Fresh on the block, Nuttea (pronounced “Nut-Tea”) brings Kitsilano a fresh and forward approach on classic bubble-tea.
What sets the company apart is one very key ingredient: mylk, not milk. If you have a nut allergy, please don’t be that person walking in blatantly unaware that nuts are served here. But, hey! Nuttea is 100% Vegan!
Nuts, nuts, nuts! There are nuts everywhere, walnut, macadamia nuts, cashews, almonds and hazelnuts. Ohhh my gosh. For heaven’s sake, finally milk and nuts come together. Side note, I’ve been drinking milk alternative for years; I switched over to soya milk first but as it foams more than oat, I then took a liking to oat more as I would get more milk in a café latte.
My daughter goes to class next to a large bubble tea giant, so I frequent for a mango milk tea all too often. This is not that kind of place. Nuttea can also be served cold or hot, with tapioca pearls, less sugar or no ice, but there is a huge textural difference in the product.
Nuttea tastes less like milk and more like the flavour profile of the drink. The base is a jasmine green tea, added mylk and topped off with their “nut cream”. So what is this Nut Crème? It’s a thick and rich thicker-then-whip-cream consistency foamy topping that is scooped on-top of the tea. Five nuts are baked, cold-pressed and whipped (like a meringue) to what Nuttea calls it their Nut Mylk.
Nuttea might be new to us in Vancouver, but it’s already become a hit-franchise in Hong Kong and Taiwan since 2017 (founded in Taiwan). Owners Karry Wan and John Tsang are excited to be in the Kitsilano neighbourhood, “we were adamant to not open a location in Burnaby or Richmond first, this would have right away labelled us, and we wanted to have Nuttea open for a wider audience,” said Karry. The previous tenants at 1958 West 4th Avenue ran a smoothie and juice bar (Sejuiced) so locals feel like they still are able to have a sip of something sweet, now just taking on a new texture. Although Nuttea is a franchise, Kerry and John have added their own unique touches that add not only to the meaning of Nuttea’s philosophy, but also their own.
Upon walking in the shop you’ll notice a large blue dot on the wall to your left, “LOVE ANIMALS PEACE W/ EARTH,” this is also displayed on their hot take-away cups. As I sit and chat with Karry I began to understand the harmony why she and her husband chose Nuttea as a business they put their heart (and savings) into. The couple are dog-parents to three pups, ages 13, 11 and 4.
Karry moved from Hong-Kong to Vancouver when she was in high school and returned home after finishing her associate degree at Douglas College. Back in Hong Kong, during a late-night swim, Karry was saved dramatically from deep waters by a hunky swim-instructor, John, who handed Karry a bubble tea when she came to – or at least, that’s the far-fetched story we are going to tell you here. Karry day-dreamed during her desk job about bubble tea for many fortnights (this we aren’t bluffing you about), in specific, a Nuttea which had opened close to her office. Forward two years later it was 2019 and Hong Kong demonstrators, protestors, democracy and government upheaval created an unsafe environment for Hongkongers. Karry and John packed their bags (and their dogs) and decided to move back to Vancouver where they would at least have the comfort of Karry’s parents close by. A few years later, Karry knew it was time to ditch the dental clinic and go nuts deep in her dreams.
“We are very lucky, the headquarters don’t have rules that will limit us to creating a beautiful environment for our guests!” said Karry, “These are the landmarks of Kitsilano! The H.R McMillan Center over there, the Marine Museum…” – a wall mural by Andrew McGuire. The shop also has numerous live foliage lining the walls.
If you haven’t already read above, Kerry loves animals. She wants to use the café as a space where animal rights and animal community volunteering opportunities can be listed on their community wall. “We would also like to open this space for artists to have small work-shops and engage our community,” Wan said.
And her community has greatly expanded in the six months they have been open. That Sunday afternoon we chatted, seven new soon-to-be-regular customers walked in, none of them had tried Nuttea before!
We had our taste with three of the café’s top sellers: a cold Strawberry Tea W/Nut Cream, cold Matcha Nut Mylk Tea and this time served hot, Earl Grey Tea W/ Chocolate Nut Cream.
The Matcha Mylk tea is perfect for those who actually want to taste matcha, not just see a green coloured drink. The Earl Grey tea w/ chocolate nut cream I had on a chilly weekend so fitting to get a hot drink and it hit the spot. Customers are given a small wooden spoon to scoop the chocolatey nut cream off the top before sticking a compostable straw to slurp up the rest. The texture of the nut cream is comparable to a very soft and airy mouse. Saving the most unexpected flavour blast for last: strawberry tea w/nut cream. I exclaimed: “Wow this tastes like actual strawberries.” – “That’s because it is real strawberries. We use about a quarter quart to make each drink,” John explained.
For about $8.00 and change, a large cup of local fruit tea and delicious sweet topping is waiting for you on Fourth Ave. Not to mention a young couple that would be delighted to talk all about animal rights.
They’ve got specials up rotating listed on the front window too, at the moment it’s for UBC students and an on-going discount for those who work in the neighbourhood.
Disclosure: Nuttea is not tested on animals; Warning, your pets might get into tea parties.
Peanuts are present on site; don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Find Nuttea at 1958 West 4th Ave., Vancouver.