When your friends are willing to get pearl tea after a Korean barbecue buffet, you know you've found some good peeps. After rolling ourselves out of Q-Pot, T and CV introduced me to Ding Tea:
There were only about three tables in the main area, but there's actually a smaller side room with more (not shown here):
T has been obsessed with white pearls (made of agar) recently. Apparently Ding Tea is the reason why. She ordered a milk oolong tea ($3.75) with white pearls (+$0.50) while CV got herself the kumquat lemon iced tea ($3.75):
Personally, while I like the white pearls, I prefer them in fruity drinks and not in milky ones. The pearls themselves have an almost fruity flavor that just seems a bit weird with milk teas. And though I love myself some lemon iced tea, the one at Ding Tea has salted plums in it, which is a no bueno for me.
I was about to order my usual test for new pearl tea joints, the plain old pearl milk tea, when I saw a cup of bright red liquid sitting on the counter waiting for its owner to pick it up. Curious, I asked the guy taking our order what it was. He said it was a strawberry yakult. Before I could say anything else (such as, "Cool, can I get a pearl milk tea?"), T jumped in and asked if we could get a sample. Apparently when you ask for a sample at Ding Tea, they make an entire whole cup of the stuff to pour out tiny little taste tests.
After seeing all the effort that went into getting us a sample, I felt obligated to order the dang thing, even though it tasted like a cavity in a cup. It wasn't bad, don't get me wrong. Just super sweet. (And obviously artificial.) So I bit the bullet and ordered one...but at 75% sweetness. I should have gone with 25%.
I figured I would at least get a great bright red photo out of it, but alas, my strawberry yakult ($4) came in a solid paper cup:
Sweetness can be modified, so I haven't been scared off Ding Tea for life. Quite the opposite in fact. Though the prices are a bit on the high side, the drinks are pretty solid. It's also a nice place to just hang out with your friends and play Sushi Go! (also something new T introduced me to that day).
I would go back.
If I was in the area.
3151 Senter Rd
San Jose, CA 95111