New Tea House Opens Near Gold Line Station

Owners Tiger Wang, Rico Yu and Shawn Zhao
Photo by Joseph Ruiz

Teamorrow, a bubble tea, Taiwanese fusion restaurant located at 1005 Mission St., held its soft opening on March 19.

Lodged in between Griffin’s of Kinsdale and La Monarca Bakery, Teamorrow occupies the space formerly held by the sandwich and cereal restaurant Mix n’ Munch.

This is the first restaurant venture for owners Shawn Zhao, Tiger Wang, and Rico Yu.

Of the idea behind the name Teamorrow, Zhao said, “we are the next generation, the next step, of tea.”

How does Teamorrow create an elevated form of tea? All of its drinks are handmade with authentic ingredients, Zhao said.

Take its matcha, for example, which Zhao makes a point of ordering from Japan, not China.

The ultra-fine powder, ground from dried green tea leaves, is produced mostly by those two countries. However, according to Zhao, China produces a much lower, and cheaper, quality of matcha.

In Japan, matcha plants are grown in the shade and quickly dried, ensuring an earthy flavor. Chinese growers often neglect to grow theirs in the shade, and use different drying techniques. Additionally, studies in the last five years have called into question the safety of Chinese matcha leaves, citing a number of instances in which the use of banned pesticides was discovered on farms. 

In another effort to ensure high quality, Teamorrow makes each drink by hand. Tea houses, Zhao said, commonly brew their teas in large batches. This may be more efficient, but it is impersonal. Zhao also believes it compromises quality.

“We can produce the perfect combination of sweet and salty for any customer by making drinks individually,” he said.

Wang, the barista, exchanges Teamorrow’s boba (soft spheres of tapioca that form the bubble in bubble tea) every four hours. He does this, he said, to maintain “the perfect texture.” 

Yu, the food chef, prepares exclusively Taiwanese cuisine. He honed his cooking skills over the past three years, working in a Taiwanese restaurant in Arcadia.

The owners of Teamorrow hope to hold the restaurant’s hard opening at the end of April. Currently, the team is finishing its hiring process. Photos by Joseph Ruiz

Zhao said the restaurant would remain authentic by serving only what the owners know best. All three immigrated to the United States from China after the age of 15. In other words, they know tea. 

“Bubble tea in China is like Starbucks over here,” said Zhao, smiling. “There is a place on every block.”

Teamorrow employed a South Pasadena design firm, House of Honey, to design its interior. Zhao hopes the space will become a gathering place for the community.

“We want this to be a space for all ages,” he said. “We want to display galleries and student artwork, that would be very cool.”

Teamorrow is in the process of filling out its staff. Its owners hope to hold a grand opening at the end of April.

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Harry Yadav has served as the Editor of the South Pasadena Review since January of 2018. Born and raised in South Pasadena, Harry graduated from South Pasadena High School in 2012, where he played golf and basketball and wrote for the Tiger newspaper. In 2016, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.