We’re tea lovers and tea believers. Tea to us is more than just a drink – it’s a spiritual experience, a constant ritual of our lives. Putting on the kettle and spooning some tea leaves into the diffuser are the first few things that we do in the morning after waking up. Then the afternoon comes around and we find ourselves sipping on another fragrant cup of tea. It’s these moments of tea drinking that allow us to slow down, look around and take a moment to appreciate life. Hence, those around us know that we take our cups of tea very seriously.
Truth be told, with the extensive bubble tea selection in Atlanta, there just aren’t enough tea house – place for lovers of freshly brewed teapot. That’s why when we heard of Tea House Formosa and their concept – we KNOW it’s gonna become our place! And sure enough, within the first month of their opening, we come back here for many times, sometimes twice in the same week. Their vast selection of premium tea, cozy ambience and authentic Taiwanese snacks keep us coming back again and again.
Here at Tea House Formosa, you can easily spot groups of friends eagerly catching up over steamy cups of tea. But at the same time, many families bring they youngsters here to enjoy an authentic Taiwanese meal together. With that said, it’s not a bad place to get some work done either. We – and many others – come here with laptops, trying to knock out some work while sipping on some calming tea. They have an open window panel that runs across the entire length of the store, allowing a lot of beautiful sun light to come in, making the ambience extremely fresh and energizing.
When it comes to tea, our interests delve to the deeper levels: the types, the flavors, the history, the art of making and serving, everything. Looking over the menu at Tea House Formosa, we find ourselves pleasantly surprised. They have 6 ways of serving teas that will please even the pickiest customers.
Signature base tea – regular brewed tea leaves
Flavored fruit tea – fruit/floral infused tea
Milk tea – your choice of tea with creamer
Lattea – your choice of tea with milk
Tea con panna – your choice of tea topped with whipped cream
Butter creamer – your choice of tea topped with salted butter cream
Tea float – your choice of tea topped with vanilla ice cream
Furthermore, they have 6 types of toppings, all of premium quality with just the perfect level of sweetness, enough to enhance your liquid base. They also have a wide selection of flavored syrup, which can add an interesting twist to any drink. The good thing about these syrups is that they’re not overly sweet like the sugar-heavy type found in the grocery isle. Instead they’re very well made and actually contain real flavors in them.
Toppings: boba, aloe vera, tea jelly, grass jelly, custard pudding, red bean
Flavored syrup: vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, almond, cinnamon, brown sugar, sesame, ginger
Premium tea – featuring original blend served in teapot with one free refill. Some of our favorites includes: Osmanthus Jin Xuan Oolong Tea, Ginseng Oolong tea, Jasmine Four Seasons and Rose of the Orient.
Buttercream TieGuanJin – Tie Guan Yin tea is a type of Oolong tea, and is – deservedly – one of the most revered and sought after types of tea in China. Apart from its amazing taste, this tea also has great health benefits, being high in amino acids, vitamins and antioxidants. At Tea House Formosa, the added milk enhanced the mildness to create a smooth canvas for the strong honey flavor to stand out.
Ginger Lattea – Ginger is actually our favorite type of syrup to add to the latte. Upon serving, the steam was still fragrant but the liquor was milder tasting, mostly of honey. The mid-note was of ginger while the endnote was sweet. We especially loved how warming and soothing the ginger tasted against the throat. It’s best enjoyed warmed in a cold winter night.
Rose cream oolong tea – is one of their Four Special drinks for February but we really hope they’d bring it back into the regular menu. As mentioned before, oolong tea is a very smooth and healing tea, perfect as a base for any drink creation. It was topped with a thick mixture of cream, infused with very nice rose scent and taste. (For our girl readers, it smells just as heavenly as that pure rose serum we put on our faces 😉 ).
Green tea Float – This is one of the smoothest tea selections out of the bunch. We loved to have our green tea base at 50% sweet so that the creaminess of the vanilla ice cream scoop – not the sweetness – would take the spotlight. You could choose to eat the ice cream with a spoon or patiently wait for it to dissolve into the tea for a creamy drink.
