On a hot Saturday day in the Pennisula, Cup of Blooms is an unassuming and relaxing destination. This cafe, situated east of Central Park in Downtown San Mateo, specializes in fruit and milk tea with ample seating for groups small and large. For an urban-minded worker trapped in the suburbs, hangout spots like this one well quenches the thirst for a third place.
We ordered their signature Blooms Fruit Tea in a pot, which is a melange of apple, pineapple, grapefruit, orange, watermelon, passion fruit, strawberry, and lime. I was curious how so many fruits would taste together, and was pleasantly surprised by the subtle layers of flavors, with no hint of bitterness or sourness that typically plagues boiled fruits.
The first cups from the pot smelled and tasted overwhelmingly like peach (which, by the way, isn’t even on the list of ingredients), and as the broth continued to simmer and slow cook above a candle, every cup offered something new. My second cup had more hints of watermelon, and third cup astringency of passion fruits.
Yanny, who is the owner of this cute and jazzy space, helped explain this phenomenon.
“We use a Taiwanese black tea as the base, which already comes with a slight aroma, and slowly cook the fruits in tea broth. The broth isn’t too hot so the fruits don’t turn bitter and sour. As the fruits release their fructose at varying paces, each cup tastes different and layers on the previous cup.” She described with a bright smile and sweet pride.
The price was highly reasonable. At ~$8 a pot including tips, it serves two people easily for an hour or so.
“We source our tea from Taiwan and other places. If you love tea, I highly recommend the iced tea based on Taiwan High Mountain Tea, or the blossom flower tea. Our tapioca is also from Taiwan and smaller than the ones made here. The smaller balls absorb our brown sugar base better and offer a more natural sweet texture,” she added.
As Lisa Ono’s It Don’t Mean A Thing flowed in the background, I savored the layers of citrus, passion fruit and honey from the last cups. Cup of Blooms has been open since 7 months ago and is already a lively spot. I hope her thoughtful approach to popular tea brings delight to more people.