Spilling Tea: Cafe LaTTea
A hub crowded with students, boba and studying
“Just the regular?”
Sophomore Nitya Yerraguntla walked into Cafe LaTTea as usual, patiently waiting for her turn to order. But as she reached the counter, she noticed the employees were already at work on her pearl milk tea.
With a prime location near many restaurants and businesses on Main Street such as Somi Somi and Target, Cafe LaTTea attracts many students, especially those from Cupertino HS and MVHS. Since she was in middle school, Yerraguntla has been going to the cafe with her friends about three times a week. Sometimes she goes to do homework or study, and other times, she goes to simply hang out with her friends.
“I prefer to go to Cafe LaTTea because I like the study environment and the lighting in the place and the music,” Yerraguntla said. “I just like how everybody else is also studying. There’s a lot going on, but it’s still relatively quiet.”
Like Yerraguntla, senior Pallavi Komma frequently goes to Cafe LaTTea after school to study with friends. According to Komma, Cafe LaTTea has several advantages over other local study places because of its cozy setting that has ambient lighting and a variety of seating options.
“I prefer it because places like Starbucks and the library are at two ends of the spectrum – there’s either a lot of talking or a lot of noise or a lot of distractions or it’s way too quiet for me,” Komma said. “I thought this was kind of the perfect mix where if I brought my friends I could still talk and it wouldn’t be a distraction to other people, but I still could eat there and study there.”
In addition to the ambience that Cafe LaTTea provides, Yerraguntla explained that she has always had positive experiences with the employees at Cafe LaTTea.
“One time, I was holding five cups of boba, and I opened the door and somebody bumped into me, so I spilled all five of them outside of LaTTea,” Yerraguntla said. “That was definitely an embarrassing experience that I’ve had, but all of the workers were super nice and cleaned it up for me.”
In fact, 2017 alumnus and Cafe LaTTea employee, Alex Lee, explained that his favorite part about working at Cafe LaTTea is interacting with his fellow employees.
“Even on bad days when I work, like co-workers help kind of forget about the stress and help to relieve it,” Lee said. “Even if we’re very busy and have a big rush, we’re able to have fun and joke around.”
Lee added that the quality of menu items, like the boba and famous brick toast, is a key contributor to the success of the cafe. More specifically, he mentioned that Cafe LaTTea pays close attention to balancing its flavors, preparing fresh toppings, and improving and adding to the menu options.
“Compared to other tea places, our tea is actually – it actually tastes like tea, as other places are a little watered down,” Lee said. “And our toppings are also pretty diverse. I think LaTTea kind of excels in grass jelly because they make it in the back.”
Komma, on the other hand, mainly attributes Cafe LaTTea’s success to its ability to attract new friend groups every year.
“I think it does well because every year a new group of upperclassmen will start going there as their regular spot, and then they’ll bring their friends and eventually have friends in younger grades come,” Komma said. “It’s just kind of a cycle of rinse and repeat – more people are coming.”
For many years, Cafe LaTTea has been serving MVHS students, whether that means providing a space to study or allowing students to relax and unwind with their friends. Despite competition from other businesses, Yerraguntla explained that Cafe LaTTea will remain her go-to-spot.
“It’s a space that no one can replicate,” Yerraguntla said. “All of the Cupertino HS students go there too. It’s known as the hangout spot in Cupertino. Because they have that [reputation], it’s hard to replace.”