Supreme quali(tea)

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During the past few months, several boba shops have opened in the area, from the extremely popular OMOMO Tea Shoppe to the new Sharetea location that opened at UC Irvine’s University Town Center. Joining this list is HN Tea Organic Tea House, a business that opened in early November, known for their use of only organic, natural ingredients in their drinks.

Upon arriving at the store, I was greeted with the aromatic smell of tea leaves and the quiet chatter of customers as some made light conversation and sipped tea; others were deep into hours of studying, their drinks at their side. With deep mahogany wall accents, signs with images of tea ingredients, and the lettering of “Healthy Natural Tea” decorating the walls of the store, HN Tea exudes a “zen” atmosphere and is a great study spot for those looking to get some work done.

Accompanied by two other curious boba enthusiasts, I walked up to the counter to order and was met by helpful employees who gave us recommendations for the best drinks on the menu. We ordered the Mountain Rock Tea Latte (a variation of an oolong milk tea), which we paired with HN Tea’s brown boba, the Strawberry Jasmine Green Tea (a fruit tea with fresh strawberries), also with brown boba, and the Cheese Cap Jasmine Green Tea (which came with a slightly salty foam for a unique taste). We ordered each drink with regular sweetness and the regular amount of ice, which is already at a lower level in comparison to other places.

The tapioca-based brown boba complemented both the Tea Latte and Strawberry Tea well, being the perfect medium of chewy and firm. Enough boba was offered in the drinks to accompany every sip of the drink. In addition, both the Tea Latte and Strawberry Tea were not overpoweringly sweet—a common issue with other tea places—and this allowed the true flavor of the tea to be revealed: the Tea Latte was rich and buttery and the Strawberry Tea was crisp and refreshing, dashed with freshly cut strawberry bits for extra flavor. The Cheese Cap Jasmine Tea featured a soft, foamy top layer and a helpful capped lid that allowed the drinker to achieve the perfect angle when drinking the tea so that they could get a taste of equal parts foam and tea.

All three sampled teas were flavorful and made with quality ingredients; our only complaint was the high price, as each drink averaged around $5. In addition, there is only one size cup for each drink, and a limited range of toppings; honey boba, brown boba and aloe vera are the only three options. Nonetheless, HN Tea stands by its dedication to making natural, uniquely flavored teas and drinks that satiate any boba lover’s craving for boba with a quality taste. Final verdict: we would come back for more!