Or maybe a boba a day keeps Covid away? Although it’s been a year since the inaugural bubble tea taste-test article, we (Kayla, Kate, and Kalia) decided on a whim to review another round of drinks. This time, we went to fan-favorite iTea and shared our thoughts on seven classic and unique drinks. Don’t worry—we socially distanced and poured the drinks into our designated personal cups so there was no contamination. :)
Taiwan Jade Royal
Kayla: I would give it a 6/10. It tastes sort of like English breakfast tea (aftertaste wise) but a bit different; it needed a little more sugar than we got (so, more than 50%) to get rid of some of the bitterness. Otherwise, it’s good.
Kalia: English breakfast tea is black tea Kayla 👀. Anyways, I’d give it a 7/10 because the flavor is nice and light and not super sweet. Just a little boring because we didn’t add boba to it, and it’s also just plain green tea. If you’re ever ordering bubble tea for your grandparents and they’re like “You choose,” this is a solid option. (Don’t blame me if it goes wrong though.)
Kate: It was a littttttle bit more bitter than I expected (but that may just be because we got it with 50% sugar). I think Kalia’s scenario with grandparents is a really good way to describe it. I would say this is a very tea flavored tea? I liked it. 8/10.
Oolong Milk Tea
Kayla: It's a good milk tea, and it's reliably good at most places. If you haven’t tried oolong, you should, because a lot of the teas out there use oolong as a base, and a lot of them are really great (like the peach one hehe). 7/10.
Kalia: Gotta be honest, I never really order oolong, although fresh brewed roasted oolong and peach oolong smell reallyyy good. The milk tea was creamy and sweet with a nice, light aftertaste. 7/10.
Kate: I’m probably a bit biased because oolong milk tea (with soymilk and half sugar) is my go-to order. In my opinion it's more interesting than most boba places’ signature milk tea, and it's probably my favorite drink at iTea. Simple but not boring. 9/10.
Kayla: A good go-to for when you’re indecisive, and the boba itself at iTea is always good. I’ve enjoyed Thai tea ever since I was little and tried some at a Thai restaurant in LA. One thing: my parents recommend not to drink it right before you go to sleep because at Thai restaurants in particular, it has a lot of caffeine in it. I’m not as sure about regular boba places, but it tastes similar, so it’s is always nostalgic and great for me! :D 9/10. Side note: if you’ve ever seen Thai Tea being made, it looks super cool.
Kalia: It’s a little too sweet but has a very yummy flavor. It’s one of the classic milk teas (although technically it’s not Taiwanese but whatever) that I really like but honestly forget to order. Also it stains your tongue so that’s fun. 8/10. Story time: when I worked at Mr. Green Bubble, someone (not me because I never reached that level of expertise) may have accidentally loaded the Thai tea machine wrong and then Thai tea gushed out of the dispenser (like gallons worth) and we mayyybe couldn’t stop the entire thing from draining. It got into the ice cream freezer and spread across the floor and basically everything was sticky and orange and we just never mentioned it again. Fun times.
Kayla: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I would have wanted to see that!
Kate: Lol only because you’re a sadistic monster.
Kayla: Either that or I’m high on boba, which would be weird because I haven't had any since the taste testing because I stay at home all day on Zoom.
Kalia: Anywayyy, back to Kate for her thrilling review…
Kate: Tastes like Thai iced tea. 7/10.
Kate: They told me I had to write more than that ^^ but I feel like most people know by now what Thai iced tea tastes like. If you don’t, then you should probably just try it sometime. It's a good flavor to have in your vocabulary (and it tastes pretty much how it looks like it’s gonna taste).
White Peach Oolong
Kate: I give it 9/10 since it’s really sweet and floral and generally good; it has the same energy as an early morning walk in the spring and there’s like little pink flowers out and it's kinda cold and breezy and the sun is just coming up and reflecting off the dewdrops still clinging to the tall lively green grass.
Kayla: Peach stuff tastes great, and oolong is always a good milk tea: combine the two and you get something even better! Definitely my favorite tea of the bunch. 10/10.
