straws and somehow manage to place it inside the cotton candy mane so you can drink the tea!
Here is Amanda being extremely amused by this tea. It really is pretty funny, though. You don’t see that every day!
We had a great time at ViVi and I’ll definitely be back–maybe even to try something other than black milk bubble tea. Who knows?