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Home / black tea

Chew(ing Boba) with Chu

I hope you’re staying safe, keeping those masks on, and keeping cool this summer! As an excessive consumer of tea, I’ve been spending a lot of my gradually increasing forays into the wild, still somewhat pandemic-ridden world going to get tea—both with friends and without. Apologies for neglecting to take photos of tea at each location…I keep forgetting to take a photo when the tea is full because I’m too busy trying to just eat my boba…

Here is an overview of the places I’ve visited (thus far) this summer, with a couple of tea recommendations here and there. All ratings are out of a possible five stars:

7 Tea | Pasadena

This might be a slightly odd focus, but they have really nice cups to hold their incredible tea in. The flavors burst in your mouth, whether you’re grabbing a refreshing fruit tea, a luxurious taro milk, or a rich brown sugar boba tea (fairly sweet). They have a slightly small interior, with a few tables both inside and outside, but it’s a cute lovely place that you might easily miss from its unassuming exterior.

It’s located right across from Target, Vroman’s, and the Laemmle, so you can grab a delicious tea after buying a book, for instance—my idea of a perfect afternoon! 

Rating: 5 stars

Tea recommendation: Taro milk

746 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101


The Alley | Pasadena & San Gabriel

“Iconic in Beverage Aesthetic,” indeed! | Photo by Brianna Chu / Hey SoCal

We went to the San Gabriel location, which as far as I can tell from Google is the larger of the two, as well. There is additional underground parking, so don’t worry if the lot seems full. The location is utterly charming, though small—a large fake tree with a table underneath it faces the front of the store, and the side wall features a large mural of The Alley’s signature stag. The teas that we tried were absolutely incredible—deeply fragrant and flavorful. Their specialty is creme brulee boba milk, decadent yet still drinkable, and also gorgeous to look at. They really mean it when they say “Iconic in Beverage Aesthetic.” 

Rating: 5 stars

Tea recommendation: Ube Taro Brown Sugar Deerioca

20 E Colorado Blvd #103/104
Pasadena, CA 91105


Prospect Plaza
301 W Valley Blvd #102
San Gabriel, CA 91776


Meet Fresh | Arcadia & Temple City

This Taiwanese chain serves snacks and desserts alongside a wide variety of teas. They’re a solid go-to for tea of any variety, and there are definitely more locations than just these two. The last time we went, we got ube milk teas, but they had run out of ube paste, so they used ube powder; and while it was still delicious, I do love my ube so I’m guessing I would have loved it even more had they had ube paste in stock. However, they also do a great classic boba milk tea! Honestly, no matter what you get on the menu, you’ll likely be satisfied.

Rating: 4 stars

400 S Baldwin Ave Suite 2275 
Arcadia, CA 91007


Camellia Square
9055 E Las Tunas Dr #100
Temple City, CA 91780

Meet Tea | Temple City

The last time I went to Meet Tea was pre-pandemic, but at that time, they served basically tankard-sized cups of tea. This place gets an honorable mention just for the size of the tea portions alone (I hope they’re still the same size)! However, they also serve food, so it can be a nice place to duck in for some quick bites as well as a nice, large, refreshing mug of tea. Cute little interior with fairly comfy booths.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Rec: Taro milk tea tankard

5817 Rosemead Blvd 
Temple City, CA 91780


Sharetea | Monrovia

A solid tea place that is also Taiwanese; we stopped in for some tea after lunch, and the interior has great murals on both walls of film and TV through the decades. We got classic boba milk teas, and they were fairly good, but not necessarily stand-out amazing. I would still visit if I had a hankering for some tea, though.

Rating: 3 stars

506 S Myrtle Ave
Monrovia, CA 91016


Simplee Boba | South Pasadena

Teas and a quickly melting ice cream waffle! | Photo by Brianna Chu / Hey SoCal

This boba spot also serves excellent waffles—fluffy and bouncy, not chewy or tough, even at the bottom where the ice cream was turning the waffle cold. The waffle itself wasn’t too sweet, so that balanced out the ice cream and the chocolate chips we asked for it to be made with. It has a simple interior, with an adjacent space to sit down in if you’d like. I got a tiger sugar boba tea, which was great and not overly sweet, and my husband tried their house milk tea, which was decent. I’d probably try their Thai tea next time.

Rating: 3.75 stars

Tea recommendation: Tiger sugar boba tea, and definitely try a waffle!

954 Mission Street
South Pasadena, CA 91030


Sunright Tea Studio | San Gabriel 

Sunright’s at-home tea kit. | Photo by Brianna Chu / Hey SoCal

This is their newest location of several in the LA area. Sunright features a great selection, from fruit teas, black teas, green teas, milks, with a wide variety of toppings. They also have really nice cups, though I wish they were slightly larger (to hold more tea, obviously). Their make at home tea kits are great, too—fairly decent tea, even for a powder, though the directions produce a tea that is slightly too much water for my taste, and the boba is DELICIOUS. 

Warning: difficult parking lot. Consider parking on the street.

Rating: 4 stars

Tea recommendation: Mango green tea with lychee jelly

1245 S San Gabriel Blvd 
San Gabriel, CA 91776


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