Quali-Tea Boba

A Look into the Trendy Tea Cafe at 430 State Street

A popular trend during the pandemic, as well as a staple drink in Taiwan, boba — also known as bubble tea — has swept the nation with its sweet, caffeinated, and aesthetically pleasing style. If you’re out with friends or just looking for a refreshing pick-me-up, Sencha Tea Bar is the place to go, located on 430 State Street in Madison.
Five of the Norse Star staff members ventured out into the chill fall air looking for this cool drink. Only a 25 minute drive from Stoughton, Sencha was worth the weather. On the dark street, Sencha lit up the night with its warm, inviting atmosphere. The front window was filled with adorable and unique ferns and aloes, as well as a lovely waterfall of fairy lights. Entering the cafe, the first thing we all noticed was the aroma. With the cozy scents of brewing tea mixed with the sweet scents of warm baked goods, the staff was excited to try some of Sencha’s signature drinks. For some, this was a new experience and for others, it was not.
The menu at Sencha offers a wide variety of signature drinks for the more adventurous tea-drinker and for the happily comfortable one, as well. The menu also allows customers to create their own drinks with a wide array of tea flavors and add-ons such as boba pearls, fruit, pudding, chia seeds, and more. The small drinks ranged from $3.99 to $4.99, the mediums around $4.99 and the large drinks ranged from $5.99 to $6.99. The drinks we ordered included a small Thai Milk Tea with boba pearls and a large without boba pearls, a Strawberry Watermelon Cooler with boba pearls, a small Vanilla Shake, a small iced Green Tea with hibiscus and lemon, and a small Tranquility Elixir with boba pearls.
As far as flavor goes, the Thai Milk Tea was a favorite with its nutty taste and inviting fall colors. Thai milk tea is a staple Sencha drink and a personal favorite. The tea with or without the gummy boba pearls included was still rated 5/5 stars for the night.
The Strawberry Watermelon Cooler, ordered by another staff member, was commended for its refreshing taste and striking pink color. Though, since the boba pearls inside of it were sticking together, personal preference led us to choose a rating of 4/5 stars. The Vanilla Shake, though refreshing and sweet in theory, did not live up to the standards of the staff. It was overall just mediocre, so it received a rating of 3/5 stars. The Green Tea drink was beautiful in color and rich with its earthy scent. However, the taste itself was too bitter for the liking of the staff members, so the rating was 4/5 stars all around. Last, but definitely not least, the Tranquility Elixir, with its deep orange hue and sweet honeycomb taste and lemon scent received 5/5 stars.
Overall, the staff came to the conclusion that the tea we drank scored 4/5 stars for the night as we felt the drinks were a bit too pricey for the sizes we ordered.
The cafe itself was dimly lit, but had a cozy, almost scholarly atmosphere as the room was covered in healthy plants and beautiful artwork, making a student feel right at home in this perfect study spot. As the staff enjoyed their tea, we noticed that hanging on the walls of Sencha were dozens of original paintings and drawings, all submitted by aspiring artists. There was a sign next to the paintings that asked customers to submit their artwork to be displayed in the cafe.
Overall, the ambience of the cafe contributed to our high rating as it was cozy and welcoming. It was as if coming home after a long trip away. The wonderful works of art caught our attention and gave us a good conversation topic.
Along with that, the staff had the pleasure of meeting the baristas who served our drinks. Mother and daughter duo Holly and Allison Gale welcomed us with kindness and smiles. The Gale women made sure the drinks were up to Sencha’s standards as well as embraced the process the staff went through to properly review the cafe. They were lovely people and even better baristas, and the Norse Star staff can wholly agree that they helped make the cafe atmosphere as welcoming as possible.
Even though the boba tea and other drinks weren’t a full 5 star rating, it was still a wonderful cafe and a trip we won’t forget anytime soon. Sencha cafe receives 4/5 stars from the staff.