Chatime Innovation Bar
Chatime Innovation Bar does exclusive bubble teas, crafted just for Toronto boba drinkers.
Though there's plenty of regular Chatime stores located across the city, this is only the second Toronto location of the experimental shop (the first is in Yorkdale) offering a curated menu for the local palate.
Toronto is also the first city to get an Innovation Bar, meaning you'll find a drastically different menu here than anywhere else worldwide.
Designed by Chatime's Toronto team, the selection here consists of dairy-free milk teas, teaspressos, and other beverages that feel a bit more elevated than your usual Chatime classics.
The counter is equipped with a Japanese-designed teaspresso machine that has tea brewing down to a science. Leaves encased in silk bags are prepared using a special tea blender to best optimize the flavour.
They also offer a trio of bottled drinks—part of Chatime's Spellbound collection—which are as refreshing as they are pretty.
The Purple Reign ($8) is a ridiculously mesmerizing drink; give it a shake to see lychee and grapefruit puree, butterfly pea tea, and edible glitter, all mix together in a swirly, shimmery show.
You can get most of your drinks as a milk tea (which uses a lactose-free creamer), as a tea latte (which combines tea with any kind of milk you want), or as a teaspresso.
Aside from favourites like the signature roasted milk tea ($4.80/regular), you'll also find a list of matcha drinks—Torontonians love matcha—like the handwhisked latte ($5.50), made with green tea powder from Matsu Matcha in Kyoto.
The black onyx milk ($5.30) tea combines Chatime's signature black tea (a super fragrant tea with cassia and vanilla) with grass jelly, which costs an extra 50 cents.
The Royal Blue Tea Latte ($5.30) isn't actually blue, but it does use real dried blueberries and black tea for a delicious, natural fruity flavour.
The blue sakura ($5.30) is one of the specialty options that uses a cherry blossom syrup and butterfly pea flower tea: the blue-toned, colour-changing ingredient of summer popularity.
Thai iced tea lovers will enjoy this milk tea version ($5.30) that doesn't skimp on tea strength: black tea imported from Thailand is brewed, iced, and sweetened with evaporated and condensed milk.
There's a few select premium toppings only available at Innovation Bar (75 cents exra), like matcha pudding made with Chatime egg pudding powder, soft golden pearls, honey jelly, and crystal boba.
Considering Toronto is undoubtedly a worldwide capital for bubble tea, it's no surprise Chatime has chosen this city as its first foray into next level bubble tea.