Since the start of 2016, Castro Valley has gained not one, but two new boba shops. One of them, iTea, happens to be a 15-minute walk from CVHS, making it a perfect place for students to hang out or get a snack after school.
iTea can also be found in Oakland and San Francisco, but the one in Castro Valley is definitely the best in terms of location. It comes with parking, indoor seating, and a clean environment. The store can be found in the very back corner of the Wells Fargo parking lot.
Initially, the prices for all the drinks may seem a bit steep, at around $4, but they come in larger sized cups, and many also include one or more toppings. Compared to other boba shops that would charge extra for the size upgrade and the addition of toppings, iTea drinks are about the same price.
Besides the large selection of drinks, iTea also has over a dozen snacks available. All snacks are delicious and come in generous portions. Most of them range between $5 and $8 but there is a snack for $14 and another for only $1.25. During happy hour, however, all but three snacks are only $3.50 and almost all drinks are $2.50.
It’s not too hard to stop by during happy hour, because it happens at a pretty reasonable time. If anyone did want to buy a drink with the happy hour deals, however, they would have to be willing to endure the possibly out-the-door lines, but even then the wait isn’t too long. Ever since the grand opening, wait time and worker efficiency has improved quite a bit.
What makes iTea stand out isn’t the large amounts of toppings or millions of drink options on its menu: it’s the availability of food. It’s very common to find snacks such as popcorn chicken and takoyaki at a boba shop, but iTea also offers ramen. As of Feb. 18, there are three different types of ramen available, so anyone can have a full on meal along with their desserts and drinks.
My personal favorite drink to order is F2 which is their Roasted Oolong Kreama. It’s usually a bit too sweet so I order it with 80 percent sweetness. The option to be able to customize the amount of ice and sugar added to the drink makes it possible for anyone and everyone to find a combination they will like.
iTea has definitely become my go-to stop for an after school snack, because it not only has a large variety of choices, but everything it sells also tastes amazing. The fact that it’s walking distance from the high school makes it even more appealing.