Hi Tea (San Francisco, Chinatown) just had its grand opening this past weekend. As most grand openings go, they had a “buy-one-get-one-free” deal to attract new customers from the other neighborhood boba shops. I’m not one to turn down good deals, so I decided to try this new place out.
When I stepped into Hi Tea, it felt like I was walking into a fancy coffee shop. This place was decked out in leather couches, coffee canvas art, and San Francisco wall decals. To top it all off, they had dimly lit wall lamps and ceiling lights.
I’ve been raving to my friends about how there aren’t any boba shops in San Francisco that have good interior design for customers to want to chill and hangout in. “We need places like Pekoe and Factory Tea Bar in San Francisco!” This new Hi Tea isn’t really up to the level of Pekoe or Factory Tea Bar, but it’s a good start.
Being a grand opening, I expected a long line and slow service. However, I was surprised by a quick and painless ordering experience. It only took a couple minutes for me to get to the front of the line, order my drink, and complete the transaction.
It did take a little long for me to get my drinks (2x black milk tea (Assam) with boba and less ice), but they just opened so they probably haven’t refined their drink-making process yet. It also wasn’t too long of a wait so I don’t fault them (at least not this time).
Boba Drink: 6/10
My drink itself was decent at best. This is the second place I’ve been to — first being Super Cue — that serves Assam milk tea as their black milk tea so I expected a certain taste to my drink. When I took a sip, let me just say that whatever I tasted did not meet my expectations. It was neither good nor bad, but it was definitely “interesting.”
Unfortunately, the boba was terrible. The consistency itself was good (nice texture and good to chew), but the taste was not there. And when I say not there, I literally mean it’s not there. It wasn’t even like it was slightly sweet. It was just tasteless! The best way I can describe is that it tasted like I was chewing water-flavored boba. I never drink milk tea without boba, but if I could re-do my Hi Tea order, I would probably order them without boba since they pretty much ruined the drink for me.
Final Rating: 6.5/10
My Hi Tea experience was going so well until I took that first sip. No amount of good service and fancy decor could make up for the flavor-lacking boba. With that said, it is only their first weekend in business, so I might try them one last time in a couple months before I write them off.