The Perfect Cup of Tea

Photos by Kamala Kirk

When he was a student at Cal Poly Pomona, Tiger Wang had a part-time job working in a “bubble tea,” or “boba,” drink shop and really enjoyed the experience — so much, in fact, that after graduating from college he decided to open a boba place with Shawn Zhao, a friend and former co-worker.

Invented in Taiwan, bubble tea drinks feature a variety of ingredients, including large tapioca balls known as boba that are served in a tea base mixed with milk and other flavoring. Over the years, the drink became popular in the United States, so Wang decided to open a shop of his own. In March 2017, TeaMorrow debuted in South Pasadena, and has been a hit with locals and visitors ever since.

“When we first opened here, there was no other boba shop in town,” Wang said. “I really liked making different drinks and meeting new people at my college job, and I knew that I wanted to serve good-quality products and provide good service. Then Shawn and I decided to become partners and open our own boba place.”

TeaMorrow is located in the historic Alexander Building on Mission Street — built in 1906 by Alexander R. Graham, it was one of the first commercial building in South Pasadena’s Mission West Historical District. Upon walking in, customers are greeted by a beautiful wall that depicts various shades of blue, light purple and white. The piece was created by local interior design company, House of Honey, which is located down the street.

“Our mascot is the T-Rex, and just like he was the king of dinosaurs, we want to be the king of tea,” Wang said. “A lot of the art on our walls is from China, as well as a local art studio.”

All of TeaMorrow’s drinks are handmade with authentic ingredients such as high-quality matcha from Japan, and they serve an assortment of hot and cold tea drinks in many different flavors, as well as coffee. Among their most popular flavors are fruity drinks such as Mango Green Tea, Passionfruit Green Tea and Peach Green Tea, as well as milk teas including the Hokkaido Milk Tea and Jasmine Milk Tea. Drink add-ons include boba, lychee jelly and caramel pudding, to name a few.

“We have some seasonal drinks and we use real fruit such as strawberries, depending on what is in season at the time,” Wang said. “We also recently started serving Chinese breakfast on the weekends, which we encourage everyone to try. We serve a variety of bao, which are Chinese dumplings filled with different ingredients such as meat and vegetables.”

In addition to its breakfast offerings, TeaMorrow brings in fresh baked goods every morning from a bakery in nearby Highland Park. It also serves other food items, including various noodle dishes, rice and meat combos, and smaller snacks such as popcorn chicken, house spicy shrimp wontons and tea eggs — a savory Chinese dish that consists of a boiled egg that has been cracked slightly, then boiled again in tea, sauce and spices, which gives it a marble-like appearance.

“Opening a tea shop is a dream come true,” said Wang. “I love meeting all of the people that come in here, many who have become my friends, and introducing them to good drinks. A lot of the school kids in the area like to come here to study and spend their time with friends — they ask their parents to take them here.

“Seeing everyone come into our shop and enjoy themselves makes me very proud and happy, and I will continue to work hard for TeaMorrow’s future.”

TeaMorrow Tea House is located at 1005 Mission St., Suite A, in South Pasadena. It is open Monday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call (626) 460-6260 or visit teamorrow.com.

TeaMorrow Tea House Spotlight appeared in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review on 12.13.19. Support Local Business.

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Kamala Kirk
Kamala Kirk is a contributing writer for the South Pasadena Review, San Marino Tribune and The Quarterly Magazine. Kamala formerly served as Managing Editor of Beauty Launchpad Magazine, West Coast Editor of American Salon Magazine, and Digital Editor for E! Online. A native of Hermosa Beach, California, she is a proud USC Trojan and pug mom to Wrigley the Pug (@pugofpasadena).