If Quickly’s is the ubiquitous pop star that dishes out sugary drinks I like to call baby milk formula for adults, then Asha Tea House is the indie band that drums up authentic teas that leaves a rather large fan base (Anne, Bernice, and myself included) craving for more. Situated on the busy street of University Avenue, Asha Tea House serves rich flavorful tea sourced the mountainous ranges of Yunnan province in China, Japan’s powdered green tea powerhouse of Nishio, scenic tea plantations of Pinglin in Taiwan, and more.
Even though it was the third time I entered the sleek tea house, I had a little trouble deciding what to order from their large menu. Asha serves a variety of seasonal fruit teas such as Fuji apple black tea, a line of creamy milk teas you can customize with elements such as lavender flowers and bergamot citrus, or premium no-frills matcha, oolong, and black tea. I decided to forego matcha addict, or Bernice’s recommendation of the matcha latte and ordered an iced hojicha latte with boba.
I hopped onto a tall black metal stool at the large wooden table while waiting for my drink, listening to a heated breakout discussion by a group of creative writing students with their shiny MacBooks propped open, occasionally catching the sound of furious hand whisking of tea as the staff prepares their popular matcha drinks. Within minutes, my name is called and I hopped down to retrieve my drink.
If my tea wasn’t a beautiful creamy light brown, I would have mistaken I was drinking straight hojicha. The tea was smoky and deep, speaking richly of roasted flavors that were lightened by a slight hint of milk. The boba pearls were smaller than I expected, but still intensely chewy, sticky, and sweet. Prepare your jaws for a workout! However, what I liked best was the subtlety of sweetness in the drink, even when I didn’t ask for it to be less sweet.
I look forward to trying their other teas such as Hong Kong milk tea (apparently quite popular and deliciously rich), fruit teas, and sakura sencha. Complemented with one of their caramelized flaky Portuguese egg tarts that I spotted of course. Anne recommends the Iron Goddess Supreme, which you can prepare your own tea with a set of nice ceramic teaware served over a wooden tray. Definitely a cute personal touch for customers.
Bernice likes their Matcha Affogato served with three scoops of artisan vanilla ice cream from Three Twins in San Francisco. The warm matcha poured over the top of the ice cream creates a thin layer of matcha glaze, similar to the shell that forms when you drizzle molten chocolate over ice cream. She also recommends the matcha latte, which is delicious hot or cold. Their matcha latte is much tastier because of the richer power they use, versus other coffee shops that serve matcha latte that’s far too light and is not as tasteful. Whether you want a relaxing atmosphere to while away the afternoon or somewhere spacious to study, Asha is the perfect place to do it. With a delicious drink at hand no less.
Asha Tea House
2086 University Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704