New Downtown Saratoga boba shop has charms, but it also emptied my pockets

September 10, 2020 — by Avani Kongetira

Customers enjoy their ice cold drinks outside Tea Lyfe Saratoga.

On a sweltering September day, the inviting new boba shop in Downtown Saratoga, Tea Lyfe, serves as a haven for sweaty Saratoga residents.

The long-awaited store finally opened to customers on Sept. 4, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m, Friday through Sunday. 

Its selection is unusual, but not too extensive;  it offers a variety of categories, including different types of tea, coffee and horchata. 

When I stepped inside, I was pleasantly surprised by the decor. Though it was considerably bare without chairs and tables set up, greenery dotted the walls and brightened the interior. 

After ordering a basic assam black milk tea with honey boba, I made my way to the socially distanced tables set up outside by the sidewalk. This made the perfect place to peacefully sip on my drink and people-watch.

The drink was decent, but not exceptional. The tea itself was very concentrated and had a rich flavor, compared to other places where the boba is the most dominant element. I ordered 50 percent sugar, which still turned out to be on the sweeter side.

The tea was refreshing in the heat of the afternoon, but not quite worth $5.50. Given the size of the cup (they only offer one size), the prices were much higher than I expected, and definitely more than places like TeaTop and Happy Lemon charge. 

Another downside is that Tea Lyfe is only open Friday through Sunday, which makes it impossible to grab a drink after school on weekdays.

While the drinks are on the pricey side, the location of the store makes up for it. Saratoga residents are used to driving a long way to satisfy their boba needs, and the arrival of a tea shop downtown is a game changer.

This ideal setting will draw many customers and help reinforce the addictions of boba-crazed students.

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