The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

Dessert Detectives: Ume Tea

Reviewing popular menu items based on quality and taste

In our latest edition of the Dessert Detectives series — where El Estoque reporters evaluate popular menu items based on quality and taste — we maintained the alphabetical theme by visiting Ume Tea, a boba tea shop based in Cupertino with a diverse selection of drinks and snacks.

 

Ume Tea displays a stunning shelf in its shop, filled to the brim with cups, plushies and other accessories | Benjamin Zhang

 

Brown Sugar Boba and Mochi Black Milk Tea | Benjamin Zhang

Brown Sugar Boba & Mochi Black Milk Tea ($5.75)

As this drink is Ume Tea’s signature, we approached it with high expectations and it impressively met them. On first taste, its sweet milky scent immediately jumps out and presents a light aroma that fades away over time, slowly revealing the delicate flavor of the black tea. Despite the stereotypical description as a brown sugar boba, the drink surprisingly differentiates itself from the average Bay Area boba tea. While most boba teas are overwhelmed with an excessive amount of sugar, this drink is the exact opposite and its restrained sweetness lets the black milk tea shine through. Ume Tea further emphasizes its distinction by adding mochi toppings, which, although jarring, introduces a unique texture that pairs well with the smoothness of the rest of the drink. Although the drink’s portion is slightly undersized for its price tag, it is justified by the cat-ear-adorned packaging, making this drink a must-try for any boba lovers.

Rating: 8/10

 

Jasmine White and Green Milk Tea: Joyful Bamboo Special | Benjamin Zhang

Jasmine White and Green Milk Tea: Joyful Bamboo Special ($6.95)

To start, let’s address the elephant in the room — or, in this case, the panda. With the straw and drink container resembling a bamboo and a plushie panda clinging onto the straw, this becomes a charming item irresistible to any customer. However, the drink itself is a different story. Although the beverage has a pleasant and powerful jasmine scent, it leads to an aftertaste that is far too strong to be enjoyable. Ume Tea continues its trend of only using a slight hint of sweetness, but as the milk flavor is painfully nonexistent, it results in a concoction of blandness paired with even more blandness. With no toppings to accompany the flat drink, this beverage tastes like regular supermarket green tea. That said, the drink can taste refreshing when paired with other foods, as its subtle flavors allow its accompaniments to stand out. It isn’t the best thing Ume Tea offers, but when there’s a cute panda climbing onto the drink, the visual appeal overshadows many shortcomings in taste. 

Rating: 6/10

 

Lychee Peachy Green Tea Slush | Benjamin Zhang

Lychee Peachy Green Tea Slush (extra sugar) ($5.95)

At first glance, the green tea slush does not look as appealing as the other drinks Ume Tea offers. However, the real magic happens after tasting it. Maybe it had something to do with the extra sugar requested, but the lychee flavor amazingly stands out compared to other drinks. Combine that with subtle hints of peach and the result is a sweet but not overbearing blend. To top that off, the drink comes with a salted caramel cold foam, which brings a pleasant and much-needed contrast to rich fruit flavors. The only fault of the drink is that it is not quite a “slush.” The tiny amount of ice was concentrated at the top, making it no different than an average fruit tea. Overall, this beverage tastes amazing and is flawless for anybody who loves lychee or peach.

Rating: 9/10

 

Sesame balls | Benjamin Zhang

Sesame Ball ($6.45)

Sesame balls have long been an iconic Asian dessert. For something that is so easy to get wrong, Ume Tea nails it perfectly. With a crunchy outer shell, a soft crust to break through and a wonderfully chewy inner dough, the textures are incredible. The strong and warm sesame aroma announces to customers that these sesame balls are made right on the spot. Those who like a strong red bean filling in their sesame balls may be slightly disappointed at the light flavor of the filling of Ume Tea’s sesame balls, but these still taste perfect as is. 

Rating: 9.5/10

 

OVERALL: 8/10

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Although the drinks and snacks themselves are delicious, the real charm of Ume Tea lies in its aesthetics. Headlined by a beautiful interior design and creative packaging choices, Ume Tea elevates the simple act of eating dessert and makes the moment enjoyable and memorable for every single one of its customers. So, whilst sitting down in their retro-inspired shop, we realized that the Ume Tea experience is not all about its food, but rather — like their slogan says — “all about U & Me.”

About the Contributor
Benjamin Zhang, Staff Writer
Benjamin is currently a sophomore and a staff writer for El Estoque. In his free time, he likes to play soccer, listen to music, and watch mystery TV shows.
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