Graphic by Elise Bechtel
By Emily Chang
Sometimes, as college students, we need a nice ambience and some tasty little treats to keep us going, especially as finals approach. Chakaa Tea Café, a boba place located in Thousand Oaks, combines those two elements to create a welcoming and fun space.
Camarillo historically has not had a wide selection of dedicated boba places. It’s Boba Time recently came to the Camarillo Outlets, becoming a popular alternative to Bigstraw Boba. And, of course, the closest option for many CI students is Mom Wong Kitchen at Town Center.
Although Chakaa Tea Café is a little further than Bigstraw Boba, It’s Boba Time or Mom Wong Kitchen, the approximately 15-minute drive is worth it. The first thing customers notice when they walk in is the variety of plushies lining the walls of the building. Chakaa sells these plushies in addition to boba, with a range of sizes and themes that are consistently rotated in and out. They will also at times carry items like hats and bags, all of which are cute and mirror styles popular in Asian street fashion.
As enthralling as the adorable plushies are, the menu is even more impressive. They have the classic milk teas and Thai teas, but also some flavor categories that I have not seen at other local boba stores, including Fruit Yakult, Brûlée Family, Cheezo Fresh Brewed, Tiramisu and Fruit Party.
For those who are not familiar, Yakult is a popular Japanese probiotic drink. Brûlée refers to crème brûlée, the custard desert with a top layer of caramelized sugar. And cheezo is typically a foam made of milk and cream cheese with a little sprinkle of salt to add a savory edge to the sweet drinks.
Chakaa also serves snacks, including popcorn chicken, Takoyaki, ramen and French fries. Customers can enjoy their drinks and food inside, or on the second-floor loft, which contains more plushies and offers a quieter environment.
I really enjoy the tiramisu boba ruby milk tea, and it has quickly become my go-to order thanks to a friend who suggested it. The actual boba itself is sweet, soft and chewy – all characteristics of a well-prepared and tasty boba! I have also tried the jasmine milk tea with crème brûlée, which is really tasty. The atmosphere of Chakaa is perfect for studying, hanging with friends or a quick boba run in between errands.
For all Chakaa has to offer, its prices are reasonable and comparable to other boba shops. Depending on the drink, the prices range from $4.75 to $6.00, with the option to customize and add additional flavors for extra charge.
One minor critique about this boba place is that, because of the variety of plushies they have, the people that visit throughout the day and interact with the plushies and the consistent rotation of plushies, a few areas of the store can seem a little cluttered with stuffed animals in shipment boxes or strewn around. But it is a small price to pay for the delicious drinks and snacks and the charming environment.
Definitely check out Chakaa Tea Café if you are a lover of boba or cute plushies. They are located at 520 North Ventu Park Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, and open every day from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Visit Chakaa to treat yourself while you are getting through the end of the semester or as a little celebration for finishing this academic year. 4.5 dolphins out of 5!