The Boba Files: Chatime (San Jose, CA)

8:00:00 AM

File #010: What time is it? Chatime!

One of the worst things you can do to me is: take milk tea away from me. The second worst thing is dangling it in front of my face when I shouldn’t have it.

Like a double edged sword, I lose both ways. Chatime both indulges and ruins me.

It’s not their fault. They didn’t purposely choose that location for their store with the idea in mind that they were going to destroy Amy’s diet and make her happy, sad and conflicted at the same time.


You’re probably thinking… what do you want? Take it away and you’re mad and give it to you and you’re still mad.

What can I say besides…? Humans are fickle. Myself included.

I suffer at the hand of convenience. My weight that is. My willpower is not strong enough to resist the temptation.

And while the servers don’t know me by name yet, I’m sure if they took down names like Starbucks, they would have by now.

Chatime is located in a shabby strip mall, next to Popeyes and a Taqueria. Parking wise, that’s never a problem since there’s an abundance, but because of the nature of location, I always try to park closer to the shop. Not that the probability I get stabbed or kidnapped if I parked further is exceptionally high, but why test it?

Not too long ago, Chatime was occupied by another milk tea shop, one that wasn’t worth mentioning because they paled heavily in comparison. That place ranked up there with some of the worst tasting milk tea ever.

Chatime maintained the same skeleton as the previous shop, but added new furnishing to spruce up the interior-- more noticeably the purple seats. The inside is sprinkled with bright purple sofa and peppered with witty tea and coffee related throw pillows.

During visits on Halloween and Christmas, they decorate the shop to fit the holiday.

As a frequent visitor, I’ve tasted a wide range of their drinks and enjoyed a majority of them. Much like most milk tea places nowadays, they give you the ability to customize the sweetness and ice levels.  I take most of my drinks at 50% sweetness or lower nowadays, but if you order the “latte” drinks like the “Tian Guan Yin” or the “Matcha Green Tea,” I recommend getting it at 100% simply because of how that drink is built. Drinking it means finding the balance somewhere in the middle because drinking too high or too low means the difference between sickeningly sweet and bland.

The Milk is the sweet part. Notice how my Matcha Latte has less? Because I asked for 75%
Also, the last time I went, I noticed they have many seasonal drinks that aren’t on the permanent menu. So you may want to keep your eye out if you don’t see anything on the menu that piques your attention.

When all fails, I like to fall back to their roasted milk tea.

Ever since their grand opening in the summer, they have gotten much quicker at cranking out drinks and fulfilling orders. Wait time has dropped drastically with the exception of high crowds hours, which tends to fluctuate between when school comes out (a popular hangout spot for the high schoolers from Independence High School) and late at night.

Chatime is opened daily from 11 AM to 11 PM, to my knowledge, with the exception of the weekends where it’s extended one hour to midnight, meaning while the Tapioca Express in the area closes at 11 PM, people can flock over to Chatime to fulfill their boba crave.

Which brings me to this idea. They should have a milk tea place that opens at 11 PM and closes at 11 AM. You slap it right next to a college campus and I guarantee a hit. It will be the go-to place for all the stragglers who want to sober up, the party go-ers who want a drink, the random families that are still up and for all the students burning the midnight oil, but have serious munchies. Call it Midnight Tea. Or something along those lines…

But anyways I called it here first. Somebody make it and cut me a portion of the profits.

Or at least give me a lifetime supply at your place. That’s all I ask.

Japanese Genmaicha (Caffeine-free)
If boba isn’t your thing and you wanted some snacks, they have a limited snack menu. I’ve tried the popcorn chicken and it’s pretty tasty for $5. I believe they also have potstickers and fries along with some others.

And for those who always complain about never having cash on hand, Chatime is one of those rare stores that accept credit cards. Also, slap your Five Stars card down because they accept that as well.

10 check ins = 1 drink.

Don’t ask me how many times I’ve checked in..

Do you have a self-diagnosed milk tea addiction? Is it a good idea to consume so much milk tea? Someone do the research. Release the documentary and call it “Boba-fy Me.”

311 N Capitol Ave
Ste C
San Jose, CA 95133

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