By: Victoria Lopatka, Staff Writer
This summer, bubble tea chain Chatime Canada brought its sister brand, Atealier by Chatime, to Vancouver. The small flagship shop is located on Robson Street, decked out in shades of purple, gold, and white. Their menu boasts a variety of drinks, from classic milk teas to the shimmer series — three particularly pretty drinks that seem to shimmer when you shake them. They also have unique toppings like honey golden pearls. I had a feeling this shop would quickly become the new “it” bubble tea place. And as a big Chatime fan, I was really excited to try some new menu items.
I visited Atealier on a weekday afternoon and was not surprised by the crowd of customers waiting outside, both on the sidewalk and in the alleyway beside the shop. There were no dividers or markers dictating where customers should wait, so it was just a matter of finding somewhere to stand that neither blocked pedestrians or cars. It took me about 20 minutes to reach the front of the line — I took this time to look up the menu online and make my selections.
Inside, Atealier is incredibly small and has no indoor seating, so customers enter to order at the counter and then go back outside to wait. The tea baristas were very friendly and knowledgeable about the menu. Despite the busyness of the shop, they were happy to make some recommendations. I ordered their signature drink, honey golden onyx tea with honey golden pearls, as well as the mango jade green tea with brown sugar pearls — both with no ice and 50% sugar. My bill came to just over $13 for both drinks.
The honey golden onyx delivered the “premium tea experience” as promised. A strong and rich tea flavour was present, blending nicely with the smooth milk and subtle sweetness from the pearls. This drink easily surpasses other milk teas, with the freshness and quality of the ingredients shining through. I would definitely return to Atealier for this drink specifically. The mango jade green tea, on the other hand, tasted a little watered down; and the mango flavour was difficult to find. Perhaps asking for 80% or 100% sugar would’ve changed this.
The drinks were aesthetically pleasing, definitely an elevation of the regular Chatime menu. For Instagram foodies, I would especially recommend the shimmer series — my friend ordered the “purple reign” and the drink came out looking like a watercolour painting of blue, purple, white, and orange.
Overall, I would recommend Atealier to the bubble tea lovers and Instagram foodies — the drinks are photogenic and high quality. I am excited to see if they expand their menu to include more interesting options, similar to the extensive Chatime menu customers are accustomed to.
Before heading to Atealier, here are some words of advice: be prepared to wait about 30 minutes outside for your drinks, and if you’re going to try one of the fruit tea options, err on the sweeter side or ask the tea barista for their recommendation.