The Boba Files: Sharetea (San Mateo, CA)

8:00:00 AM

File #009: Boba Break After Room Escape (Zombie Edition)

After spending the day in the City trapped in a room with a zombie and a handful of strangers (we escaped, btw!), PC— her initials, not a computer—and I headed to San Mateo for dinner at Usagi (that post is in the works, as well). And since we were in the area, it only made sense that we made the trek over to Sharetea.

As you already know, the Bay Area is a mecca for boba, so while I’m no longer surprised by the appearance of new stores popping up every other week, I feel like we have to separate the “seasoned veterans” from the “rookies.” And word of mouth told me that Sharetea are the cream of the crop.

We headed over around 8 PM and had no problem finding the place. Sharetea was located in Downtown San Mateo surrounded with many restaurants and specialty stores. Inside, it was brightly lit with many pop art portraits of milk tea. The store was vivid and loud and I liked how they incorporated the color scheme of black and red from their logo onto their drink lids.

Green Tea Creama (left) & Okinawa Milk Tea (right)
The seating area was separated into two areas-- one facing the entrance and a smaller section towards the cashier. I spent a good minute or two just scanning the menu because I wanted to see all the variety, but I already had in mind what I wanted. The line when we entered was fairly short, but that’s only because it was still early. While we sat there, over the course of the hour, the line gradually got longer and longer.

Case in point: Popular boba places are the busiest right before they close. It makes me wonder why there aren’t more places in the Bay Area that caters to the late night crowds that are family friendly. You can’t exactly take your 10 year old to a sports bar when you have the late night munchies.

Since the consensus seems to be raving about the creama, it was a no brainer when it came to my first choice. I ordered the Green Tea Creama and if memory serves me right, I believe PC got the Okinawa Milk Tea with herbal jelly.

Perhaps I had too high of an expectation. And that set me up for disappointment.

I was disappointed.

Extremely disappointed.

I expected the perfect balance of strong tea to rich cream that was lightly salted like in 85 degrees or the thick velvety goodness from Gongcha. Or hell, even the unproportional ratio of tea to cream at Black Pearl.

What did I get? A huge dollop of salty disappointment. Or maybe those are my tears...

I’m pretty sure (now looking back) that it was a bad batch of creama. The cream reminded me vaguely of cough medicine and it was grainy in texture-- with a strong aftertaste. Basically, it tasted bad.

Now before the Sharetea purists come after me, this was a fluke on their part. I have tried their salted creama again (this time at the San Jose location) and it tasted much better. Though 85 Degrees still takes the crown in this category.

On the plus side, the workers offered to remake the drink for me when I informed them of the situation. I politely declined getting the creama again and just asked for an iced green tea, which they brewed quite strong.

I settled for the green tea. 
For some parts of our stay there, they were playing Running Man on the television panels mounted on either side near the registers. For those unfamiliar with the show, it’s a Korean variety show where an eclectic bunch of Korean celebrities + guests have to accomplish a series of missions to reach the goal. The goal changes with every episode and there are often themes (superheroes, the wild west, aliens, etc.) and a lot less running now (in comparison to the earlier episodes).

As a whole, I enjoy Sharetea. I may not have the best first impression of the Taiwanese boba-chain, but it was good enough to give it a second chance. And I had a much better drinking experience the second time. I’m hesitant to comment on the overall experience though because of the wait times, but that’s a future post. I’m doing my best not to give my opinion of the Sharetea that recently opened up in my neighborhood because I’m waiting for the hype of being “new” to die down.

How does the Sharetea Crema stack up in your ranking? Or do you prefer a different drink all together? The Hokkaido and Okinawa drinks are pretty good if you like sweet drinks. Anyone who’s not from the Bay Area experiencing a boba invasion? I don’t think I’m over exaggerating by calling it that.

60 E 3rd Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401

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