These Drinks Put Vibrant Violet-Hued Ube in the Spotlight

The purple yam, a staple ingredient in the Philippines, is showing up in lattes, boba teas and other sweet drinks all over NJ.

Grumpy Bobas' ube latte. Photo courtesy of Grumpy Bobas

Ube is a vegetable that not many are familiar with, but it is definitely something that will add color to your plate. The purple yam, a staple ingredient in the Philippines, has a smooth and creamy texture. Its slightly nutty, vanilla taste makes it much sweeter than its orange counterpart, making it the perfect addition to the world of desserts, drinks and other sweet treats.

These NJ locations are showcasing ube in their drinks this fall, highlighting its unique flavor—and color—in regular ol’ lattes.

Grumpy Bobas, Somerville

This bubble tea store uses real fruit and organic milk to build a catalogue of creative drinks. From Jasmine Green to Thai Milk Tea, Grumpy Bobas never shies away from making an inventive beverage. Their Iced Ube Latte creates a beautiful ombre, moving from a lavender color to a creamy white. Customers have described it as tasting like cereal milk and sweet potato—a creamy, cold treat that is as flavorful as it is unique.
Grumpy Bobas, 72 West Main Street, Somerville; 908-450-7100

Urban Leaf Cafe, Nutley

Following suit in using ube in an iced drink, Urban Leaf Cafe takes it to another level. Their Frozen Boba Drink takes the purple yam and adds Oreo crumbs to create a new kind of frozen dessert. The drink is topped with whipped cream and an Oreo, and filled with tapioca boba. Open Tuesday-Thursday 11 am–9 pm, Friday 10:30 am–9 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am–9 pm. Closed Mondays.
Urban Leaf Cafe, 182 D Kingsland Street, Nutley; 973-542-8663

Short Grain, Jersey City

Known for serving specialty coffee, sandwiches and other small plates, Short Grain does its best to craft a creative menu of items. Using ube’s sweet flavor and bright purple hue, Short Grain has added both hot and iced ube lattes to their specialty drink menu. Open Monday–Friday from 7 am–9 pm, and Saturday–Sunday from 8 am–7 pm.
Short Grain, 183 Montgomery Street, Jersey City; 201-333-2810

Ohana Poke Bowl, Westmont

With over ten bubble tea flavors, Ohana Poke Bowl is known for their creative flavorings. Bringing fresh and original flavors from Hawaii to South Jersey, Ohana uses the freshest ingredients to bring you an authentic Hawaiian experience. They’re highlighting ube’s sweet taste by adding it to their signature iced boba drink with black tapioca pearls. Open Tuesday–Saturday from 11 am–8 pm, and Sunday from 11 am–6 pm. Closed Mondays.
Ohana Poke Bowl, 46B Haddon Avenue, Westmont; 856-240-1130

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