American teenagers like tea. That may come as a surprise, but students at CVHS swarm Cloud 9 Teahouse during lunch and after school. I was pleasantly surprised when a new milk tea shop opened last summer in the quaint town of Castro Valley.
Upon entering, you are greeted with a simple menu and a calming environment. Drinks come in a regular and a large size. There aren’t many choices for drinks, as it only has green, black, thai iced teas and milk teas, but all their teas are made with real tea leaves and not powder flavoring.
The drinks tend to be on the sweeter side, but that can be easily fixed by asking for less sweetness. All the workers are very friendly and willing to help out, so they adjust drinks to 75 percent, 50 percent, or even 25 percent that of the original sugar content. Adjustments to the amount of ice the drink includes can also be made.
Besides drinks, however, the teahouse also sells ice cream burgers and snow. Snow is a dish with layers of shaved ice cream with boba on the side. My favorite item on the menu is the ice cream burger. The burgers have a warm, crunchy shell on the outside and a tasty scoop of ice cream on the inside.
They come in a variety of flavors including chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, and cookies and cream. The fried shell of the burger does melt the ice cream, so it should be eaten right away before all of it turns into a gooey mess. It takes a while for these to be made, so you shouldn’t order ice cream burgers if you’re on a time crunch.
The place itself has many simple board games like a typical milk tea shop would, but it also has a room devoted to gaming. There is a Wii installed with four remotes, so that’s a nice way to keep people occupied at the shop. I’m not much of a gamer myself, but that room is a nice place to relax and spend time with some friends.
There is also outdoor seating, which is perfect for those not too hot days where you just want to have some fresh air. The seating indoors consists of three four-seater tables, and one two-seater table, so it can get crowded pretty easily. Lines always seem to appear long due to the tight space, but you can make your order within five minutes if you start by the door. Once you’ve made your order, however, there could be some wait time to receive your order.
This relatively new tea house is located right across the street from the Starbucks in Castro Village, so it is very close to CVHS. It is perfect for off-campus lunch trips for people who don’t drive, and they’d be supporting a local family with all their purchases as well!
This place is the perfect stop to satisfy any sweet tooths or to just spend some time with a few friends in a carefree environment.