Ube drinks at Cafe86

“Cafe86 – Ain’t your ordinary cafe.”

Cafe86 is a small cafe chain that promises an innovative approach to the typical drink and dessert cafe, hence their tagline. By incorporating ube, or purple yam, into many of its 50 beverage and snack choices, the cafe utilizes this growing trend.

For that reason, I was expecting a sleek and modern interior when I arrived at Cafe86’s Chino location. Even the storefront—glass panels resembling a skyscraper—displayed it. However, when I entered the cafe, I was greeted by an industrial and hip vibe. Exposed brick and planks blended with the cement walls and glass panels. The mellow lighting also added to the calm ambience.

I ordered a house milk tea and an ube milk tea. While waiting for my drinks, I took a seat on a tufted sofa and looked around at various details that were everywhere. Boxes on the wall were filled with license plates, toy cars and action figures. A black, vintage chandelier and mason jar lamps lit up the seating areas. A couple of tables with intricately designed Victorian legs were set next to metal chairs and couches had wooden boxes as tables. A library locker filled with books was next to an oddly-placed ATM machine. These design elements really contributed to the cafe’s unique atmosphere.

Although I’m not the biggest fan of tea, I was pleasantly surprised by both drinks.The house milk tea’s sweetness was balanced by its smooth, milky flavor. It was unexpectedly rich and had a slight chocolate aftertaste. On the other hand, the ube milk tea was a perfect blend of the traditional flavors of milk tea and the doughy texture of the ube. I thought that the taste represented the cafe itself: a mix of modern flare and antique style. Each drink was priced at $3.85, which I consider a fair price for their size and quality.

I would recommend Cafe86 if you are looking for a unique location to hang out with your friends or grab a refreshment. Despite the small size, the cafe offers good drinks and a relaxing environment to spend time in.

By Ethan Park, Staff writer
Photo by Ethan Park 

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