Purtea Serves Boba With Vibes On Ingleside's Ocean Avenue

Tracy Zhou brought her social media-friendly aesthetic to the avenue and created a fun hang-out.

Woman by sign that reads "Purtea".
Tracy Zhou brought Purtea to Ingleside's Ocean Avenue after operating solo. | Anne Marie Kristoff/Ingleside Light

Purtea is Ingleside’s new vibey hangout spot.

Owner and former Ingleside resident Tracy Zhou went from operating a walk-up-only shop by herself to expanding into a larger brick-and-mortar along Ocean Avenue with extra hands to help. Since October when she took over the former Mealtime Cafe space, Zhou has hit the ground running and hasn’t looked back.

“This has always been a dream of mine to open up a little boba shop or a little cafe,” Zhou said. “I’ve been really passionate about food. I love cooking. I love baking. I've always loved creating stuff for people to enjoy. That's just what makes me happy. When I can make something and someone tells me they like it or it's good. That's what brings me joy.”

Its name, pronounced Per-Tea, comes from Zhou's favorite color purple, and is a play on words that sound like the word pretty. Customers have also called it "pure tea" which Zhou feels is also fitting since they use freshly brewed pure teas in their drinks.

Purtea’s expansive menu is thoughtfully crafted by Zhou. All items are made to order with fresh ingredients. Several drinks they serve include milk and fruit teas that start at $4.95 in addition to espresso fruit lattes and a butterfly pea flower tea series that start at $5.95 and more. Milk-based drinks come with non-dairy milk or with their signature milk blend. Toppings like honey boba, crystal boba, flavored jellies and more can be added on for $0.50.

They also serve a wide variety of food options from popcorn chicken bites, french fries and pan-fried pork and shrimp dumplings to rice plates with grilled pork chops or fried chicken steak and more that vary in price from $5.75 to $13.95. Some options include homemade sauces like black pepper, curry, teriyaki and gravy.

Barista Nikita Sehgal, among the first hired at the shop, found a new love for boba drinks thanks to her time at Purtea.

“There’s a lot of cool drinks,” Sehgal said. “It’s definitely expanded my drink palate. I used to be a really picky eater but I love trying new things now.”

While operating a new and larger space has come with obstacles like attracting business and fear of being broken into like the Mealtime Cafe was, Zhou wants her boba shop to be a go-to spot for people to meet new friends or create new memories.

“Purtea is a spot where people can come in and enjoy good food, enjoy good drinks with good company,” Zhou said. “I hope the efforts that me and my team put in really shine through in all of our products and stuff.”


Address: 1422 Ocean Ave.
Hours: Open every day except Tuesdays, from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Phone: 415-347-7089
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