It’s another Tuesday and it was another day out with my friend. In all honesty, we went to the same place last Tuesday, before our stop at Jungle Cafe, but I had forgotten to take out my camera for this so I decided it was time to do so this Tuesday.
Welcome to Tea Bar and Organics.
This cute little place is done in a tasteful way with wooden furniture that’s based off of traditional tea houses. There are wooden shelves full of various organic teas and snacks, some of which act as dividers between the “lobby” from when you first walk in and from the tables. There are several outlets but, sadly, by the time my friend and I got there, all the outlets by the tables were occupied so we sat at the counter overlooking the parking lot; a nifty area to people watch. Most of the occupants go there to study but some, like my friend and I, use it as a place to catch up and fill out a lengthy job application.
That should already tell you that the atmosphere tends to be quiet, with Asian music playing in the background (I say Asian music because the songs switched around from Mandarin, Cantonese, and Korean while we were there).
What I like about the place is the sheer amount of beverages that they offer from milk teas to a large variation of regular teas to smoothies in all sorts of flavors. However, I would like to add (and warn) that some of their interesting sounding drinks (or even milk teas) can get to the point where I’m tempted to ask for a glass of water to go with, so be sure to ask to decrease the amount of sugar or just take it out completely. Here is also where I say that even then, they might not even honor your request – or perhaps it just ‘slipped their minds’. Even so, if you know what to get, it’s pretty good. Either that or you could be like my friend who seems to be eternally cursed with getting a drink he despises every time he visits. He always orders something thinking it sounds good, but it never agrees with his taste buds, though his last order of Whole Fruit Tea was somewhat decent – his complaint was that it wasn’t sweet enough…
Last Tuesday, I ordered their Rose Milk Tea which came in a mug similar to the one my friend’s holding. It was cold – I like my drinks cold, but you can order it hot as well – and I loved that ‘rose’ flavoring to it, but it was also on the sweeter side. Once the ice melted, it tasted just right… or it could be that I got used to it. This time, I ordered the Peach Black Tea. This one was sweet, but definitely not as sweet as the Rose Milk Tea and there were undertones of Peach to it. Although the place is a tea bar with a multitude of drinks, my favorite item to get there is this:
It’s Red Bean Rice Ball Soup, or 红豆湯圓 in Chinese. Now, if you’re wondering what’s so special about this, the ‘broth’ is tea based. YES – this is a dessert soup with red beans floating about the bottom (hence the title), but there are definite undertones of tea in it. In most traditional versions of this Chinese dessert, they usually just use water lightly sweetened with sugar rocks but this one’s got tea in it. Now, in addition to that, there’s a surprise, which is related to the weird floating bits of grey stuff floating in the ‘soup’–
This version’s glutinous rice balls are filled with a sweet black sesame paste. This makes up the metaphorical cherry on top and is what I come back for. They also sell Red Bean Taro Ball Soup, but I haven’t ordered it yet, even though I love taro. I imagine it will happen soon enough.
In addition to these, they also sell entrees and meal sets (i.e. various noodle dishes) along with Taiwanese/Asian snack foods (i.e. fries, toast sandwiches, tea eggs, takoyaki).
One thing I never got, however, is why there’s a beautifully carved table with chairs and a tea set by the “lobby” that has a handwritten “do not sit here” sign on it. I personally find it a waste and a veritable challenge.