Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Taro Milk Tea, Santa Cruz Boardwalk

During my recent visit to the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk, I indulged in ... too many things.  It started with my first Klondike bar in years (actually, quite good!), at the company picnic.  And then, uh, a Blue Bunny sundae cone (which I've reviewed before), also at the picnic.  And then ... an absolutely insane, but not tasty, apple pie funnel cake with whipped cream and ice cream from the Boardwalk concession stand.

But I wasn't satisfied.  The funnel cake was so bad it left me wanting ... something.  I really did want a soft serve cone, but, I needed to rush to the return bus, and didn't actually want to bring a cone on board.  But I recalled seeing a coffee shop that also had bubble tea on the menu, and I figured this was a great choice.  I could get a bubble tea, throw it in my bag (since it would be sealed), and bust it out in an hour or so on the bus, once my blood sugar started crashing from all my other sweets wearing off.

This plan did not work.  Mostly, because, well, this wasn't really a bubble tea shop.
Coffee Shop.
The menu was mostly made up of espresso drinks, hot, iced, and made into frappes.  They also had a Numi hot tea selection.  And bubble tea, listed on the menu, as, bubble tea.  Bubble tea was offered in 4 flavors: thai tea, green tea, taro, and mango, with or without tapioca pearls (strangely, for the same price).

I opted for taro milk tea, as I adore taro.  With pearls.  When I ordered, I was asked if I wanted whipped cream on top.  This should have been a sign.  Whipped cream on a bubble tea?  Hmm.  How does that work with the sealed cups they use?  Answer: it doesn't, they don't actually have one of those machines.
Taro Milk Tea?  $5.95.
This was not a taro milk tea.  It was more of a taro smoothie I suppose?  Not necessarily a bad thing, but, not what the menu said, and not what I thought I was getting.  I didn't actually want a blended icy beverage at this point.

It started with ice.  There was also milk (real milk, not non-dairy powder like much bubble tea).  And I guess taro powder at some point, but I never saw it.  That all went into a blender, just like they used for their frappes.  After being blended, it was poured into a plastic cup on top of the boba, before being topped with generic whipped cream from a can.

It was a total mess when it was handed to me, the contents dripping down the sides, as the person pouring it didn't do a great job actually getting it in the cup.  She kinda cleaned it up.  A regular dome lid with a big hole in the center was stuck on top.  And then it was handed over, without a word.

I asked if they had straws.  I was pointed at the regular straw dispenser on the side.  "Do you have wide straws for sucking up the boba?", I inquired further.  The worker just shrugged, said, "Those are our straws".

Well, ok then.  No idea what I was supposed to do with the boba.

So, it was a blended smoothie, in a regular cup, without a straw to suck up my boba.  It needed to be consumed then, not stashed in my bag as I planned.  I had no choice but to drink it as soon as I got on the bus.

It ... was not good.  It did not taste like taro.  At all.  It was horribly, cloyingly sweet.  The base was sweet, and the boba was absolutely covered in sweet syrup.  I couldn't suck up the boba, obviously.  They were standard size pearls, and I had a regular straw.  This does not work.  The flavor was just ... awful.

It also was not blended well.  It did not have ice chunks at least, but, it was entirely separated.  And the whipped cream?  Meh.  Just stuff from a can.

I did not like this.  But, I was stuck on a bus, with nowhere to throw it out, or even set it own.  The ride was going to be about 2.5 hours.  I couldn't really just hold onto it for that long.  So, I had to drink it.  I hated it.  So sweet, so horrible tasting.  Do not get this.
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