I stumbled across Tea Time, a new Rochester gem, last weekend and am so excited to feature this cute-as-a-button bubble tea shop on today’s Rochester Raves. Serving bubble tea, smoothies and shaved ice at a prime time location- downtown, directly across from the Gonda building, next to Starbucks as part the Kahler Hotel lobby- it’s drinks are fabulously refreshing and irresistible; crave-worthy even.
It’s a small space, but the few times that I’ve been there, it appears most grab and go, so it never feels crowded. With a little window bar and stool area that peaks out on 2nd St. SW, it’s not only great people watching, it’s a perfect place to catch up on your morning news or ease into the work day replying to emails. With bright lemon walls, hardwood floors and ruby red, shiny tiles lining the order kiosk, it exudes a cheery, friendliness that doesn’t stop at the decor. The smiley staff is beyond kind, helping anyone unfamiliar with words like bubble tea and tapioca beads pick out a drink they’ll love.
There menu can be a little intimidating for the bubble tea novice as it doesn’t have much for descriptions. It may be tempting to fall back on the more familiar, trustworthy smoothie, but I would highly recommend busting out of that comfort zone. Here’s what you need to know:
Bubble Tea (Milk Tea with Bubbles): A base of black tea with cream, sugar and your choice of flavor (the honeydew is my favorite) with tapioca beads (bubbles) that sink to the bottom of your cup. The milk tea is just the right amount of sweet with a hint of refreshing honeydew flavor. The tapioca beads don’t add to the flavor of the drink, instead the flavor of the tea infuses the tapioca bead. They’re best described as a bursting gummy with each sip (a mini gusher if you will?).
Flavored Tea: Tea without the milk or tapioca beads
Shaved Ice: I have yet to try this, but it looks divine. A Thai take on ice cream. Finely shaved ice (the good, fluffy stuff- not the crushed ice you got from the swimming pool) topped with your choice of toppings- Tea Time recommended sweetened condensed milk and the red beans.
The best part? All teas can be made per your preference with additional add ins, flavor combos, served hot or cold. Next time, I’m adding in some pudding and red beans and trying the taro bubble tea.