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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Taste Me Tea: Chico’s new tea and coffee central

Taste Me Tea celebrated its soft opening on Wednesday, the shop’s hard opening will be Saturday.
An employee prepares drinks during Taste Me Tea’s soft opening.

Taste Me Tea, a tea and coffee shop on Notre Dame Boulevard, celebrated their soft opening on Wednesday. Multi-color congrats balloons floated near the door as small groups of people flowed in and out.

Green light reflects off the fake green leaves inside Taste Me Tea’s door. Taken by Ariana Powell on Aug. 23.

The white walls were adorned with green and white plastic vines and flowers, and fake succulents rested on hung shelves. Just inside the door, to the left, a lit green “Taste Me Tea” sign was nestled in fake green leaves and white roses, the perfect place for a photo-op.

At the front counter, customers can order using one of two tablets next to a green and brown boba plushie. Drinks can also be ordered ahead of time, rounding out a fully introverted-style ordering experience.

Occasionally, a small sample tray was set out. One such sample was the rose milk tea with rainbow jellies, one of the 13 available toppings:

  • Brown sugar boba
  • Crystal boba
  • Strawberry pop
  • Mango pop
  • Yogurt pop
  • Pudding
  • Grass jelly
  • Rainbow jelly
  • Lychee jelly
  • Coffee jelly
  • Cheese foam
  • Red bean
  • Sweet taro

The initial sip was just like strolling through Chico State’s rose garden, the pungent taste blossoms across the taste buds, followed by a steady, smooth sweetness. Most drinks have a 30% to 100% optional sweetness level. 

The rainbow jellies provided a fun surprise at the end and worked perfectly with the tea’s silky texture. However, as more sips are taken, the rose garden turns into a simple sidewalk, as the flavor is mitigated.

The rose milk tea, priced at $5.99, is one of Taste Me Tea’s 15 milk teas, priced from $5.99 to $6.75. Others include the red bean and panda milk teas.

The red bean milk tea, priced at $6.50, is just as it sounds, a liquified version of a red bean, and actually contains shriveled beans lurking at the bottom of the reusable cup. Whether sipped through a lip or sucked through a straw, the sweetness of the shop’s non-dairy cream does not erase the slight tanginess of the bean. However, the earthy quality perfectly matches the external atmosphere.

The panda milk tea, priced at $6.75, is not as adorable as it sounds, but the black and crystal boba patterns its namesake. The simple flavor does not exceed the ceylon black tea that bases most of their teas, but is very refreshing, and would be perfect on a hot day. Despite its simplicity, it makes you want more. The black boba is slightly harder and chewier than others I’ve tried, but the tea matches the traditional viscosity.

Three of Taste Me Tea’s drinks sit on a table during the shop’s soft opening. Taken by Ariana Powell on Aug. 23.

Taste Me Tea also offers six fresh teas, all priced at $5.25, and seven fruit teas, priced from $6 to $6.99, including their signature fruit tea, priced at $6.99.

Orange, lime and apple slices are soaked in the tea’s sunset composition. Citric acidity accentuates the barely-subtle peach flavor, creating a tropic cacophony. Patches of orange pulp and passionfruit spot the tea, providing the occasional sudden, unpleasant sliminess.

Taste Me Tea also has seven smoothies, priced from $6.99 to $7.25, including the avocado, taro and cocoa oreo smoothies.

The avocado cloud smoothie, priced at $7.25, could be better categorized as a slushie, due to the large amount of blended ice. It would be impractical as a take-and-go drink, as it would need to be stirred to amalgamate the one-inch ice layer at the top. Despite this design flaw, the authentic avocado butteriness primes the taste buds with a truly cloud-like texture. However, the avocados did not taste quite ripe.

The taro cloud smoothie, priced at $6.99, was also more of a slushie than a smoothie, but was a purple cloud with caramel, vanilla, coffee and chocolate notes; the tannins providing a velvety texture.

The cocoa Oreo smoothie, priced at $6.99, tastes just like a chocolate fudge bar in a cup garnished with bits of Oreo cookies. There’s not much else to say about it.

There are also four coffees, with prices ranging from $5.75 to $6.25, including the iced coffee with salted cream cheese and the black pearl brown sugar latte.

The iced coffee with salty cream cheese begins at the top with a smooth cream cheese foam, with a salty halo. The foam trickles down into the iced coffee in satiny trails that disappears toward the bottom of the cup. The even-tempered coffee is no different than a cup of coffee made at home, but the foam makes it profound, and was easily my favorite.

The black pearl brown sugar latte, priced at $6.25, was not quite as astonishing. It primarily tastes like whichever milk is chosen, whole or oat milk, almost like there is no coffee within it. This allows the brown sugar boba and drizzle, both at the bottom, to shine through, in the few sips they exist.

While customers wait for their drinks, they can sit at one of five tables lining the right wall, each with three chairs and games such as Jenga, Uno and Mancala, to assuage the wait time. Free Wi-Fi is also available.

Or you can take a seat at the white and black marble-topped bar overlooking the prep area. You can watch five or so employees in black and green Taste Me Tea polos bustle back-and-forth. There’s also a bar area toward the front of the shop overlooking Skyway and Arby’s. 

Calm but energizing music hummed just above the typical café mechanical noises, adding to the pure, clean and earthy white and green atmosphere.

Three TVs anchored above the prep area display some of the shop’s milk, fresh and fruit teas, smoothies and coffee.

The drinks’ prices, even with the soft openings’ discount did seem steep, but the flavor journeys are worth it. I can’t wait until I can stop by for another iced coffee or tea.

Taste Me Tea’s hard opening will be Saturday, and the first 30 people will get a free milk tea. The shop’s hours are as follows:

  • Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

It is located at 2485 Notre Dame Blvd., suite 390.

Ariana Powell [email protected] or [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Ariana Powell
Ariana Powell, Editor-in-Chief
Ariana Powell is in her fourth year at Chico State as a media arts (criticism) and journalism (news) double-major. Now in her fourth semester on The Orion and having assumed the editor-in-chief position, she is prepared to continue helping upcoming journalists and endeavors to continue building her repertoire of multimedia and writing skills. In her free time, she enjoys writing, watching and analyzing films, reading and spending time with her loved ones.

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