I had heard a bit of chatter about a California based cafe that recently opened in the garment district called The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Tea is in the name, so I put it high on my list of places to try. Wading through the garment district at lunchtime is no easy feat, but I dodged my way around scowling glam women, interns carrying gallons of coffee, and blue-shirted businessmen. The line was long, but I decided to wait and see what all the hype was about. Glancing around I didn't see any tea canisters or anything resembling tea at all. Eventually I noticed a few jars at the front of the store that appeared to have teabags in them. To ease the line congestion an employee was taking orders from the line. When I asked for an unflavored black tea, I was met with a blank stare. He went to ask the barista what black teas they had, and then came back and said 'blueberry'. Um, I asked for an unflavored tea, so I tried again. After a second trip over to the barista the answer was 'English Breakfast'. Really? Their website boasts the origin and quality of their teas. According to said website they have a few nice looking black teas, but no one in the store seemed to know about that. I decided that it wasn't worth continuing my line of questioning. I left. Perhaps I'll try to go back when the line is shorter and my tolerance is higher.
On my way back to work I passed Boi to Go, a little Vietnamese take-out place. I was hungry and decided to try some dumplings. While I was waiting I noticed that they had bubble teas. After my first disappointment, I was thrilled to see this. Sadly, the bubble teas were pre-made and waiting in a case. If it wasn't so busy in the shop, I would have asked if they could be made fresh. But I was desperate for refreshment. I picked up a black tea with boba, my usual go-to for bubble tea. It was far too sweet and didn't really taste like tea, but it still softened the earlier disappointing blow. I will try to give The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf another try, perhaps during an off hour. If anyone has tried their tea, please let me know!