It seems that every month, a new boba milk tea shop has opened near Castro Valley. From the convenient location of i-Tea to the large selection offered by T4, there is a teahouse to fit every need. Yet, with so many of these stores being franchise owned, it is difficult to find a charming mom-and-pop shop that offers both good boba and a friendly environment.
So Charm, located at 22580 Foothill Boulevard in Hayward, offers just that. The store opened early this year, and serves a variety of different drinks, food, and desserts. While the storefront may not appear welcoming (it has yet to install a sign), walking into the shop, you’ll be greeted by a cozy cafe atmosphere and friendly workers.
When it comes to tea, So Charm has all of the standard offerings, from classic milk teas, to fruit based drinks. You can customize your drink with different toppings, sizes, sweetness, and ice levels. Their speciality drinks include smoothies, milk foam, and warm teas. In comparison to other tea shops, So Charm’s drinks are extremely fresh, and have a more prominent tea flavor.
So Charm has a relatively large food menu that is incomparable to similar stores. In addition to their extensive snack menu, noodle soup and rice place entrees are included. The batter used on the fried snacks is light and perfectly seasoned. A fried calamari or popcorn chicken craving could be easily sated with So Charm’s offerings. So Charm also serves Taiwanese snow, a refreshing treat that many other boba places do not offer. Prices range from three to seven dollars, providing a filling meal for a cheap price.
Discounted drinks are currently being offered with a purchase from the food menu. With any food order, a medium drink is only $1.99, and a large drink is $2.50 (toppings not included). The shop also offers a stamp card; for every ten drinks purchased, you can get one for free.
The only downside to the shop is the lack of nearby parking. Being located on the Hayward Loop, those not familiar with the area might face difficulty finding it. However, public parking is available next to the nearby movie theatre.
So Charm has many unique qualities that make it a great after school spot. Whether you just want a quick bite, or a place to “study” with friends, So Charm can cater to your every need.