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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Due to the lightning complex that occurred in the week of Aug.17, Santa Clara County is currently surrounded by wildfires, covering the city of Saratoga in heavy smoke. The air quality was in the range of 100 to 200 for the past five days, forcing SHS to close down. Photo by Selina Chen.

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