New boba tea store provides variety of tas‘tea’ drinks

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Henry Lee

Katsubo Tea has opened its second location in Orange County, Southern California –this time at Fullerton’s Amerige Heights Town Center near Sunny Hills.

Henry Lee

On each cup comes a printed face of a traditional samurai.

The word samurai comes from the Japanese verb saburau, which means “to serve,” thus Katsubo Tea’s slogan: “With every drink we brew, we SERVE and HONOR you.”

And the new boba house in Amerige Heights Town Center does indeed serve customers with their plethora of refreshing drinks, from signature fruit teas to brown sugar boba milk, offering the perfect escape from the summer heat.

Celebrating its second franchise opening on Oct. 29 — its first store opened on Aug. 17 in Mission Viejo, California, Katsubo Tea joins in on Amerige Heights’ drink store competition alongside Starbucks and Jamba Juice which had been a long time customer favorite.

Every time the store opens from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., customers, most of who are from Sunny Hills, order a multitude of drinks with their friends, and from the looks of its opening weeks of business, the tea house holds great potential.

At the relatively new beverage service establishment, authentic imported Japanese bamboo stakes hang from the rafters, and a 6.5 feet by 20 feet tall LED screen showcases the menu with pictures of each drink. The shop has two benches, along with a medium-sized samurai figure placed next to one of them.

This decor serves as a great way to attract young customers especially because the large screen and short animation it shows on the screen captivates the eye as a great visual. The extra decorations project the overall Japanese atmosphere one can see in movies.

Customers can order online through the website or go in person where a single kiosk takes all customer orders and payments. However, because many people can be in the shop at once, having only one kiosk in a small space may be a problem when it is crowded, so it would be convenient if Katsubo Tea places more than one kiosk.

The menu divides the drinks into seven categories — “Signature Beverages,” “Fruit Tea,” “Katsubo Brown Sugar Boba Milk,” “Cheese Tea,” “Milk Tea,” “Cafe” and “Traditional Tea.” The menu can be found on the screen and can be found through a QR code that customers can scan, making it accessible and easy to use. 

However, unlike the Katsubo Tea location in Mission Viejo, the Amerige Heights location does not include the Taiyaki Liege, the franchise’s only food item, in its menu. Although this may be due to the fact that this location is new, it does dishearten those who wanted to try their Taiyaki Liege which comes in two flavors: Banana Wafer Cream and Spiced Chocolate Mousse.

With prices ranging from $3.85 to $6, customers can choose from 66 flavors to fit their liking. Patrons should note that all of these drinks come in one size as well.

Most of these drinks are on the high end price compared to other boba shops, so the prices may be expensive to some, but the close location of the store makes up for the gas money needed to go to these other places.

Like other boba shops, toppings come in a wide array of options such as small boba, honey boba, mango bits, red bean and more. 

The $5 Thai crème drink is similar to the Thai tea drinks sold at other boba shops such as It’s Boba Time, but its signature house sweet crème brulee adds a thick flavor to it, making this a favorable drink in this menu.

Upon first sip, the $4.85 Watermelon Green Tea sets off a burst of rich green tea flavoring. The drink includes watermelon pieces, yet it possesses a strong herbal flavor, which may displease those with a picky palate.

A fusion of sweet milk and caramelized brown sugar, the $5.25 Katsubo Sugar tastes similar to the popular drink Tiger Sugar Milk but gives off a sweeter aftertaste compared to those of other boba shops, making this a recommended drink for those going here for the first time.

Customers can also customize their drinks by adjusting the ice or sugar levels, similar to other boba shops such as Ding Tea and Sharetea.

The only inconvenience — the store being too small to fit many customers during crowded rush hours — can easily be avoided by going at a time with less people which would be around 5 p.m. However, the overall atmosphere makes up for the lack of space because it definitely feels welcoming.

Only a 15-minute walk from Sunny Hills, students should check out this beverage shop after school and give the new place a try, as it will now be an alternative instead of mainstays there like Starbucks and Jamba Juice.