The Boba Files: Sno-Crave Tea House (San Francisco, CA)

7:30:00 AM

The Boba Files #023: A South Bay Favorite Finds Its Way Into SF

I can still remember the first time I visited Sno-Crave. It was in Fremont. At an average Asian plaza. Surrounded by other Chinese restaurants. The restaurants in the neighborhood seem normal enough and then as you drive through the parking lot looking for a spot, you see the crowd of 20+ people anxiously waiting outside the newest boba shop in the neighborhood.

After all, you can’t call it Bay Area without the lines. And while the average Joe can list out the hottest tech companies in the area when broached the topic of Silicon Valley, it’s also the boba mecca of Northern California. Ask any teenager walking down the street and they can name you at least 5 and probably provide you with a in-depth rundown of their favorite.

And if they’re a South Bay native, you can be sure Sno-Crave is on that list. Started off mainly in Fremont and spreading over to cities like Milpitas and San Jose, Sno-Crave is well-known for its shaved snow, decadent toast towers and milk tea served in mason jars and ornate tea pots.

They specialize in the Taiwanese shaved ice. Unlike the shaved ice or snow cones I’ve grown up-- you know the little crunchy ice pebbles that are molded into a mound and then liberally soaked with your choice of a fruity syrup-- Taiwanese shaved ice has a texture more similar to ice cream. They start with a block of already flavored ice and the machine shaves off layers until you have a whole plate of ribbons or ice lasagna or for my nerdy friends out there-- mitochondria.

That said, I visited the newest branch that has opened up about 6 months ago in San Francisco. Located right across the street from San Francisco City College and Whole Foods, they sit in a prime location that attracts a lot of attention from the student population as well as from the residential neighborhood.

So. Adorable. 

When you enter, the Tea House is charming with an industrial style paired with a decorated chalkboard wall spanning the entire right side, bare gray walls, and light wooden furnishings.

They have two chalk boards right behind their cash register listing the most popular items as well as the newly added drinks on the menu.

One of the servers love the Thai milk tea and the coffee milk tea.

Not SF unless they're serving ORGANIC milk

Off the menu, we ordered the Green Lava, Blue Milky Wave Milk Tea with boba, Matcha Strawberry Latte with boba and a Honey Dew Milk Tea with rainbow jelly and boba.

It’s been a while since I’ve tried their toast selection and I’m happy to report that it’s still fingerlicking delicious.
A cascading waterfall of green tea goodness. 

The blue milky wave milk tea has a butterfly pea tea base and flavored with vanilla to give it more of a milk tea taste. When mixed together, it makes this strangely pleasant robin blue shade. Taste wise, it was mild, much milder than I expected. But I didn’t have any previous exposure to butterfly pea tea to compare the taste to. It paired well with the green lava toast and I did ask for 50% sweetness to cut down on the sugar.

I did speak briefly with the owner and they’re looking to change the menu in the near future by adding some savory items as well as more desserts. Whether or not they decide to go the hot pot route like the one of the old locations on De Anza in San Jose, we will have to wait and see.

This weekend, I’m thinking of checking out the special Nagoya event happening Mitsuwa. Chicken wings! Shaved iced! Shrimp bowl! It has my name written all over it. I can’t believe I’m actually salivating thinking about it. NOT THE KEYBOARD, AMY! Follow me on Instagram and Snapchat @ifyouseekemilie to see whether I make it to the event! What are you doing this weekend?

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  1. These guys are absolutely amazing, and you'd be crazy to party anywhere else in the city. I would highly recommend this place to anyone. It's elegant, affordable, and delicious. You really get bang for your buck at venues in San Francisco! And the service is top-notch.