Hello Kitty Bento box – This is definitely one of those novelty dishes that let us indulge the little kids inside. This is one of their limited items – only available during the weekend and they only have 4 portions for each day. So if you want to catch that cute Hello Kitty, make sure to arrive before noon. It was served with crispy chicken nuggets, egg rolls, vegetables and fruits. The set also comes with a drink of your choice. The surprise – however – came when you break off the cute face and find some Lu Rou Fan (Taiwanese braised pork) hidden inside.
Baos (Formosa Pork Belly & Grilled Slice Beef) – can be quite small for the price but it was done quite well. The bun was fluffy and fresh. The meat flavoring was extremely delicious and balanced out with a fresh touch of lettuce, onion and tomato.
Rice burgers (Formosa Pork Belly & Teriyaki Chicken) – on the other hand is quite disappointing. Though they looked very nice and the buns held up nicely, we found it to be overly oily and quite bland. They can definitely step this one up with a bit more of seasoning and a bit less oil on the rice buns.
Chicken Nuggets – is definitely a must have when it comes to Taiwanese snacks. It was moist in the inside, crispy on the outside and packed full of flavors (plus some spicy kick too!) Having had chicken nuggets at a lot of other places, we must say this is our favorite in Atlanta.
Squid Balls – is their newly introduced snack, featuring fried squid paste. It had a delicious flavor, slightly to the sweet side – which we weren’t sure if it is from the squid itself or from addictive. There wasn’t any coating so the outside is also quite moist.
Hand-cut taro fries – is a very unique dish that can’t be found anywhere else. Even though it was not as sweet or crunchy as sweet potato chips, we found the starchy flavor of taro to be quite interesting and paired well with the crispy exterior. It was lightly flavored with salt & pepper.
Shrimp Onigiri: small chunk of shrimp is stir fried in a generous mix of garlic, shallot and green onion, creating a very well flavored stuffing. The rice outside tasted fluffy, soft and had a mildly vinegar that smelled like that of sushi rice. This was a nice dish to order when you wanted some small bite. It was carefully wrapped in plastic and placed at the counter area so it was neither hot or cold.
Takoyaki: is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter, typically filled with octopus, tenkasu, pickled ginger and green onion. Then these beautifully-shaped balls were drizzled with an addicting combination of takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise. Our favorite part – however – was the bonito flake topping that kept moving under the heat of the balls, making it look alive. Tea House definitely had this dish nailed down. It was piping hot when served, super crunchy, the sauce nicely coated, even portion of octopus in each ball and of course, the bonito flake waving upon serving was pleasant to see.
This is a special tea set recently introduced that’s only available from 2pm-5pm on the weekend. It’s featuring two full pans of tea dessert plus one tea pot or one tea drink of your choice. First of all, the presentation was rustic but beautiful, with everything placed in a two-level steam bamboo basket. At the price of $23.95, it was a fulfilling mid-day treat for a party of two. While we found the whole concept to be really cool, the tea snacks could be very underwhelming in quality. Both the fruit and cheese sandwiches were really dry and lacking in flavor. The cheese scallion scone got extremely dry, with the unpleasant flour taste still presented. The tea macaroon, with the sweet crust and savory filling could be quite strange at first. On the flip side, we really enjoyed the Tieguanyin madeleine, apple cinnamon tart and lemon pound cake. The tea cookies had a super smooth and buttery taste – and just like its name – went extremely well along hot tea.
In our opinion, Jasmine Four Season Oolong Tea is the best kind of tea to drink with these exquisite afternoon treats. Locally known as Si Ji Chun, four-season oolong is a relatively new varietal developed during the 1980’s in Nantou region of Taiwan. At Tea House Formosa, the tea was slightly oxidized, giving the oolong a smooth floral base with a subtle hint of jasmine. This kind of tea leaves can be harvested all year round, hence the name. We believe that the making of a good cup of tea deserves plenty of attention and detail – and it is indeed an art form. We thought Tea House Formosa did a great job of selecting beautiful leaf blends and pouring the utmost dedication into each cup. It is great to have a place that we can truly find serenity and it’s also a wonderful thing to watch them preserving this old-age tradition of the East with such pride and authenticity.
Tea House Formosa
Address: 5302 Buford Hwy, Suite A3, Doraville GA 30340
Phone: (470) 349-8105
Hours: 11am – 9pm (everyday)