Long Beach is known for many things such as art, museums and the Queen Mary, but what about its tea?
Tea houses are a popular place for college students and Long Beach offers a variety around the city. I visited all the hottest spots in the city, and here’s how they stacked up.
Cha For Tea, Hiccups and Zero Express are the most college-student friendly of the options, located close to campus with late operating hours every day.
Just across from Cal State Long Beach on Seventh Street and Bellflower Boulevard, Cha For Tea especially welcomes college students by passing out coupons at Week of Welcome and giving free samples at booths on campus. If students love anything, it’s free stuff.
Even at the storefront, prices are within a college kid budget. The average prices for all the tea houses in Long Beach are about $3 to $6 depending on add-ons such as boba, fruit, larger sizes and so on.
It is open everyday from 11 a.m. – 12 a.m. The owners recently remodeled the store, but, like most tea houses, it is small and almost always full of people. For Kyle Ku, a junior computer science major, all the Long Beach tea houses are “a little pricey.” Ku grew up in the Anaheim area and says that tea houses there are usually better quality and less expensive. Ku says his favorite in Long Beach would be Zero Express.
Tucked away in a little corner on Atherton Street and Palo Verde Avenue, Zero Express is close to campus, so many students can visit easily. The only problems are the small parking lot that does not make it easily accessible. It closes at 10 p.m. every day, a little earlier than Cha For tea and Hiccups. The interior design is simple, clean and invites conversation for when people do visit.
The next most frequented place would be Hiccups, located close to the traffic circle right off Lakewood Boulevard. The words that come to mind for Hiccups are small and lively. There’s always people, there’s always music playing and there’s always a long line. Its hours are the same as Cha For Tea’s and is very similar in terms of menu items, though the amount of offerings dwarfs Cha’s.
The rest of the tea houses are spread throughout Long Beach and are more accessible to the students that live nearby them.
Hoja’s Tea House, Roasting Water and Honeybee’s are for the early risers, as the three open between 6 and 8 in the morning.
Roasting Water is located in the Long Beach Towne Center. It closes at 10 or 11 p.m. depending on the night of the week. A smaller spot than some of the others in the city, you may want to take your drink from the cafe to go than try to find a seat. Roasting Water offers a reusable drink bottle with every drink purchase and changes up the bottles all the time so you never know what you’re going to get. For this reason and the cool decor, it is definitely worth the trip to the Towne Center.
Another place to get some tea and boba is Snow Monster on Second Street. Snow Monster is known more as a dessert place, but offers some good tea selections to try out. This is a bigger place compared to the others and sitting and hanging out there is encouraged. If ever you have a craving for ice cream and boba, this is the place to go – macaron ice cream sandwiches and glass jars filled with milk tea are a match made in heaven.
Hoja’s Tea House is near the Long Beach City College Liberal Arts campus on Carson Street. This one is different than all the rest in that it is not a boba tea house. They offer pastries, food, coffees and a variety of tea mixtures. The small, homey atmosphere makes it a great place for studying with a nice cup of tea.
Boba Tea House is the other small tea house that is really just meant for on-the-go orders. Its variety of teas, even with boba, were the most inexpensive of the group. A regular Jasmine Green Tea with boba is exactly $3. It is definitely worth the trip to the outskirts of downtown Long Beach on Willow Street or is a good place to stop for boba when in the area, since it is the only boba-specific place there.
Honeybee’s, located on Loma Avenue and Third Street, is the closest to the beach. Honeybee’s offers a huge menu with a variety of different teas, smoothies, food, alcohol and more. It is an interesting mix of cafe and a liquor store. Though hanging out in a liquor store may sound unappealing, there is a seating area offered that could be a nice place to hang out for a bit.
Whether you want to walk to a tea house like Cha For Tea or Zero Express from school or drive someone when you are out and about, know that there are options out there. Don’t forget Long Beach has a lot of good tea choices to offer too, if you give it a chance.