Tealips Bubble Tea & Coffee

Restaurant: Tealips Bubble Tea & Coffee
Cuisine: Coffee/Tea/Bubble Tea/Desserts
Last visited: June 24, 2011
Location: Burnaby, BC (Burnaby South)
Address: 7139 Arcola Way
Price Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 3 (based on desserts)
Service: 3
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 3

Additional comments:

  • Modern Chinese style tea bar
  • Specializes in loose leaf tea based drinks
  • Health and wellness drinks
  • Quaint/clean/comfortable
  • Home made cookies
  • Home made waffles upon order
  • Selection of fresh dessert waffles
  • Small selection of baked cookies
  • Low fat options
  • Hot/cold drinks
  • Tea/coffee/smoothies/lattes
  • Family friendly
  • Mon-Sat 11am-11:30pm
  • Sun 2pm-11:30pm

**Recommendations: Earl Gray Tea Cookie, Crinkle Chocolate Cookie, and if you like shaved ice they make them really well here.

With a lack of desserts in Burnaby, but dozens of bubble tea houses all along Kingsway, you can now add to the list, another bubble tea place. Don’t roll your eyes just yet though, this one is a bit different. It’s more modern in style and the offerings aren’t your typical bubble teas and coffees. It’s a bit more fancy and they have a small selection of homemade dessert waffles and cookies.

It’s clean, comfortable and open late and you probably wouldn’t know about it unless you lived in the neighborhood. It’s not really a hidden gem, but it’s in a strip mall of a rather residential area and it’s a bit unexpected.

Yes, it is a bubble tea house and they do offer bubble tea, but it’s quality bubble tea and a bit more classy with even a tea bar. The teas are all brewed in house and they don’t have every flavour under the roof like Bubble World does, but they offer fresh fruit flavours, real loose leaf tea flavours, and more sophisticated drinks.

The flavours are limited, but the drink list is still extensive due to the variety of styles in which they’re offered in. With lattes, frappes, smoothies, iced, hot and cold drinks, it’s almost like the Taiwanese version of Starbucks. They even have the soy milk, yogurt, low fat, and ice cream options. It’s definitely more tea and coffee based and although it specializes in drinks, I actually didn’t even try one. I plan on coming back for them though.

This is their “gifts to go” section or “bakery”. It’s not really a bakery or dessert house, but they do offer a selection of packaged home made cookies and Tealips loose leaf tea to go. It’s very charming and it reminded of a Taiwanese bake sale. A lot of their desserts and cookies are Euro-Asian inspired creations, so I was curious to know who was running the show. It also caught me off guard when I saw them making fresh waffles, because that tends to be a Korean thing.

Anyways this was actually my main reason for coming here. I had just come from a disappointing bubble tea experience and I was determined to have the night end on a positive note.

My friend had told me about Tealips “shaved ice” when it first opened, and she was waiting for me to try it. She knew how obsessed I was with the shaved ice milk from Frappe Bliss in Aberdeen Centre in Richmond, and she thought this was offering the same thing. I got the hunch that it was going to be the traditional Taiwanese shaved ice, and it was, but at least it was made a bit gourmet. We were both a little bummed since we had out hearts set on shaved ice milk, but we ended up buying a lot of cookies to make ourselves feel better. Honestly they make pretty good and unique cookies here and sell them at bake sale prices.

Although I wasn’t blown away by anything, Tealips offers up something a bit different than a typical bubble tea place. It kind of reminds me of Michi Waffle & Espresso Bar in downtown Vancouver. Overall Tealips is good for the area and I’d still come back to try their drinks and more of their cookies too!

On the table:

Brussels Waffle2/6

  • A batter based Belgian waffle, fluffy inside, crispy outside, available eat in only. Served with syrup and house special whipped cream. Single $2.85 Double $5.25
  • These were not bad and made fresh upon order, but I’m just not a fan of the flavour of their batter.
  • It’s a little bit floury and almost bread like, so I wasn’t feeling it.
  • It was more like a breakfast waffle than a dessert waffle and it was eggy and reminded me a bit of Eggo Waffles.

  • It was crispy on the outside and soft, fluffy and moist on the inside, but they were a bit bland and you could kind of taste the baking powder.
  • They were topped with icing sugar and served with a side of syrup and store bought whipped cream.
  • Besides Brussels, the best waffles I’ve actually had are from Korea at Didi’s Gaufres – see here. In Vancouver, I actually really enjoy the waffles at Reflections at the Hilton Hotel in Burnaby.

