Essencha’s housemade chai walks the fine line between sweet and spicy. Their signature blend, heavy on the cardamom, is infused with black tea, milk, and honey, and the subtle but pleasantly warm flavors will forever ruin you for pre-made concentrates.
This strawberry-kiwi fruit mélange tea (far left) is mixed with strawberry syrup for a heavenly mashup of tangy and sweet. The red-hot tea looks (and tastes!) like liquid candy, complementing the mellow-flavored tapioca pearls.
This gem may not be listed on the current menu, but don’t let it slip beneath your radar. Matcha—a powdered green tea from Japan—gives the drink its distinctively earthy flavor. Combined with apple syrup and jasmine green tea, it packs a verdant punch.
Don’t let the taro tea’s shocking natural lavender color (near left) scare you off—fearlessly plunge that straw in for rich, malty flavor derived from powdered taro root, a tuber native to southeast Asia. Shaken with your choice of milk, this beverage is surprisingly light and refreshing.
It’s powdered coconut that gives this tea its exotic and bracing taste, shaken with milk (cow, almond, or coconut) for a nutty flavor up front and a somewhat sugary aftertaste. Choose the coconut milk for the full-on island experience.
Essencha Tea House, 3212a Madison Rd., Oakley, (513) 533-4832, essencha.com
Originally published in the April 2014 issue.