Cheese tea, the Asian sensation that has been on the brink of trending here in the States, is coming to St. Marks Place. If you’re the type that claims to have known about matcha before it was cool, brace for the opening of Mi Tea, the latest import to hit Chinatown North. The international chain, founded in 2016 in Hangzhou, China, specializes in teas that are topped with a layer of salted cheese foam.
Yes, this is a thing.
Eater recently noted that cheese tea– which originated around 2010 when Taiwanese night market vendors began topping teas with a combination of powdered cheese, salt, whipping cream and milk– has become a phenomenon in countries like Japan and China, and is “on the cusp of trending stateside.” It’s no surprise, then, that COMING SOON signage for Mi Tea recently went up on Bubble Tea Row, at 23 St. Marks Place.
The chain, which already has a location in Astoria, tops fresh-brewed green tea, formosa tea, oolong, peach tea, and matcha with cheese froth. Bubble-tea fans can throw some boba in for good measure. For the best cheese-to-tea ratio, you’re instructed to tilt your cup to a 40-degree angle as you drink it and then give it a good shake once you’ve ingested half of the beverage.
Cheese tea isn’t the only exotic offering. The Astoria location also serves durian pizza– yes, pizza made with the extremely pungent, widely reviled “King of Fruit.” Break out the plastic gloves, folks. Also on the pizza menu: A crawfish variety and a fruit variety topped with pineapple, apple, kiwi and strawberry.
But back to the cheese froth. How does Mi Tea’s actually taste? On Yelp, opinions vary: “it really honestly wasn’t as cheesy as I’d thought, it’s more of a salty foam”; “light on the palate and not as dense as the cheese foam from [another cheese tea purveyor] Happy Lemon”; “like a light and airy cheesy milk shake but nothing heavy like a milk shake or overly sweet.” Be warned, one Yelper complained “my stomach cannot handle the oddness.”