**Liège Waffle2.5/6

  • Brioche bread dough base with chunks of pearl sugar Single $2.95 Double $5.75
  • This was better than the Brussels waffle, but also more like a dessert.
  • I’m super picky with these waffles because I had the pleasure of experiencing many of them in Brussels and The Netherlands.
  • If you’ve never had an authentic one then this will be good, but if you’ve had a real one than this does not do it justice. It kind of comes off as a Liège Waffle knock off.
  • In Vancouver, the closest authentic Liège Waffle I’ve had so far is from Patisserie Lebeau, which were even better than the excellent ones I had at Didi Gaufres in Korea – see The Basic waffle at Didi’s.

  • It’s fresh and made upon order and it’s more like a pastry compared to the Belgian waffle.
  • There was barely any “pearl sugar” (clumps of crystallized sugar that don’t melt) in the waffle and that’s the best part.
  • The crystal sugar clumps used were also not the right kind and the quality wasn’t as great because they didn’t retain their “clump” like quality and crispy crunch.
  • It’s sweet, but not overly sweet and they were decently moist, but they didn’t really have that crispy exterior they should have.
  • I could still kind of taste the baking powder flavour, but if you’re not comparing them to the real deal, they are pretty good.
  • It’s denser, richer, and chewier than the Belgian waffle and closer to the ones offered at Cafe Medina, but I like Medina’s better, and still Patisserie Lebeau‘s the best so far.

Matcha Shaved Ice3/6

  • 100% pure Japanese green tea – Matcha shaved ice, fresh fruit, red bean, ice cream, mochi, condensed milk and nuts $7.50
  • I don’t really care for shaved ice, so this was a 3/6 for me, but for those who like it, it’s a 4/6.
  • For shaved ice, this is actually a very good version of it, and the ice cream is a bonus! However I prefer shaved ice milk from Frappe Bliss any day, although the toppings offered here are better.
  • This was a gourmet shaved ice compared to what most Taiwanese bubble tea places will serve.
  • It’s basically a fresh fruit sundae served over matcha flavoured crushed ice.
  • It was quite pricey, but it was made with care and detail so I guess it’s somewhat justified.
  • It comes in a large mug and it’s loaded with toppings and they’re good quality too.
  • It had fresh strawberries, blueberries, canned pineapples, and a bit of walnuts and almonds over top.

  • There was a ton of red bean and the mochi was their handmade matcha mochi, but they’re not as soft as real mochi should be.
  • The matcha mochi was chewy and it was filled with green bean paste and it taste like those store bought ones, but they are made in house.

  • The shaved ice actually had green tea powder blended right into it. Almost no bubble tea house that I know of will flavour the ice like this intensely, so I really appreciated it.
  • It had a strong matcha flavour and it was even a bit bitter, but it wasn’t really sweet at all.
  • The sweet part came from the ingredients and especially the red bean.
  • I actually ordered the matcha because I love matcha… but you know how I feel about red bean…

… I politely pushed my red beans to the side and there were a ton of them! They actually weren’t too bad though and I prefer them this way as opposed to red bean soup, paste or syrup.

Cocoa Shaved Ice3.5/6

  • 100% pure cocoa, no sugar added. Cocoa shaved ice, fresh fruit, condensed milk, ice cream, mochi and nuts $7.50
  • It’s a jumbo sized mug, but it’s still pricey. It’s not a dessert I’d particularly crave, hence the 3.5/6, but it’s done well!
  • As I said above, for shaved ice, they do a great job with it. However I prefer shaved ice milk from Frappe Bliss any day, although the toppings are higher quality at Tealips.
  • This was a fresh fruit sundae served over cocoa flavoured crushed ice.
  • It was topped with fresh blueberries, frozen raspberries, frozen blackberries, almonds and walnuts and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.
  • I enjoyed the cocoa shaved ice better than the matcha and it really wasn’t that sweet at all.

  • The cocoa was really infused into the ice and it tasted like an icy blend of cocoa milkshake especially after the ice cream melted into it.
  • This one used house made matcha mochi as well, but I’m just not a fan of the ones they make here. They’re chewy and a bit dense and powdery and filled with green bean paste. It tastes like the store bought ones to me and they just get frozen in the ice.
  • It’s actually pretty good if you’re expecting shaved ice and not ice milk. They didn’t lie on the menu, but I should have paid closer attention to what I was ordering.

**Earl Grey Tea Cookie4.5/6

  • $2.75/pack (6)
  • I love Earl Grey flavoured desserts in general, so these caught my eye first.
  • These are small and very light cookies and they are the ideal tea time cookie.
  • It’s a basic shortbread like cookie with Earl Grey tea leaves, and I enjoyed them!
  • They’re very aromatic and floral cookies and they really aren’t that sweet.
  • It’s good quality Earl Grey tea leaves and the Earl Grey isn’t overpowering at all, but noticeable.
  • They’re similar to shortbread cookies, but not as buttery and they’re crunchy, and the crumb doesn’t melt away as easily as shortbread.
  • The tea leaves are roughly crushed throughout and there’s no bitter aftertaste. They’re fine too and not woody so you’re not gnawing on them.
  • I do wish the Earl Grey flavour was more infused throughout and perhaps accented with a hint of orange zest.

