If you’re looking for a friendly, fast and tasty break from class, then head on over to Tea Press on Bancroft Way. Certainly one of my staples, Tea Press is always bustling with students. If, however, you’re not one of these students (maybe you’re new to Berkeley or you’ve somehow avoided the whole south side of campus), then I highly suggest stopping by. The shop itself is a hole in the wall. When I first walked in, I was surprised to find that there was actually seating for its patrons. It’s a very cozy atmosphere, though not one that I would necessarily suggest if you’re looking to have a relaxing lunch. But by all means, if navigating Sproul Plaza isn’t enough excitement for you, then this loud, crowded store should be right up your alley.
The customer service is excellent because they they never rush your ordering process, which is something I’ve experienced at other tea shops. The staff remembers my order every time I go, which might actually be a sign that I should slow down my boba consumption. They also understand that most people are in a time crunch trying to get to class and always make the drinks quickly and efficiently. I’m in and out of the shop in less than 10 minutes. That being said, the wait will obviously be a bit longer during peak boba hours (midday), so be sure to factor that in if you choose to go.
While the boba itself might still be slightly better at ShareTea, for the price of the drink, Tea Press is certainly worth it. A classic milk tea is about $3, while my personal favorite, the blended avocado milk drink, is about $4. They have a large menu to choose from. While I tend to stick to my avocado drink, they have plenty of fruit teas if that’s what you prefer, such as mango and passionfruit. They also have more exotic options, such as the rose and honeydew teas. There is also a two-for-$3.50 deal if you ever want to go with a friend (or just get yourself two drinks for a good price. Love yourself). This deal doesn’t apply to all the tea flavors, just four of the popular ones (jasmine green milk tea, thai milk tea, regular milk tea and thai coffee). As for the food, I can only vouch for the teriyaki chicken bento box, because the one time I did get it, I was very satisfied. It’s a big portion for about $6. If you add another $1.15, you can get boba too. After the instant ramen most college students are surviving on, this is a high-class meal.
Lastly, the location couldn’t be better because it’s right across from campus on Bancroft Way next to Francesca’s, making it the ideal stop on the way to or from class. You can pick up some boba to get you through that one-and-a-half-hour lecture, or as a treat for actually attending class in the first place. But really, there’s no need to justify your boba purchase — I endorse boba consumption at any time of day. It’s only a shame that Tea Press isn’t open at 2 a.m.
Contact Morrissa Berman at [email protected].