PSA: How to Drink Crema Tea

Alan Liang
Aug 28, 2019 · 2 min read

TL;DR: cut a small slit on one side and sip it at a high degree angle.

Every time I order a crema in the Bay Area, I’m handed a straw to drink it from. Why?? Why would I need to use an apparatus that only retrieves liquid from 1 height on a drink that is meant to be drank with its 2 components, on 2 separate layers, simultaneously?

I know I sound pretentious. I’m sorry. But to be honest, I’m really just disappointed to realize that that every day, so many cremas are consumed incorrectly, and not drank to its full potential.

And that’s why I’m writing this opinionated PSA.

The bottom line is, there is no officially correct way to drink crema; you do you and I’ll try not to judge. I sincerely just hope that this method can perhaps help you appreciate my favorite go-to drink at bubble tea shops.

Black Tea Crema from UCha, in Berkeley CA

The essence of a crema tea is that it comes with 2 opposing layers, meant to be enjoyed at the same time. As you drink crema, it creates a small symphony of dissonance in your mouth that comes in many aspects: between sweet and salty, between creamy and clear, and between thick and refreshing.

Hence, to properly enjoy crema, the goal is to drink both the crema and tea concurrently.

To do this, you cut a slit on the side, and sip it at a high angle (say, 45 degrees?). This allows you to enjoy those opposing mouthfeels simultaneously. Then, feel free to mix it in your mouth into one homogeneous texture, before drinking it down.

That’s it. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.


Strawberry crema from 奈雪の茶 in Shanghai

A short addendum: recently, there have been trends to apply cremas on fruit teas (which really aren’t teas, but that’s a story for another day). I feel that this creates a different drinking experience: the drink now tastes more like a liquid cheesecake, and it’s delicious as well. Furthermore, it can really bring out the flavor of the fruit when the crema is not overbearing. Although the experience of this drink is completely different, the core essence of the crema is the same: we want to have both layers concurrently. Therefore, the method to drink crema stays the same.

Thanks to Albert Xu

Alan Liang

Written by

CS & Econ @ UC Berkeley, but I like to write about food.

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