Homemade Tealips Cookie3.5/6

  • Handful ingredients of unsweetened coconut & choco chips with walnuts & oats. Low in sodium and calories. $2.95/pack (4)
  • I think they meant healthy ingredients, not “handful”… it’s one of their nutritious snacks.
  • It’s not greasy or oily and not even that sweet, but I liked them, although they’re not memorable.
  • It’s a crispy and nutty cookie with pieces of walnuts and a good amount of soft chocolate chips throughout.
  • It almost remind me of a crunchy Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Cookie meets a Dad’s Oatmeal Cookie, but made with better chocolate.
  • The coconut was finely grounded and I couldn’t really taste it and the oatmeal was ground too so that came unnoticed, but you knew both were in there due to the texture.
  • I could have used more coconut and even some shredded coconut, and the only sweet thing is really the chocolate chips.

Matcha Walnut Cookie – 4/6

  • $2.75/pack (4)
  • I love matcha flavoured anything, and with walnuts it’s even better.
  • If you have them fresh they’re almost like crispy Danish butter cookies, but if you have them a couple days after they’re soft and tender. I enjoyed them both ways.
  • I found the matcha really subtle and I could taste it more in the aftertaste of the cookie.
  • It’s not oily or buttery or very sweet and I wished the walnuts were all throughout rather than just on top as a garnish.

**Crinkle Chocolate Cookie 4/6

  • $2.75/pack (3)
  • These reminded me of the Hazelnut Chocolate Sparkle Cookies from Everything Cafe, but they tasted very different.
  • If you have them fresh they’re soft and if you have them a couple days after they’re crunchy. They’re much better fresh.

  • It’s a soft cookie made with bittersweet cocoa powder so they really aren’t that sweet.
  • It was fluffy and almost like a cakey cookie and there was some real chocolate chips throughout. They were chopped up pieces of chocolate, but they were really tiny and blended in with the texture of the crumb.
  • The flavour was like those Costco chocolate chip muffins, and they were very good!


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  • Linda says:

    mmm the cookies here look pretty good! i’m not really a fan of waffles – i’ve been to michi a while back but didn’t really dig it.. the only ones i like are from medina actually lol

    the shaved ice here looks ok but have you tried this shaved ice place at crystal mall? i forgot what it’s called but they give you so many great toppings! my faves are the sticky red rice and condensed milk! mmm… how come you didn’t get any bbt?

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda- i wasn’t a fan of Michi either… I’m okay with Medina waffles… and Medina’s are from a guy who makes them in Steveston in Richmond. Try La Patisserie Lebeaux… those are the best I’ve had yet. I just came from bubble tea at a disappointing place so Tealips was already by second “bbt” stop lol

  • Harumi says:

    I’m Korean and the shaved ice that the Tealips serves are the greatest in town I think. ( I found your blog and really enjoy reading them 🙂 of course it’s not like frapp’s. I think they are just two different kinds. But I found that the frapp’s were a little too creamy for me. I think it’s more than just ice milk. The texture is some sort of cream.
    The shaved ice is called bingsoo in Korean and you are supposed to mix it all up to enjoy the
    blended taste.

  • Mijune says:

    @harumi – Welcome! Thanks for reading! Yes, Frappe Bliss is serving shaves ice milk, not shaved ice. So they are different. I prefer shaved ice milk over shaved ice because it has more flavour … milk > water 🙂 If you click on my Frappe Bliss post I write about it too! It’s ice milk and not cream so it’s not as creamy as ice cream at all and it’s considered a light dessert. Thanks for your comment Harumi!

  • Harumi says:

    There are many restaurants I want to visit now since reading your reviews. Before I dared not to try so many but it sounds very attracting. Thanks !

  • Mijune says:

    @Harumi – oh good!!!! That’s the best news for me!! I’m so happy to be able to introduce people to new things if they’re willing to try! Thank you for the wonderful comment!

  • Sarah says:

    Why order shaved ice if you only want ice milk?

    Why order something with red beans if you hate them?

  • Mijune says:

    @Sarah – Hi Sarah, “Shaved ice” can come as actual ice (like it was here), or as shaved ice milk… sometimes it’s just the translation. In Taiwan, and in other bubble tea shops in Vancouver, you can order “shaved ice” and sometimes you’ll get lucky and get the flavoured milk versions. I ordered this knowing it was shaved ice, and that’s why I said in the post I prefer shaved ice milk. It’s not that I only wanted ice milk.

    I ordered the red beans because it came with them. I didn’t ask for them. I also want to keep trying red beans until I like them.

    Hope I answered your questions.

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