Sharetea’s care toward specificity makes it universally enjoyable

Jasmine Yamanaka/HIGHLANDER
Drinks 8.5/10
Price $3 – $5
Ambience 8/10

 

I first visited Sharetea with a few friends. Each one of us have different tastes and thus ordered drinks from separate categories: one of them got the Coffee Creama, another got the Mango Ice Blended with Ice Cream and I got the Taro Pearl Milk Tea. Although we all ordered something distinct to our preferences, we were so satisfied with our own drinks that we ended up trying each other’s with curiosity and high expectations. Although taro is one of my favorite drink flavors and I try to stay away from the strong caffeine of coffee, but I ended up liking my friend’s Coffee Creama more than my own drink! Symbolic of a virtuous friendship, although distinguished on an individual basis, each of the drinks was shared and cherished between us because they were worthy in quality.

With its inventive items such as creamas (six) and fresh milks (six) quantifying almost the same menu space as the typical boba store category, milk tea (13), it’s easy to get the impression that Sharetea has a large selection. In actuality, it has less drink options and categories than its big Riverside boba store competitors, Boba Tea House and Ding Tea.

For example, there are six drink categories at Sharetea whereas Boba Tea House and Ding Tea both have eight. Sharetea has 13 milk tea flavors while Boba Tea House has 28 and Ding Tea has 19: nevertheless, Sharetea redeems selection for selectiveness. Rather than having every flavor, it seems that Sharetea’s flavors only appear in forms they would taste excellent as.

The Taro-flavored products come in the form of a fresh milk, milk tea and an ice blended paired with pudding and does not appear as a creama. It is as though the menu creators had deep and deliberate thought into each individual menu item and, in a way, did the decision-making for the customer in what is deserving of being bought.

Going along with the concept of a “hand-crafted” menu, most of the fruit teas have add-ins that are pre-determined, proving each tea was carefully considered in terms of what combination would go best with the drink. For example, the Kiwi Fruit Tea with Aiyu Jelly is largely citrusy, but the bits of soft, mildly sweet aiyu jelly add a gentle balance to the sourness.

I really appreciate the tendency toward a light, gentle and creamy taste, such as with their fresh milks, creamas and multiple usage of naturally creamy items such as honey, taro, matcha and red bean across categories. Someone like myself who is more of a savory than sweet kind of person was delighted to see a menu with a majority of items that are less artificially sweet.

Their creamas are a type of cheese foam drink, which is a new drink trend that originated in Taiwan and hit the American mainstream around 2018. Cheese foam is a savory cream with the consistency and taste similar to milk foam but with a tangier, edgier flavor that sounds strange in a sweet drink but adds a sophisticated salty kick. Sharetea’s in particular was more subtle in cheese flavor and more velvety than the cheese foam drinks I have tried at Happy Lemon, one of the most famous global cheese foam drink stores. My favorite creama was the Coffee Creama, and while I tend to stray away from coffee, the delicate creamy cheese balanced the crisp, instantly-awakening coffee superbly.

At the same time, their sweeter drinks — the ice blended — are considerate combinations of flavors that depend less on sugar and more on the harmony of their ingredients. The strawberry ice blended drink is both fruity and creamy and the lychee jelly brings back the light, fruity playfulness of the strawberry. Some of the ice blended drinks come with pearl or pudding instead of ice cream, and I trust that Sharetea chose those add-ins deliberately as a means of compatibility.

With most drinks ranging from $3-5, their prices are slightly higher than Ding Tea and Boba Tea House, both with a price range of $2-4. If you know what you want and abide to a certain flavor, perhaps you could get the same level of satisfaction with a cheaper store like Ding Tea or Boba Tea House. But if you’d like to go for something a little more special with items that have been specifically blended and created, perhaps Sharetea could be a great experience.

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