BERKELEY’s BEST ●Restaurants
Asha Tea House 2086 University Ave./Shattuck Ave., downtown. Named after the Taiwanese word for “someone who enjoys life,” Asha strives to remind customers to enjoy life while drinking tea. Situated in a dramatic high-ceilinged room with a contemporary industrial feel, this small tea house produces high quality tea and a few snacks. Most acclaimed are the hand-whisked stone-ground matcha items (latte, matchaffogato), the fruit teas naturally sweetened with real fruit (blood orange oolong tea has chunks of blood orange in the house-made puree), and the Hong Kong-style milk teas, plus--available after 11:45 a.m.--sweet, chewy Taiwanese boba pearl milk teas. Drinks are brewed to order and include Masala chai and coffee. A few food items are available, but they no longer include the famous matcha mochi and flaky Portuguese egg tart. It is claimed that one serving of matcha has as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, but without the jitteriness and crash. Teas tend to be strong, and condensed milk, fruit purees, and simple syrups are made in house from natural ingredients. Bulk teas are also available.