Friday, April 06, 2007

Tea Station - Alhambra

Speaking of tea, I recently checked out the new Tea Station location in Alhambra.

Tea Station is the cafe side of Ten Ren Tea, which because they use freshly brewed tea, offers a higher quality milk tea and other assorted boba drinks. You do get what you pay for though. So a drink here will run about $5 compared to $1.99 at Tapioca Express or Lollicup chains.

Tea Station also sells Ten Ren Teas for $3.50 to $5 for a 1-lb canister of quality whole leaf teas. My favorites are the rose tea, jasmine tea, gunpowder green tea, and monkey pick also known as ti kuan yin, a type of oolong.

Their Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken is a little starchy but had flavorful spices and bits of basil. I think Tapioca Express Inc. makes the best crispy chicken of all the boba cafe chains.

My cousin ordered a mango yogurt with boba for around $5.

I love the monkey pick iced tea. The Ten Ren brewed iced teas take longer than other drinks because they actually boil the water, steep the tea, add some sugar and shake it up and then ice it. A lot of the boba cafes use powdered tea mixes or have pre-made pitchers of tea on hand.
So this monkey pick tea is my favorite drink because it's so very refreshing. Tastes almost like a freshly pressed sugarcane drink.

The San Gabriel Ten Ren Tea lady told me they called it monkey pick because monkeys picked the tea. For under $5 a canister? I don't think so. My mom says it's because they look to see which teas monkeys "picked" or chose to eat, and would use those tea bushes. Hmm. I think I like my mommy's explanation better.

Anyway, my iced monkey pick tea was $4 something. I didn't want any boba this time, but Tea Station bobas have always been very soft and chewy.

Overall, while the teas were very good, if I'm paying that much for tea and want to linger a while, I prefer the San Gabriel location for overall atmosphere.

May 30, 2007 Update:

Just some pictures from recent visits so you have an idea of what else is available here.

Hibiscus tea $3.25.

Plum tea $3.25.

Green tea $3.25.

Butter toast $3. Very, very buttery.

Tea-flavored chicken egg rolls $4. Very light and crispy but I couldn't detect any "tea-flavor."

Who else ate at Tea Station?
Cousin Q ordered beef stew noodle soup.

Other tea shops:
ID Cha House - San Gabriel
Le Arbre Tea House - Rosemead
Tapioca Express Inc. - Alhambra

570-A W. Main St.
Alhambra, CA 91801
Sunday to Thursday 10:30 a.m. to midnight
Friday and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.


  1. wow... too expensive for my taste buds. i havent had boba in a long time and i get green tea from lollicup by my apt.


  2. Tea Station and Ten Ren is an expensive habit for some people I know. Although I'm a grown man, I seem to gravitate to the chalky, more-milk-than-anything else drinks favored by tweeners who still like Hello Kitty...most of all it's because I'm cheap! ;-)

  3. T,
    There was a Lollicup by your apt? I don't remember that.

    And Cha for Tea is pricey too. I'm more of a Tapioca Express gal myself. For that glass of iced tea, I could have bought a canister and made many glasses on my own.

  4. There used to be a craze for boba milk tea (also called bubble pearl tea) in Sg but it died. My old time favorite is green tea with pearl(boba)!

  5. Tigerfish,
    I remember when the craze started here in the 90s and it was such a big deal. Now it's just as common as going to Starbucks.

  6. Former TapEx worker here (in Davis, when I was in undergrad) and used to do "chicken prep" there -- but now my current fave for boba chicken is Cha for Tea, even though the portions are a bit skimpier (though that may not be a bad thing...)

  7. HC,
    Oooh, what inside recipes can you tell us? :)

    I find Cha for Tea a bit too cornstarchy for my taste.

  8. I wish bubble tea places here served food. I could totally use some popcorn chicken with my tea. My favorite flavor is taro bubble tea, all purple and wacky. :D

  9. Amy,
    Really? No food in Seattle boba cafes?

    I like taro pudding in my tea. I'm kinda over the whole boba thing since it's been around here since the 90s so it's not such a novelty anymore.

  10. Every year my older brother and I go California. Everyday for 2 weeks he went to drink boba tea. There was this one place that sold it for 1.25. Now he makes it at home after 3 day passes.

  11. Butterscotch,
    I have cousins who buy boba tea every afternoon. For me, it's just an occasional thing now. Too expensive!


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