Bee & Tea is located in Wicker Park at 1843 West North Avenue. I had a couple of friends suggest Bee & Tea, saying out of all the bubble tea shops in Chicago it was their favorite. We went just for tea, but they do serve food. They sell bao and bowls. Their bao is a little different then normal, not quite a dumpling but actually open like a pocket.
You can customize your own bubble tea or you can get one of their seasonal specialties that are posted up in the windows or over where you check out. I customized my own. When you make your own you pick your size and whether it’s hot or cold. My friends pointed out the large nearby and it was huge. I just got a regular sized drink. Then you choose your base; taiwanese black tea (unsweetened) or as a milk tea sweetened, jasmine green tea (unsweetened) or as a milk tea sweetened, or taro milk tea (sweetened and caffeine free). You can choose up to 3 flavors without having to pay extra. (Which is about only 50¢ per extra flavor) The flavors are broken up into fruity, sweet and bold.
- blood orange
- cherry lime
- heat (not quite sure what this flavor is)
- white chocolate
After your pick your flavors you then pick a topping (50¢ extra for additional toppings) These are either boba (tapioca pearls or popping pearls/boba), jelly (agar), or red beans.
- green apple
- honey tapioca boba
- agar bears (these are shaped like bears, but kinda big and flat think gummy bear)
You also tell them how sweet you want your drink, normal or very sweet or not very sweet. The very sweet is apparently really really strong, especially if you get a milk tea that comes sweetened.
I orded taro milk tea with coconut and chai flavorings and agar bears with normal sweetness. I wasn’t sure whether any of it would be a good combinations, but it turned out pretty good. The agar bears were bigger than the straw, which is pretty big since the straw for bubble tea is huge, but they didn’t do too much to change the flavor and weren’t a terrible texture. It was fun to try them, they look like big flat gummy bears and come in multiple colors.
I loved the atmosphere of Bee & Tea and wanted to try another but didn’t think I’d be able to drink another. One was rather filling. I did want to try their seasonal options like egg nog or the gingerbread, or one of their specialties but making my own was a lot of fun. They also do smoothies with yogurt or frappés. They have board games for people to play and while it doesn’t look like they have a bathroom they do, you have to walk into the back, through the kitchen and it’s on the right, which I found kind of awkward. But outside of that I really enjoyed bee & tea.