Refresh Tea Pop-Up On Ocean Avenue Closes

Refresh Tea closed at the end of December 2021. Alex Mullaney/Ingleside Light

Tea fans have one less option in the neighborhood now that Refresh Tea closed for good.

The pop-up operated out of the former Sno Crave Tea House location on the 1100 block of Ocean Avenue up until the start of the new year.

Sno Crave closed several months before the pandemic. Noodles and Things, picked up the lease, and almost opened in the space but was thwarted by the pandemic and a new law banning gas stoves, according to owner Kevin Lu.

Refresh Tea’s goal was to explore a tea drink concept without boba — tapioca balls — and other toppings.

“We’re not competing with the boba genre that is popping up once a day, every day, on every single street,” Lu said. “We’re trying to go back to basics, and we’re trying to create kind of a new concept here.”

The shop’s offerings seemed particularly popular with students from Riordan High School during the lunch hour.

“Unfortunately they don’t have tapioca and are not expecting to have any toppings anytime soon because they want to focus on perfecting their drinks,” Iris C. posted on Yelp. “I respect that and the drinks are plenty delicious without any toppings.”

The closure contributes to the Ocean Avenue retail district’s whopping 30% rate of inactive storefronts, according to an analysis by the Ingleside Light conducted on Jan. 12, 2022.

The avenue has many other tea offerings such at Mr. Green Bubble Cafe and Indulgence Tea Bar. Many restaurants now serve milk tea and other varieties such as Jo Jo’s Cafe.