mmmshado

Archive for the ‘Bubble Tea’ Category

Boston Tea Stop: Cambridge, MA

Posted by mmmshado on August 7, 2006

Time at Boston Tea Stop

First off, I have to laugh at myself for unknowingly writing the wrong date in the Moleskine. It happens when you feel disconnected from the world- which is what a yarn sale will do to you. Suddenly your brain fills up with all the projects you can now do that time seems rather inconsequential. Or that’s just fluff talk for me being too proud to ask…

The true date of this was on Saturday August 5th when I took an afternoon trip to Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA for some Boston Tea Stop bubble tea. Though I’ve been here before on several occasions, I’m always first taken by how well everything was planned out here. Think green! From the signs outside the shop, to the tables when you go in, and to the bubble tea finding its home in your hand, you’re surrounded with one terrific sense of branding and a sophisticated playfulness that Boston Tea Stop tries to give off.

The fun starts with all the choices in front of you when it’s time to order. Milk Tea, Slush, Snow, and Smoothies and also dumplings and Mochi. Though be forewarned, they’re almost always out of the Green Tea Mochi since I hear it’s THAT good. At this point I was feeling like a purist and wanted just straight up bubble tea- no twists. As you can see written in my journal, I went with a Pineapple Vanilla.

And that’s significant. Out of all the places I’ve been for bubble tea, I’ve never once had the opportunity to mix and match my own flavors. I’m sure the possibility is there at other establishments but to make a drink that’s completely personal to you fits into that realm of sophisticated playfulness that Boston Tea Stop conveys. To make it more difficult in the best way, they offer 22 tempting flavors in Infusion Milk Tea from Lemon to Lychee and Rose Flower to Chocolate.  

If that’s not exactly enough for you to decide in 5 minutes or less, feel free to choose between Lychee and Mango jelly or stick with some tasty Boba.

Finally, you’ve made your decision. Congratulations!

As mentioned before, the cups play an important role in Bubble Tea consumption and Boston Tea Stop shines here. A clever, polished, and balanced logo tops the seal of the cup and leaves the rest of the cup blank so that people walking by can admire the contents of your tea. What’s great about Boston and bubble tea is that it’s still not as popular as it could be so you will get looks from people wondering exactly what you’re drinking. So with your stunning cup, take your straw (again more choices!) and head outside.

Why?

There might be tables but don’t be deceived, Boston Tea Stop is not a place to sit and talk. The noise factor will irritate and actually detract from your bubble tea experience. The several times I have sat in Boston Tea Stop during the weekends have been brutal on my ear drums and concentration. However, those who don’t need a quiet ambiance to enjoy their tea will feel at home especially if they can secure a spot by the window to do some of the best people watching in the city.

Finally, a discussion on taste. Though the choices are plentiful, the quality isn’t as spectacular as it could be. I’m concerned that the taste is too sugary and too artificial for the modern urban dwelling Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s shopping taste buds. I see a split in the Bubble Tea community coming in the next few months or years where there’s a division between less choices and higher quality or more choices that sacrifice quality. But in fairness, the sugar rush you get from Boston Tea Stop aligns perfectly with the nature of bubble tea and its roots. It’s supposed to be fun, it’s supposed to be sugary, it’s supposed to be crazy. I think it’s all a matter of choice.

Boston Tea Spot. A destination for sophisticated playfulness, mind boggling choices, a sugar rush to boot, but not for those seeking a place to relax by any means.

Store Information:

HARVARD SQUARE
54 JFK STREET
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 945-0017

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Infusions Tea Spa: Allston, MA

Posted by mmmshado on August 1, 2006

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My Sunday Still Life: some Bubble Tea and Stitch ‘N Bitch of course.

When I’m not admiring Bamboo sock yarn or discussing Project Runway at my favorite LYS: Woolcott and Company, I’m usually tasting as many varieties of Bubble Tea that you can find in the Boston area.

On this particular journey, I stayed in my own neighborhood of Allston, MA for some Infusions Tea Spa. Honestly when you go in, it’s a place you can imagine sitting for hours catching up on reading your Proust or Anais Nin- or with the free Wi-Fi access, browsing Knitty.com. Dare I say it but I might even try to KIP there one day. Why not?

If you get a seat near the windows you can be inspired by the cast of characters that are sure to walk by at any given time but surprisingly Sunday brings out a more tame crowd. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of hipsters in sight but it was made up for by the little slice of life that the view gives you. Trust me, Allston has some charm to it.

Now to the tea. Basically, if I get the right impression, you do have a selection of Milk teas (which are commonly served with the tapioca pearls) but also some green teas and then some smoothies. On special they actually had some Thai Tea which is a red tea with milk- by far a stand out at any given Bubble Tea establishment. However, the other selections seemed a little bit limited but the authenticity and the friendly service makes up for it. In future visits, I’m imagining the quality of the small selection is outstanding and hope to prove that soon.

What’s my most severe criticism of Infusions Tea Spa? The cups! Strange yes, but part of the personality of Bubble Tea is the cups. Granted as a small business operating in an expensive city, one should choose to save money where possible but the cups are so essential. Sadly the cups seem to derive from their supplier in Taiwan and don’t express the personality of Infusions Tea Spa, an important part of branding- if not the most important part of Bubble Tea culture. In the future I would hope that they would get some custom designed cups with their logo (which is beautiful- they have a great color scheme and clean fresh look) and let the cup be as fashionable as the beverage inside.

Bubble Tea is fun- that’s why I drink it. Coffee can be too serious. Iced Tea in itself lacks some personality. But Bubble Tea, it stands out. The container matters too. In fact, modern times and advertising have brought packaging design to the forefront of graphic design as exhibited by the last Communication Arts Design Annual. They made special note of the attention that is being paid to packaging design as a vital step in the marketing process and as a corporate identity.

But the good. What stands out more than anything? Their tapioca pearls are worth the wait every time with the perfect amount of sweetness. When you’re chewing these things, you want there to be a personality of some sort too and Infusions Tea Spa succeeds there. Ok well not everyone wants personality in their tapioca I know but the taste matters and these taste great.

So, Infusions Tea Spa in Allston, MA. Relaxing atmosphere, friendly service, lacking in some personality with their cups, but ultimately a high quality Bubble Tea destination.

Here’s their information:

Infusions Tea Spa110 Brighton Ave.,Allston. 617-254-1122.

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