Kalia: Floral and sweet and different from others! Better than the one at Mr. Green Bubble, but maybe that’s because I get no sugar. This one (and all the others I think) had 50% sugar. 9/10. (Side note: I got this with no sugar a few days later and it definitely tastes better with some sugar… but then again doesn’t everything.)
Kayla: You got some again without us?!?
Kalia: Probably every day you don’t go with me I’m getting boba without you.
Kayla: Then you should do DAILY tea reviews…
Kalia: Every day will be “Jasmine green milk tea with 0% sugar and lychee jelly is objectively good.”
Kayla: But Thai tea and Peach oolong and Rose milk tea are also objectively better…
Kate: Objectively is a strong word…
Jasmine Green Milk Tea
Kayla: Jasmine tea has a good flowery taste, and it also is a reliable tea at almost any location. 7.5/10.
Kate: Nice go-to, very good, little better than Thai. 7.5/10.
Kalia: I give this a 9/10 because this is my favorite and usual order. It’s a little basic but it’s sold everywhere and pairs well with many different toppings so I consider it a solid choice, unlike Kate and Kayla who apparently can’t even give it an extra 0.5.
Kayla: Better than Thai? Better than Thai? Excuse me???
Kate: It’s not that high of a bar to set… Thai’s kinda basic…
Kayla: *shakes head in disappointment*
Kayla: Weird smell and aftertaste. Its taste is indescribable, but on the other hand, it’s apparently good for colds. (I heard this from my mom; I would recommend using lemongrass tea instead.) 3/10.
Kalia: As soon as you take a sip, there’s a very interesting and hard to label flavor. Pretty sure everyone made a face when they drank it… I really don’t want to finish it, but I have to because I only have one cup to pour tea into. My mom said she loves chrysanthemum but idk how. Is it a mom thing? 2/10.
Kate: 4/10, it tastes foresty and vaguely smokey; I’m not really sure how to describe it. The best way I can think of is that it tastes like a forested hill in upstate New York in the fall, a couple days after a small rainstorm.
Kayla: I remember you describing it as… a certain bandit like animal.
Kate: And I remember being harshly judged for saying it, hence my decision to cut it from my description.
Kalia: “Racoon” being the creative term for those who are wondering. I guess that’s as equally accurate as Kate describing guava as “if Ariana Grande and passion fruit had a baby” last time.
Kate: What can I say? It’s the first thing that came to mind! If my forest imagery isn’t enough for you, then yeah, I guess it tastes like a RACCOON.
Kalia: There were some weird drinks last time but I thought all of these (minus the chrysanthemum) were enjoyable. While we went to iTea in Moraga, all of these drinks are pretty common (Thai, Oolong, and Jasmine in particular), so you can definitely order them at other bubble tea places too. Also, Kate did you take home the chrysanthemum and actually drink it??
Kate: I did yeah. Mostly out of spite. I then proceeded to change my ranking from a 6/10 to a 4/10. It just was not good.
Kayla: Why do people like chrysanthemum… Most of the others were really good though! We probably should have had more variation in toppings, although boba is always great. I think I’ll almost always prefer milk teas over other teas (unless it's warm tea) but most of them were still good. The peach oolong was by far my favorite, and will probably become another go to for me. I really enjoyed doing the boba tasting again (although people keep judging me as a novice in tea tasting *rolls eyes*). It was fun to watch Kate taste the chrysanthemum and immediately say “Racoon!” with no context.
Kalia: Okay, I think Kayla has leveled up. Kate liked the chrysanthemum so idk if that makes her a better boba connoisseur or worse…
Kate: I didn’t like it. I’m just stubborn. I promise. :)
Kalia: Lol kudos for putting yourself through that? I took home the drinks I could actually stomach.
Kate: I mean the drinks we tried this time were overall less weird than last time we did this, but I also think that they’re drinks people are more likely to order. I go to iTea an unhealthy amount, so this gave me some ideas for future variety. It was also just nice to see my fellow KLs—it had been way too long (thanks a lot corona). Very cool.