My kids and I love Bubble Tea. Like most Westerners, we had to get used to the idea of solid components (“bubbles”) mixed in with something we’d typically classify as a liquid (tea). But we got over that years ago. There are several Bubble Tea shops in Kent, and we are now regular customers.
A month or two ago, we visited our favorite Bubble Tea shop: Ha! Tea. At that time, a sign near the counter advertised a drink called “Sea Salt Oolong Cheese Tea,” so we asked the barista if she could describe it for us. She said something to the effect of, “It’s just what it sounds like,” and she referred us back to the sign which didn’t actually provide any information. English was her second language, so we just nodded and left it at that. We ordered more familiar drinks that we knew we’d enjoy. And indeed, we enjoyed them (my favorite is “Classic Milk Tea with Boba”).
But that phrase “Sea Salt Oolong Cheese Tea” wedged itself in our brains. It’s come up in family conversation several times since that visit. It sounded pretty awful, but also intriguing. I resolved to try it the next time we visited the Bubble Tea shop — and today finally ended up presenting the opportunity for that visit.
So let me tell you what Sea Salt Oolong Cheese Tea is like.
It’s an iced beverage (like most Bubble Tea drinks). The “Oolong” part of that name refers to the sort of tea leaves used to brew the liquid, and indeed it gave the drink a distinctly Chinese flavor. Much like the hot tea that’s served in the most authentic Chinese restaurants I’ve visited. Both the “Sea Salt” and the “Cheese” in the drink’s name seem to refer to the thick foam at the top of the drink. I was asked for my preference in the solid element of the drink, so I went with boba. These are chewy tapioca balls that rest on the bottom of the cup until sucked up with the over-sized straw that’s provided with the drink.
So here’s my personal review of the Sea Salt Oolong Cheese Tea:
It’s pretty disgusting.
The “Oolong” element of the drink was OK, though I personally prefer either green tea or black tea. The “Sea Salt” element wasn’t so bad. But the “Cheese” element (which may have been tied together with the “Sea Salt”) was actually pretty cheesy. Like a stinky, blue cheese. The texture of the cheese-foam was weird (far thicker than the foam on a cappuccino or a beer). And while it was tolerable in the aggregate, it was pretty hard to swallow — both figuratively and literally — when I got to the end of the drink and the Sea Salt Cheese-foam was all that was left.
I wasn’t able to finish the drink. So while I’m glad that I gave it a try, I don’t think I’ll be ordering it again any time soon.