Boba shops like Teaspoon, Gong Cha, and BAMBU pack the streets of downtown San Mateo. But tucked away, outside of the main area, Cup of Blooms adorns the quiet street.
Eleven months after its opening, Cup of Blooms remains unknown to many residents of the Bay Area. Although the area is already crowded with boba shops, Cup of Blooms has a lot to offer.
Once you step in, you are transported into a tranquil oasis. Calming music plays, paper flowers decorate the walls, and soft lights illuminate the room.
What sets Cup of Blooms apart from its competitors is its welcoming customer service and atmosphere. At the cash register, co-owner Yanny Chung always gives you a smile and answers any questions you may have.
Price is a deciding factor for many people, and Cup of Blooms has established a reputation of being affordable for the average Silicon Valley student. Most of the drinks at Cup of Blooms cost $4.25, unlike the $5.25 for most drinks at Teaspoon and Boba Guys.
Cup of Blooms is never loud or crowded, and the servers don’t act in an automated fashion. It’s unlike any tea room I’ve ever experienced.
Getting through homework is a breeze, and it leaves you feeling refreshed instead of sluggish. The only thing that might distract you is your urge to use the restroom.
If you think your experience won’t be any different from other public bathrooms, think again. Teaspoon, as well as many other small drink hubs, offer a convenient bathroom in the back of their establishment, but this is not the case with Cup of Blooms. In order to get to the bathroom, you must exit the cafe and walk through a dimly-lit garage. When you finally reach the bathroom, the light turns off too early, adding to your discomfort.
Back in the cafe, you can experience quality teas, such as organic matcha, as well as fresh flavors that only Cup of Blooms has to offer.
Rather than the syrups that most boba cafes use, the flavors in the Cup of Blooms’s drinks come from natural fruits and flowers. For example, the blooms fruit tea contains pieces of fruit, the rose milk tea fresh features actual rose petals, and the grape milk tea includes real grapes.
At the Science of Boba class during Spring 2019’s Standford Splash, the perfect boba was described as soft and chewy, and should not fall apart easily. At Cup of Blooms, the boba — which is an essential ingredient in any bubble tea — meets this description.
In addition to its variety of teas, the cafe serves different coffees, including macchiatos, cold brew, and cappuccinos. It is almost unheard of among tea shops; most don’t serve coffee at all, or only have a few choices like espresso and americanos.
Unfortunately, like many boba shops, Cup of Blooms uses plastic straws. Recently, though, they’ve tried to do their part to be more environmentally conscious by selling metal straws.
Of course, they could try more sustainable straw options, but it can come with monetary challenges. Boba Guys, one of their competitors, recently started rolling out bamboo fiber straws themselves.
Cup of Blooms show that they care about the environment in other ways. Food to be eaten in the cafe, such as sandwiches and toasts, come on wooden plates, while to-go options come wrapped up in cardboard boxes rather than polluting styrofoam.
While it could decrease its carbon footprint and improve the uncomfortable experience of its bathroom, Cup of Blooms is otherwise flawless. Its natural flavors, affordable prices, and cozy and productive atmosphere leave a lasting impression on every guest who visits Cup of Blooms.