By Jane Fernandez
There are many tea places students can go hang out at, but there are not many boba tea bars like Tea Barrel. As the name describes it, tea barrel is a small family-owned restaurant that will make customers feel like they are inside of a pirates’ ship.
The small space is decorated with tables that resemble barrels and the walls are also wooden. The lights are dimmed for a relaxing feel but are still bright enough to sit and read a book. Although there are not many decorations, the ambient of tea barrel is just right.
During weekdays, students stop by to drinking flavored boba milk tea, study or play cards with their friends. Tea Barrel serves a wide variety of milk teas, flavored teas, slushies, smoothies, dishes and appetizers.
Its unique menu choices are different than any other boba house. Their sweet plum potato fries at just $4.28 an order are very different from traditional French fries. The sweet plum fries although sprinkled with sour plum seasoning, have a sweet and salty taste perfect to go along with a cold milk tea.
Takoyaki, which are Japanese-style squid balls, are a great snack at just $4.60. An order comes with eight balls for sharing.
For those with a sweet tooth, Tea Barrel offers sweet toast for just $3.68. There are only four choices for toast, but they are all mouth-watering. The condensed milk toast melts in the mouth with every bite and will keep anyone wanting more.
The selection of dishes, although not very large, are quite distinct and delicious. The popcorn chicken rice at $7.99 makes a perfect meal for those who want to eat for less than $10, as the dish comes with a free green or black tea.
Aside from the food, Tea Barrel is known for its drinks. The drink menu is different in that it offers flavors that are not well known. Flavors like guava, plum, peach rose and barley attract the eye and curiosity of the customers.
Most of the flavor teas and milk teas offer a choice between green, black or oolong tea.
The honey boba is soft and squishy, just right for a delicious drink.
The friendliness of the staff creates a very welcoming environment for anyone. Even though they offer low prices, they make sure their customers are saving.
Tea Barrel is perfect for those who want to spend some quiet time while sipping on their favorite flavored milk tea, or with a group of friends who want to take their own card game or borrow one from the restaurant as they have a few table games and a rack of magazines.
The owners of the Tea Barrel try to save their customers money by offerings discounts. Customers receive 20 percent discount if they like Tea Barrel on Yelp and a 10 percent discount on Facebook. Apart from the online deals, every cup sleeve is a 10 percent discount toward the next drink purchase.
For smokers, there is an outside balcony that is smoke friendly.
Cleanliness is not a problem, as the staff keeps the small place tidy and spotless clean.
Tea Barrel is cash only and parking is available in the back. The location is 405 West Main Street in Alhambra.