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Recently I read about cheese tea for the first time and thought it sounded quite odd – I like tea, and I like cheese, but why would I ever want to combine these two?! I was skeptical, but I enjoy being adventurous in what I eat and drink, so I wanted to give it a try. Sadly, it only seemed to be available on the West Coast and in Asia, so I resigned myself to the fact that I’d have to file it away in my ‘try someday” list since I had no travel plans to visit those areas. Little did I know that only a week later I would receive an invitation to join 150 other Google Local Guides from around the world for an all-expenses-paid trip to San Francisco for Connect Live! I felt confident I could find cheese tea in San Francisco since it’s the mecca for all delicious Asian trends, like Sushirrito! After a brief search for cheese tea in the area I’d be staying, I found Steap Tea Bar and planned to stop there during my free time on the trip.
Steap is located in Chinatown, which was just a short Uber ride from my hotel. I arrived and headed to the counter to ask which type of tea paired well with the cheese topping, wondering if I was even going to like it! Was this going to be some weird liquefied blend of cheese cubes in my drink?! The woman told me it was actually referred to as “cream topping”, which made sense, as she told me they make it fresh in-house by blending whipped cream and mascarpone cheese with a sea salt finish. I opted for the almond milk tea with tapioca pearls (those are the black balls at the bottom of the drink if you’re not familiar).
Eager to taste this beautiful creation, I took a sip from the top to get a good sample of the cream. I was instantly in love. It was the perfect combination of savory and sweet flavors (cheese notes were not too strong, but just barely there). It was definitely unlike any other drink I’ve had in the past. If I had longer in San Francisco, I would have loved to return to try some of their other unique toppings on the menu like hemp drops, lychee jelly, hibiscus, and activated charcoal. Note: If you check-in here on Yelp, they will offer you a free topping!
Other things to note for the health-conscious tea drinker: Steap has dairy-free options (almond milk) and uses organic milk for those who can consume dairy. I also love that they allow you to adjust the sweetness level based on your preference, as a lot of boba drinks can end up being overly sweet. As you can see, they will serve the drinks hot or cold (I ordered mine cold). I left Steap wondering when I’d get to taste this delightful drink again and posted wistfully about it on Facebook. Thankfully, I have some foodie friends here in North Carolina, and one let me know that a recently opened establishment in Greensboro called MasterTea has cheese tea on the menu!
When I got home, I begged my husband to go try it with me. He was skeptical and didn’t order his own drink, but when he tried mine, he admitted that it was quite tasty and he enjoyed the unique flavor. Pictured above is Honey Green Tea. As you can see, the cream layer is a little thicker than the one I had in SF and the boba is barely visible since they use the clear version. It was a little sweeter than the one I had from Steap, but still delicious. Overall, cheese tea greatly surpassed my skeptical expectations and I can’t wait for all of you to try it! Remember that it likely won’t be listed as “cheese tea” on the menu, so ask for “cream topping” and you’ll be in business! Move over Pumpkin Spice, you’ll soon be replaced by Cheese Tea!
What’s the most unique beverage you’ve ever had? Please share it with me in the comments.
Thanks for reading!