Gingko Tea


4343 University Way Northeast (the Ave)

Seattle, Washington 98105


Um… where did my notes go?

Exterior of Gingko Tea

This was the first time I had stepped into Gingko Tea since the spring of 2001. Given how cluttered the windows became one random day a year or so ago, the shop is clearly under a different management than when I last visited. I’m not really sure on the details of all of that as I never paid much attention to the place after I last visited (bad associations due to no fault of the employees/owners of the shop).

Back in the good ol’ days, Gingko Tea had a clear and easy to read menu and a wonderful ambience. The atmosphere was relaxed and had a large wall full of magazines and books for one to browse at their leisure. Games were neatly stacked near the magazines and books and the caf� layout was inviting and warm. The menu is no longer clear and easy to read and the ambience is but a former shade of what it once was. Granted, bubble tea has been added to their menu, their magazines and games are still present, and they now offer free WiFi, but the overall tone of the place has shifted. I believe this was mostly due to the bad vibes that having cluttered café windows induce (never clutter your windows, café owners!) and the overall bitchiness of the woman I ordered from. I also couldn’t help but notice the noise levels were incredibly high. Part of this is due to the fact that the café is solely counter-based and thus the noise of bubble tea preparation invades the general seating, but the majority of blame can be pointed at poor acoustics. It seemed impossible for anyone sitting next to each other to hear one another, so they had to raise their voices rather high.

To get this review series off to a rough start, my control tea (basic lemon iced tea) was not available. Instead, I opted for the only relative in the lemon flavor species they had available and ordered a lemon-lime iced tea. Once I had my drink in hand, I gratefully exited into the bustling (but less irritating) world of the Ave and took my first savoring sip. And…

It had to have been the most disgusting bubble tea (much less food product) I have ever had! The tapioca was cooked too fast so that it had a molted rock-hard and biodegraded texture that reminded me of things one would never want in their mouth. I could have forgiven the woman behind the counter if only the tapioca was disgusting, but the actual tea was far worse. The taste was so saccharine and sharp that I’m convinced it was straight-up artificial fruit flavoring without tea- it certainly left that sinking-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach feel that a cup of pure saccharine syrup would. Of course, my stomach was not the only part of my body adversely affected; the back of my tongue and throat were plagued by the sharp sting of nastiness until I was able to cleanse my palate with a good dousing of two full glasses of water and Listerine.

Gingko Tea, you were a puss-filled broil in my side. Shame on you for violating my love for bubble tea.

The Rating:

Ambience: 7 out of 10

Tapioca Texture: 0 out of 10

Drink Quality: 5 out of 10 (as cat piss would have been worse)

Recommendation: Flee!

This is an ongoing series of bubble tea reviews in Seattle. The control tea for each review is a basic lemon iced tea with a jasmine base (when available). Clearly, the ideas expressed here are my personal opinions and thus are not the end of your world should you disagree.


  1. I just did a half-assed temporary fix on the comment layout until I get the better version working. I got sick of thinking that I should fix them and then not doing anything because it's too much work.
    As for the time, maybe it's because it's Pacific Time and not computer based. It's not my fault you're in Europe.

  2. Sorry to hear your old stand-by tea shop went bad! A fun place for bubble tea is Gossip, on King St in the international district. It's full of fashionable kids. The ones behind the counter are nice.

  3. Thanks for the info! I was planning on hitting the I-District later this week and reviewing some places around there. I'm not really familiar with the food there, so Gossip gives me somewhere to start.

  4. Poor Gingko Tea. They used to be my favorite place to hang out. But you're right, the ambience was ruined when the new management came. It's kinda like what just happened to the Ave Still Life.

  5. Oh hey! You fixed the comments!
    But why does it say it's 8:49 when it's really 4:49 for me?

  6. There. Now the comments are fixed. Though, the yellow on blue kind of bothers me. But it's certainly better than before.

  7. that is one cluttered looking window.

  8. Ooh, the new comment design rocks! And that was a great review of a shitty tea shop. Well done. Though I still hate bubble tea… hmm.