The main entrance immediately leads to the traditional ordering by the counter. One giant menu is electronically displayed right behind the counter, while on the left-hand side showcases cups of various sizes, and pictures of their vibrant drinks, with descriptions on how and what is this particular drink one customer may want to freshen up their dietary mood. Behind the counter houses a coffee grinder, as I observed one of the workers manually aerating these wonderfully aromatic coffee beans before falling into their crushing fate.
Also on (chilled) display: Macarons
On the right hand-side is where you can chill, gossip, study, provide a mini business meeting, gaze at their giant canvas photography of some of their essential ingredients for their drinks, or even read their donated books from their mini community library. Their seating arrangement is quite variable, from the L-shaped, bar-like setup; to elongated, wooden benches, to the literally higher tables and chairs, which the tush-friendly objects reminded my friend and me of what you'd notice in science labs at school.
Bar-Like Seating (and yes, they don't mind staring at me)
Needs More Paper
Giving is Power
Like the quintessential boba shop, they innocuously listed a few snacks on that computerized menu. My friend and I took some of the opportunities into our cravings.
A boba cafe would seriously stand out in a bizarre, awkward perspective if Popcorn Chicken ($4.50) didn't cross 7 Leaves' minds. There were plenty of these juicy morsels to prick with our wooden skewers. But frankly, the sweet and sour sauce was gravely needed to freshen the poultry's stark flavor, despite its je ne sais quoi seasoning. Another culprit for this incidence was that we requested the spicy level as "mild," rather than my personal inclination.
Finally on food, these may appear as a regular pork bao/steamed mini taco-looking bun, but these quacked. As in: Duck Steamed Buns ($5.00). My friend and I gnawed 3-4 curious bites of our own, slightly sticky piece, and as much as the tenderness and the lack of grease were given a major plus, I think a mini sauce cup of sweet BBQ sauce or Hoisin sauce would have been very reliable for this slightly gamey taste to be heavily obedient.
Nonetheless, their signature drinks are obviously what has made 7 Leaves Cafe successful.
BC = Black Coffee
To last for a few hours constantly reading while staying focused, I steadily sipped onto the Sea Cream Black [Iced] Coffee ($2.50), comprised of more or less 85% of bitter yet concentrated coffee, deliberately mixed and shaken with the 15% rich housemade cream melded with gingerly sea salt. The intensity of caffeine, coming from a 5-foot person who imbibes at least 8 ounces of personal rejuvenation per day, was enough to chat incessantly and fervently about TV trash for perhaps a couple of hours. Or maybe from early afternoon 'til almost midnight, so consuming discretion is advised.
On the next visit I selected the Mung Bean [Jasmine] Milk Tea ($2.95) with the pearly blacks ($0.50)--other extras include egg pudding, grass jelly, and aloe--while my friend curiously went for the salty aforementioned. I find it admirable that the staff can adjust the amount of sweetness of the ordered drinks, and the half-sweetened customization was still terrific enough to bring out the same, earthy and ingenuous mung bean enrichment--blended with pandan leaves--as what was served to me at the aptly calling OG location, while giving off that subtly creamy quality. The boba was graded quite high for its optimal chewiness, warmth, and flavor; a few were glued to each other while orally vacuuming the remaining, but that wouldn't need to spark a fiery complaint.
Amid my few recent visits, I have noticed that the Gandhi quote, written like a Snelling Chart, surrounding the mission of this cafe. I must concur: his words reflected excellently based on the quality, freshness--the "natural deliciousness"--of boba drinks that I have always idolized and yearned, whenever my thirst screams for this category of beverage. Yet, I am actually hoping that the snacks can exemplify the motto.
With that said and the justly competitive pricing, this new cafe was just part of the business boom. *UPDATE* Their 3rd cafe opened at Cypress on February 20, 2014, conveniently located across a community college (occupying a former Korean cafe that I sometimes would study there) & located much more accessibly for me. Cheers to another year of perpetuated success, 7 Leaves!
Grade: B (averaging both drinks and snacks)
7 Leaves Cafe
13481 Euclid St. Suite B & C
Garden Grove, CA 92843