STORY ABOUT THE FOUNDER
Interviewed and written by: Grace Wong
Peter is no Simu Liu, but they’re both ex-accountants chasing waterfalls. He started off with a stable job but had been having dreams for years…
Dreams of Boba.
And just like any good accountant, he is exact.
I mean EXACT.
Upon gathering research from boba shop to boba shop in California, New York, & Toronto, he turned his kitchen into a testing lab. He has investigated which teas replicate local traditions, which milks are silkiest without being overwhelming, which fruity, floral, saccharine notes complement his oolongs, jasmines, & matchas, and which toppings dance across your mouth like a surprise.
So when you stop by the shop and Peter sheepishly says,
“Uh…Our Golden Boba isn’t ready yet,”
If he says it will be ready at 12:20, that is the exact time the Golden Boba soaked in brown sugar will hit the perfectly soft chewy texture you long to have in your mouth.
His care is genuinely far reaching…
Meaning he has carefully sourced fresh Premium Grade Hojicha straight from Uji, Kyoto — whisking it with 60mL of filtered water at 170°F until frothy and poured over whole milk (or oat milk for an almost nuttier flavor and thicker texture), and then finishing it with a fluffy, glossy sea salt cream whipped-to-order to add a salty yet light contrast to the smoky tea notes.
You should come to the Best in the Midwest* and have a taste for yourself!
Go to the Order Now Tab to check out the menu.
*So says Yelp: 2021
TEA All of our teas are carefully selected and steeped from actual leaves. We’ve sourced only the best (taste / aroma) tea leaves for our guests and we brew each of our teas fresh, daily! None of that shortcut, powder-flavored tea mixes!
Each type of tea is properly and precisely steeped in the correct temperature and time. We use precision scales and measuring utensils to fine-tune every ingredient that goes into your drink and make it perfect every time!
Our classic teas are everyone’s favorites and brewed in small batches for quick service. The premium teas will take a little bit longer and steeped upon ordering – but no worries! We have advance tea extraction machines that extracts a strong cup of tea in a significantly shortened steep time (think like an espresso machine)! Just a little patience as all good things take time.
MILK We use both whole milk and non-dairy creamer. Our classic and premium milk teas do however use non-dairy creamer or evaporated milk – but for good reasons! – for best flavor and to carry on its authentic origins. Sorry, we believe in preserving great taste and keeping traditional roots of how milk tea was originally created from around the world.
We understand that some people are more conscious about health and would prefer real dairy from a cow. No problem! We formulated several well-balanced milk to tea ratio drinks under our ‘LATTE’ section. That includes our two popular, classic teas, too!
MATCHA Our Japanese matcha is premium grade with notes of natural sweetness, smoothness, and non-bitter taste. It’s a delightful infusion with our lattes. Good matcha shouldn’t be bitter!
SUGAR Our sugar is house-made simple syrup. Just light brown sugar and water, boiled down. No extra fluff, like that high-fructose corn syrup.
We do offer sweetness adjustment levels. Unfortunately, we do not offer ice level adjustments. We tailor our drinks where we don’t over-/under- do it with sugar and ice but we understand some people do have sugar diet preferences, and we respect that. Just understand that altering the sugar level drastically does not represent our tea recipe standards. No worries though – if you don’t like your drink, whether it is our mistake or yours, we will remake you another drink, no questions asked!
Gathers Tea Bar is created for the love of tea, and tea is often the center of social gatherings. Our mission is to cultivate our passion for tea throughout the community – bringing people together one cup at a time.
Our tea bar concept is based on tea flavor profiles. We want our drinks to be more about the teas and and less on additive flavors so we craft our drinks to bring out the best and strongest flavor of the base tea.
With years of tea tasting and various recipe trials and errors, we have expertly infused the perfect tea drinks down to the science – from the carefully selected tea leaves, temperature, and time, to the quality of creamer/milk, sugar, and even water.
We are committed to sharing our tea passion with our guests.
In the heart of Little Italy
University of Illinois at Chicago / Illinois Medical District,
Gathers Tea Bar is nestled inside
Hana Sushi Chinese & Thai
We value everyone’s feedback, questions, and concerns. Feel free to write us a message
Monday: [ Closed ]
Tuesday – Sunday: 12PM – 8PM