Arts & Life

Matt’s Munchies: Cha for Tea

It’s hard to find a teahouse that serves equally creative and tasty tea, especially when it’s common to find variations of the drink at nearly every corner in Long Beach. For any tea or boba enthusiasts, Cha for Tea is a must with its wide selection of refreshing drinks and attention to detail.

Cha for Tea is located in the Bixby Plaza at 5720 E. 7th Street right across the street from Cal State Long Beach. Being that close to a college campus means that those at the restaurant see a daily rush of people looking to scratch their boba itch.

“Our concept is that we want to be closer to the ‘hip’ crowds,” said Calvin Siy, manager of the Long Beach Cha for Tea. “That’s why we’re next to Cal State [Long Beach].”

Cha for Tea started its business in 2000 and two years later, the Long Beach location opened its doors. Its two other locations are in Irvine and Pomona. The Long Beach restaurant is a very modern establishment. There is a large mural reminiscent of the city of Long Beach with images of downtown, including a large ferris wheel similar to the one at the pike and a ship that is a clear reference to the Queen Mary downtown.

The local joint even sells packs of loose leaf tea for customers to enjoy at home. Drinks don’t need to be prepared at the restaurant itself, guests are welcome to take the tea leaves home and make their own beverages.

Hospitality is another focus for the workers at Cha for Tea. As guests order drinks or food, the employees make it an effort to know their guests. During my visit I was pointed out to two people who were regular customers and told the team encounters usual guests like this on a regular basis.

The employees at Cha for Tea show special attention to their guests and innovation in their menu. Creating new drinks is a long process that utilizes a research and development team. The process to craft and test new recipes takes months to figure out because consistency is the main goal for the drink preparers at Cha for Tea.

“This is why we don’t have hundreds of drinks like other boba places because,” Siy said. “We like to stick with what we know we can make good every time.”

New drinks need to be tested between the locations to ensure that consistency can be maintained. Ideally, a drink in Long Beach will taste the same as one from Irvine.

Consistency is shown at its best at Cha for Tea as I tried two of their more popular drinks: the mango green tea and their California green tea.

The mango green tea offers a blossom of flavor. The taste of green tea, jasmine and honey all blend together deliciously. This is a best seller and it’s easy to see why. It is a refreshing and tasty drink and a good recommendation for any first-time guest.

The California green tea,  which is a mix of orange, lime juice, green tea and honey, is another good option for a first-time patron. The flavor of the orange juice comes out in every sip. Both the mango green tea and the California green tea drinks are delicious and a hold a good amount of ice to cool the drink down.

Cha for Tea has been a favorite of mine since the first day I sampled their work. The quality of the tea and boba drinks make it a tasty addiction for fans of these drinks. The employees are friendly and willing to turn an ordinary order into a pleasant conversation. Give this local gem a try for yourself and this may turn into your next favorite too.

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