Labobatory: Not your average boba shop

  • The Chinese cough medicine used to make a refreshing, cough-relieving drink. All photos by Phoenix Tso.

  • Chinese cough medicine is used to make this refreshing, cough-relieving drink.

  • Unique ingredients for Labobatory's one-of-a-kind creations.

  • Labobatory drinks.

  • Elton Keung stirs the boba.

  • A labobatory worker prepares an order.

  • Labobatory's Nutella milk tea.

Location

Labobatory

819 West Las Tunas Dr.
San Gabriel , CA 91776 United States
Phone: (626) 804-1717

Step into the Laboratory and the first thing you’ll probably notice is that it feels like you are in an actual science lab. That’s because the owner, Elton Keung, is a mad boba scientist and his shop is where he gets to do his experimenting. Luckily enough, you are able to try a wide range of his various concoctions. All of the drinks on the menu have distinct characteristics, and that’s because they are all original. “飲料我自己發明- 從我的頭腦創出來的,” says Elton in fluent Chinese, explaining that all of Labobatory’s flavors come straight from his own head.

Indeed, the drinks you can find here are unlike any others you have seen anywhere else before. All from 不同的地方 (that is, from all over the world), not just Asia! Here you can find a horchata drink (of Mexican influence, of course), or indulge in a nice Lebanese rose water beverage, which Elton buys from the local Indian supermarket himself. He even has a delicious specialty drink made from the infamous Chinese cough syrup 枇杷膏 (pronounced pípágāo in Chinese pinyin). Have a sore throat? Keep calm and head to Labobatory.

As other reviews have pointed out, the drinks are pricey. But Elton reassures his customers and potential visitors that you will absolutely get your money’s worth. Apart from the fresh ingredients, such as fresh peaches and real Nutella, you are paying for an experience to try one-of-a-kind creations.

Elton hopes in the future to have a more focused target audience, and is very grateful to be located in San Gabriel. He also has no plans of slowing down anytime soon, and hopes to have a red bean drink on the menu soon, and perhaps even a color-changing one. Now if that doesn’t sounds like something you would find in a “labobatory,” then I don’t know what would!

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