What can I say….I love TEA, so when I was offered the opportunity to attend and sample teas at the new CHATIME store on the famous Portobello Road I jumped at the chance. Admittedly I did no research before getting there (naughty), I was simply sold on the idea of being able to drink tea to my heart’s content, so when I arrived to discover that CHATIME was Bubble Tea Café I wasn’t quite sure what to expect! I mean my daughter loves the stuff and I, well, erm, was not quite of the same sentiment.
On arrival I was greeted by Cheng-Kai, Director and Owner of the Portobello Road Branch of CHATIME and Gay-Lee, Soho Store Manager and Operations Manager of CHATIME UK, two of the most welcoming people I have had the fortune to meet, to say the time spent with them was an education would be an understatement.
The History of Bubble Tea and CHATIME
In Taiwan around the 1980’s the phenomenon we now know in the West to be called Bubble Tea was born. Like many things it was a discovery of convenience, a simple mixing of two courses, sweet and savoury. The international best seller ‘Chatime Milk Tea’ (which I sampled) is made of two parts, the tea usually a fermented black tea with milk and tapioca made from sweet potato starch. An odd combination but it really does work. Interestingly the milk used is powdered with the lactose extracted for us lactose intolerant beings so fear not.
In Taiwan, Bubble Tea shops I was told are like Coffee Shops in London. Unbeknown to me Bubble Tea gets its name not from the bubble like Tapioca but from the bubbles that are created when the tea is shaken during the mixing process. You certainly do learn something new every day!
CHATIME has over 1000 stores worldwide, three of those stores are right here in London Town, SOHO, CHINA TOWN and the new Portobello Road only opening on Tuesday 19 August 2014.
CHATIME prides itself on the quality of its product. Teas are sourced from both Taiwan and New Zealand with all ingredients prepared in store daily with anything that is left over chucked away at the end of the day. CHATIME guarantee authenticity but above all a quality freshly made product every time!!
ABOUT CHATIME BUBBLE TEA
There was a great selection of teas to choose from and these teas act as your drink base.
JASMINE TEA – a lighter selection
MILK TEA – Made with Black Tea from the Sun Moon Lake region of Taiwan
OOLONG TEA – Semi fermented
ROASTED TEA – Semi fermented and roasted Oolong Tea
All of the above are caffeinated but worry not as CHATIME also offer Rooibos as a caffeine free alternative for those that are stronger willed than I am!!
CUSTOMISING YOUR DRINK
When you arrive at CHATIME you may find it a little ‘frozen yogurt bar’ like, as much like a yogurt bar you are greeted by a selection of toppings to ceremoniously ‘pimp’ your drink, unlike a yogurt bar however toppings are of the healthier persuasion and include a rather more exotic selection consisting of Pearl, Grass Jelly, Pudding, Red Bean, Coconut Jelly, Coffee Jelly, Rainbow Jelly and Aloe Vera. Ingredients are all natural with no artificial sweetener, colours or preservatives and sugar is optional!!
Feeling adventurous I tried the UK best seller, Lychee Black Tea with Coconut Jelly
It was both delicious and refreshing and the Coconut Jelly made it a perfectly balanced combination. The Coconut Jelly was soft but not mushy and naturally sweet, a lot like a jelly bean. It is no wonder it is the UK best seller. High from the caffeine and speaking at a hundred mile an hour (I don’t usually consume caffeine) I happened to mention that Rooibos was my tea of choice. At which point a Strawberry Rooibos Tea was created with swift and stealth like precision. I was transported to a scene reminiscent of a meadow on a summers day…they did my most favourite tea great justice in creating this light and hydrating beverage, definitely my firm favourite!
It did not end there!!! We talked tea for a little longer at which point I was asked if I had heard of or tasted Yerba Tea, no, well then try our Blackcurrant Yerba Tea!! As hydrating as the Rooibos Tea with the added va va voom of CAFFEINE!!!! Yerba also hails amazing health benefits containing 24 vitamins and minerals and 15 amino acids….how about that then….
CHATIME is a great store with a lovely ambiance, the staff are friendly and know an awful lot about tea. The Portobello Road store is in a prime location surrounded by quaint and quirky boutiques and great vintage clothing stores. CHATIME is a great place to rest after a fraught shopping trip or just a good ole fashioned girly catch up. There is something for even the most fussy here with over 70 drink combinations to choose from so why imitate when you can originate, try CHATIME, authentic Taiwanese Bubble Tea. I certainly left with a discernable spring in my step!
If you would like to visit CHATIME you can find the new Portobello Road store at
236 Portobello Road
Monday – Thursday 1000-2000
Friday – Sunday 0900-2000
And if you visit the store on or before 31 August 2014 you can Buy one Bubble Tea and Get one FREEEEEEEE!!!!
Love and Light
The Baking BodyBuilder