Alameda Eats: i-Tea for Mango Sago and Boba
As a foodie, I have pretty much tried all the boba shops in Bay Area unless there are new ones that opened recently. One of my favorite all-time shops in the Bay Area is I-Tea in Alameda. Compared to the one in Oakland, there are plenty of tables so you can sit down and hang out with friends whereas the Oakland location is a small shack located in Chinatown with barely any space to hang out. Before the pandemic, their happy hour is from 8-10 pm which is usually their peak time. The drinks would cost $3 and snacks are $3.50, with some exclusions like their M series although they might have halted it during the pandemic. The line is always long and takes a while for the orders to come out so I would suggest calling ahead or making an online order. For the price range, the drinks average around $4 which isn’t too bad since I have seen some places charge $6 and up recently. Located in the parking lot with Walgreens, there is free parking in the back or street parking in the front which is convenient.
If I were to recommend only one drink, go for the mango sago! Compared to other places I've been to, this is the only boba shop that has it with fresh mango chunks mixed with the sago. The drink is more on the tart than the sweet side. It has a thick and creamy consistency which pairs well with the soft texture of the sago. At $5 a drink, the cup is a decent size. I'm not sure if this is premade but it usually comes out faster than the fruit tea or boba orders. I'm not a huge fan of fruity drinks, but this mango sago is amazing especially now that we are approaching summertime. It is very refreshing and is the perfect summer drink. Another great drink is jasmine green milk tea with agar boba. I love how they use fresh jasmine tea which you can taste in the drink and it is refreshing and tasty.
Overall, the quality and taste between the Oakland and Alameda stores are the same. The Alameda is my favorite since this is bigger versus the small shack in Oakland Chinatown. The service isn't bad, but it gets crowded during Happy Hour. This is the only place I know that has mango sago so I'll come back often for sure!