The Boba Files: Asha Tea House (Berkeley, CA)

8:30:00 AM

The Boba Files #021: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas…

when all through the house
not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse

No wait--

I take that back. I’m most likely stirring my boba drink somewhere.

Christmas Eve or not, there is a milk tea shop opened somewhere in the Bay Area for people like me who get the boba withdrawals cravings.

This week’s edition of The Boba Files, we head back to Berkeley after the ridiculously good, but also crazy wait at Kiraku.

After dinner, our band of full-- but disgruntled slaves-to-the-parking-garage headed off to the highly esteemed Asha Tea House.

I’ve heard so much about this place that I had my hopes stacked up as high as Mount Olympus.

We arrived a little after 9 PM, despite knowing that they were going to close at 10. And in contrast to other milk tea shops, they close unusually early most days (8 PM).

From first impression, they win in the ambiance department. High ceilings, gray walls and interesting lighting had me feeling like I was in a local coffee shop rather than a place that sold boba.

A large chalkboard menu in the front. Tea canisters lining the back of the store for their Tea Bar. Counter seating near the front. Tables near the back. Awesome counter space in front with helpful baristas. Great place to study or for a casual first date.

So what’s the catch?

Disappointment at first taste.

I order the iced Matcha Latte with boba  because it was what they were famous for.. The matcha was vibrant and bright, contrasted beautifully against the milk and just looked beautiful overall.

Except for the taste.

Perhaps I expected more, but the matcha packed a punch in terms of boldness, frothy levels and bitterness, but it lacked depth. It was barely sweetened, but if you ordered boba, you get some sweetness coming off from the tapioca soaked previously in the sugar syrup.

Needless to say, the three of us were disappointed. It was such a jarring contrast between our expectations and reality that we spent a few minutes just staring at each other wondering if it was just us or it was really meant to taste this way.

Also, next time, I would leave out the boba. The boba that night were clumpy and hard and overall, no bueno.

It’s too early for me to write them off altogether, but next time, I’ll try something different. Perhaps their milk teas are different?

Or I should get acquainted with the simple syrup bottle.

Or they were just having an off night. The conquest for the perfect cup of milk tea wasn’t achieved at Asha Tea House, but it made for an interesting end to my adventure in Berkeley.

Happy Anniversary!
Lead me in the right direction. What do I order at Asha Tea House? Is this spot overrated or was it just an off night when I went?

2086 University Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704

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