TEA HOUSE FORMOSA | TRADITIONAL AND MODERN TEAS
If you are living in the Duluth/Norcross area of Gwinnett County, you are sure to drive past five or ten bubble or fruit tea spots on your way to work and on your way home. One of the main things I like about living in this area actually is the number of cafes that flood the streets. This reminds me of living overseas in Asia and provides many of the street drinks/foods that I miss. One thing that is common though in most of these is that 99% of the cafes typically specialize in either Milk Tea or Fruit Tea alone.
This fills a huge void of those who just want to go to a traditional tea house and enjoy a strong hot tea while getting some work done or study. I love fruit tea and I love boba teas but sometimes I need something light and strong like a pot of black tea that’s not as strong as espresso but also not overly sweet.
Tea House Formosa brought this styled cafe to the Doraville area by offering premium teas served in a traditional atmosphere. Tea House Formosa was formerly owned by Winnie and Tao who’s father sourced in Taiwanese teas directly from Taiwan where he lives. Before they took over this location, their mother ran the first bubble tea shop in GA at this same location. The current owner Yuseef was a regular here and eventually took over the establishment about 6 months ago and kept the name the same.
The goal here is to offer a high tea experience as well as an intro to tea for those who do not know the culture. You will see this by the diversity of teas on their menu.
MODERN AND TRADITIONAL ATMOSPHERE
I was actually hanging out with Daral (the YAM) and Jenny (2QT) at Matcha Maiko off Buford Hwy and Jenny told me about this teahouse that she thought I would like. I immediately brushed it off since there are like 1000 tea houses off Buford hwy but she pushed the idea that this place was a bit different than the others and would resemble the traditional teahouses I loved in China. We walked in just to get a good look at the place and I fell in love with the theme before trying anything on the menu. the atmosphere here has a uniquely modern yet traditional feel. There is a combination of rustic and modern with a wooden table and booth look and feel combines with modern lights, white canvas, and a unique traditional framework. One thing I love as someone who works in cafe’s, is the fact that every table and booth has a power outlet and there is free wifi available. I did not try anything that evening but got a good look at the menu and loved that they specialize in a ton of different types of teas.
UNIQUE TEA HOUSE EXPERIENCE
The experience at Tea House Formosa is not like your typical cafe. When you come in your greeted by a front desk that is there to ask if you’re either taking something to go or dining (drinking) in. If you are hanging out, they will bring the menu to your table and wait for you like a normal restaurant. This was a bit shocking to me until I got the menu and realized that I would need quite a bit of time to go through everything. The menu is broken up into Premium teas, signature base teas, flavored teas, milk teas, Lattea, Tea Con Panna, butter creamer tea, tea floats, Formosa specialty tea, other non-caffeinated drinks, and desserts.
I gotta jump into this first! The main reason I come to Tea House Formosa is the fact that they are carrying a ton of premium teas that are served in a teapot that can be refilled. Typically from one teapot, you can get about 6 cups of tea so its a great deal. There are literally 6 pages of Premium teas broken up by tradition, oolong, green, black, fruit, and herbal. The main teas here are of course the oolong, black, green and TieGuanYin. These teas are brewed every 4 hours so that they always stay fresh. My first try was the Cinnamon Roll Black Tea. This tea almost resembled a chai to me and has a pretty strong flavor of black tea (just make sure you don’t pour immediately and give it time to seep). I love how you have the option to get it with milk (for you English tea drinkers). My second time I wanted to go traditional (English traditional) so I went with the earl grey tea and it was also very well flavored and balanced well. Each tea category on this menu has about 6 or more variations so you can literally come here every day for a month and not try them all.
BUILD YOUR OWN TEA
Aside from the premium teas, you typically will see different pages showing unique methods of trying the four signature teas (black tea, oolong tea, jasmine green tea, TieguanYin). This will include flavoring it with fruit, milk tea style (powdered milk), having it as a latte, having it with whipped cream (Tea Con Panna), topping it with buttercream, or topping it with ice cream (Tea Float). If you still want more control over your tea – maybe to add toppings or mix different styles – you can always go with the build your own method. With this method, you can choose the temperature, size, tea of choice, flavor, toppings, sugar level and ice level of your drink. To someone like me, this is too many choices so I typically stay simple. I do know many people would love this idea if they have a certain craving.
Beyond the premium and tea mixes, there are specialty teas that are available and brewed on the spot. Unlike the main signatures that are brewed every 4 hours, most of the specialty teas are dry loose leaf and brewed on order. I have personally tried the Ginseng Oolong Milk Tea and loved it. I actually customized this with a buttercream cap and that made it more of a well-rounded drink for me. If you are a lover of chai or cinnamon, I would also recommend the Cinnamon Rooibos Milk Tea. This tea is caffeine-free and the Rooibos has its own spicy flavor. Blended with the cinnamon its almost like a chai tea (especially if you get it hot).
A CHANGING MENU
If you are not a tea lover and are looking for a modern cafe with other choices, there are other drinks available. This includes sparkling water that can be flavored by Perrier, flavored milk drinks, Yakult drinks, lemonade, and coffee (coming). I am actually excited about the coffee drinks that will be coming to the menu soon so stay on the lookout for those. In the meantime, there is a hidden menu item of coffee that can be served on request. This Tea House is what everyone should experience at least once. If you are a tea lover, you need to try these guys out.