Cafe serves up refreshing, original tea

Addie Reine

Asian plants and fountains, incorporated into the chill aura of the contemporary mix, inspire a slightly more upscale version of a college coffee shop at The Tea Garden. The Tea Garden exclusively specializes in strictly tea and offers quite a variety from Chai lattes and shakes to Bubble Tea coolers. These options are offered at all five of their locations around the Twin Cities which include two Minneapolis locations, two St. Paul locations and one in the Mall of America.

The option of counter, table, or couch seating with free Wi-Fi gives both the local workers and socializers an excuse to experience this whether they enjoy the busy hustle of the large room, people watching at the bar counter, or the specialized local artwork displayed on the walls.

A slurp of chilly and ultimately sweet with the unexpected accompaniment of tapioca pearls is the epitome of The Tea Garden’s most unique beverage, Bubble Tea. This Asian twist on the original smoothie-cooler introduces the novel invention of chewing tea which can only be found at The Tea Garden. With the juicy and slightly icy texture of the drink, it is as though you are drinking a semi-melted popsicle on a humid summer day, a perfect getaway from the dreadful Minnesota winter.

First-time drinkers of The Tea Garden’s one-of-a-kind Bubble Tea draw back in questionable disgust as they examine the sketchy black gummies at the bottom of the cup. However, there need not be hesitation to indulge in a sip for these are only tapioca balls (brown because of their natural coloring) which enhance the beverage with a hint of sweetness.

Although the tapioca pearls are the original chewy substance associated with Bubble Tea, the menu offers eight other fruity “jellies” that you can pick from to enhance your beverage. The colorful jellies come in coffee, passion fruit, pineapple, mango, lychee, tri-color, green apple, and strawberry. There still remains the endless possibility of combinations when it comes to just the jellies since you can mix up to two of the jellies with the tapioca pearls all of which can be added to any of The Tea Garden’s beverage options.

However, if one still does not prefer the unique tapioca pearls of this Taiwanese drink, they may order a cooler without them and still enjoy the wonders of up to two of the 45 flavor choices. The menu includes foreign flavors such as lychee, matcha, and mung bean along with the more generic but still-delicious vanilla, coffee, and strawberry; but whatever your order, the chill college students behind the counter will assist you in your conquest to create the perfect drink.