On a calm stretch of South Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills, you’ll find barBasanti. Poised between a candy store and an ice cream lab, the tea bar offers myriad options for that morning or mid-afternoon pick-me-up: coffee and tea beverages that range from organic brews to frozen smoothies blended with banana, yogurt, and the ever-popular green tea matcha.
After a decade of success in Mexico, the brand’s first US outpost opened in April 2015. Upon entering the red tiled space you’ll be confronted with floor-to-ceiling cubed shelving filled with canisters containing over 50 loose-leaf teas from India, China, and Japan. To personalize the experience, a tactile display allows customers to see, smell, and touch the green, white, or black tea combinations prior to choosing their brew. Taste profiles range from the Blue Moon, a flavored white tea blended with freeze-dried cranberries and rose petals; to the Nest Ruby, a specially fermented tea made of long-living, pressed pu erh.
For the more adventurous, there is a lengthy menu of chai teas; tea espressos, which are brewed in the tea-espresso machine; matcha teas like the delicious Tiger Matcha, a blend of white tea, coconut, green matcha powder, and milk (I chose almond); and frozen blended yogurt teas whose dairy base can either be mixed with matcha and banana, chai and mango, or rooibos and chocolate.
Beware of the treats! Pairing the red velvet white chocolate brownie by Be Luscious Cookies with a fragrant Blue Moon tea-espresso could become a weekly cheat treat.
Marina Chetner is an Australian freelance writer based in Los Angeles.