On the Menu: Turning over a new leaf with Yeeha Boba Tea in Point Loma
According to an ancient Chinese proverb, drinking a cup of tea will starve the apothecary. Tea has been a healing brew for close to three millennia since its serendipitous (and perhaps apocryphal) discovery by Emperor Shen Nong, who had been sipping some boiling water when a stray leaf from a nearby bush blew into his cup.
The emperor was pleased with how the fragrant leaf infused the insipid water with an aromatic green tinge, creating a delightful beverage that evolved into an important part of Asian rituals and health practices.
Fast forward to the 1980s, when a whimsical Taiwanese tea concoction and trendy refresher hit the market and soon became steeped in the pop culture of dozens of countries around the globe. Having more names than the number of computer components — among them bubble tea, boba tea, momi milk tea, tapioca tea, zhen zhu nai cha, and black pearl tea — the sassy tea craze is now making a big splash in Southern California.
A quaint bubble tea shop on Chatsworth Boulevard in Point Loma across from the high school has exploded into a cozy clutch for exotic taste buds of all ages to energize and refresh throughout the day.
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Vicky Yu, a self-taught bubble tea meister and owner of Yeeha Boba Tea, formerly named Tea’s Moment, mastered her craft at home, testing creations on her most discriminating customers — her two young children. Yu launched her new venture in spring 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold and service was limited to takeout orders. Now business is bustling, with a steady stream of customers getting full service.
Sweet tooths can indulge in an array of frothy bubble tea creations, along with acai bowls, scratch-made egg puff pastries, frosty treats and fruity tropical slushies, including watermelon, lemon, pineapple, passion fruit, coconut, papaya and kiwi.
Guests can sip and lounge in a warm, rustic urban space filled with comfy couches, red brick walls, interesting knickknacks and hardcover books displayed on multilevel shelves in a homey living room setting. You also might check out the restroom’s themed decor highlighting the antics of the young wizard Harry Potter.
Yu’s boba teas can be served hot or cold and are tricked out with delightful goodies such as tapioca beads (boba) made from starch extracted from the cassava root, foaming milk (dairy and plant-based alternatives), crushed ice, sugar or honey, and a slew of flavorings and add-ins, from honeydew, lavender and lychee to mango, matcha and mocha.
According to Vinnie Chau, Yeeha’s manager, the most popular drinks are milk teas with brown sugar boba, taro root, peanut, winter melon, rose and blueberry.
Other specialty drinks to wet your whistle include “Pink Clouds,” blending mango jelly, citrus essences and butterfly tea, and “Midnight Sun,” combining cream, green and black teas and Oreo cookies.
Chau marvels at the array of customers who frequent the boba shop, especially locals and seasonal tourists, along with San Diego denizens up and down the county, plus many Angelenos. He attributes the customer loyalty to the use of high-quality ingredients and authentic preparation of the beverages that are tailored to suit taste buds according to sugar, ice and flavoring levels.
The shop’s commitment to keeping prices consistent despite rapid inflation is another customer draw. I’ll drink to that!
Yeeha Boba Tea
Where: 2180 Chatsworth Blvd., Point Loma
Hours: Noon to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays
Information: (619) 255-4801
Homemade boba milk tea
• 1¾ cups brewed tea, such as Earl Grey, Assam, jasmine or matcha
• 1/3 cup milk (whole, or non-dairy such as coconut, almond, oat or hemp)
• ½ cup tapioca pearls, such as brown, green or white, boiled to package directions
• ¼ cup sweetener, such as brown sugar, honey or simple syrup, adjusted to taste
• 1/3 cup crushed ice
• Place ingredients in a smoothie shaker.
• Shake until frothy and well-blended.
• Serve in a tall, chilled tumbler with a wide boba straw.
— Catharine L. Kaufman