Go to any college campus where there's a sizeable Asian-American population and you'll find at least half a dozen places specializing in pearl milk tea — sweet milk tea served with chewy black tapioca balls (or "boba"). Many of these bubble tea cafes are fast-food operations, where the teas are powdered and the boba is heated in a microwave — the Asian equivalent of an ICEE shop or a Dairy Queen. Asha Teahouse is the exception. Order almost any drink off the menu — the Hong Kong Milk Tea or any of the seasonal fruit teas, made with fruit that's puréed in-house — and you'll taste the difference. Here, the teas are brewed with loose leaves, the boba is cooked fresh at least twice a day, and each drink is mixed and shaken by hand, not by a machine. Factor in the sleek, modern decor and the well-curated selection of snacks, and you've got yourself a boba shop that's a cut above the rest.
© 2018 East Bay Express