Tea Barrel takes its name seriously. Along with a menu loaded with dozens of tea drinks—from fresh green and black teas to lattes and milk teas—the cafe seats guests at tables made of actual tea barrels. Guests can settle in on the benches at their quaint table for laid-back sipping on their preferred drink, whether it's kumquat green tea, strawberry milk tea, or refreshing watermelon or honey plum juice. Slushies and smoothies can also be created in a variety of fruity and other flavors, including mango strawberry, vanilla coffee, or thai tea.
Assisting everything from relaxation to energy boosts, Muse Tea House's tea gurus blend black, green, and oolong leaves with flavors that range from blueberry and passionfruit to lavender and rose. Chewy boba and aloe pearls nestle at the bottom of almond and taro milk teas, and royal sparkling sodas—started with San Pellegrino mineral water—tickle tongues with bubbly flavors of peach and pomegranate. For something more filling, patrons can opt for a fruity, syrup-free yogurt drink made with organic ingredients from France and Japan or toss back items from the kitchen, such as macarons, squid balls, and sliced barbecue pork on dry noodles.
Muse Tea House cultivates an intimate, hushed atmosphere with a row of low-set tables and cozy booths shaded by patterned gossamer curtains. Thick, burgundy drapes frame each sun-drenched front window, which cast natural light on a smooth, stone floor so that customers can draw perfect hopscotch courses in chalk.
Though the chewy boba pearls are the stars at Boba Day, they aren't the only culinary highlight. Staff serve not only bubble tea, but a variety of custom-made drinks including fresh-fruit smoothies, cups of single-origin coffee, and creamy Oreo shakes. The menu also includes Asian-inspired shaved ices made with green tea mochi, fresh fruit, green tea ice cream, or red beans.
Bathed in sunlight pouring in from floor-to-ceiling windows, Boba Link Tea House's colorful interior is home to a menu of blended bubble tea smoothies, flavored ice milk, and tea-house style dim sum snacks. Sip on lychee green tea while testing chopstick dexterity on bowls of the Shanghai onion noodles, taking advantage of Boba Link's free WiFi to research the businesses' relation to the Boba Fett family tree.
Lollicup sates thirsts with a variety of tea, juice, and fruit drinks. Milk drinks include coconut, coffee, and honey milk teas, alongside lavender lattes; fruit teas include peach, raspberry, or sour plum alongside slushes and smoothies. Customers can also enhance their drinks with fun add-ons such as boba, pudding, mango jelly, and aloe vera.
Devan and Reena Shah, and Tek Mehreteab are passionate about tea. By sourcing leaves from eight regions in India, China, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Japan, they are able to proffer more than 300 standard and specialty varieties online and inside Chado Tea Room. The name Chado, taken from the Chinese cha, meaning "tea," and the Japanese do, meaning "path," speaks to the owners’ strict standards for their product. Many of their green, black, white, and oolong teas are USDA-certified organic; the Shahs also stock unique varieties such as Chinese pu-er teas and hand-tied blooming tea balls. In addition, they brew special house blends for morning, afternoon, and evening, helping customers find the right blend to start the day or serve to bats that have invaded their home.
Staffers pair teas with an array of cream-topped scones, cookies, cakes, and roasted savory sandwiches during teatime at Chado's three tearooms. Though each location is decorated differently, the same three-tiered sandwich platters and steaming pots of tea travel between panda paintings hanging in the Los Angeles location, underneath strings of holiday lights at the Pasadena location, and between ceiling-high wooden shelves stocked with mugs, filters, teapots, and bags of loose-leaf tea at the Hollywood location.