Taiwanese Tea Shop ‘Chatime’ Coming to Federal Hill

| January 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

Taiwanese tea, smoothie, and juice shop Chatime, which has more than 1,000 locations in Asia and around the world, will be opening the company’s second Maryland location at 1114 Light St. in Federal Hill. The first-floor storefront, which was the former longtime home of Morstein’s Jewelers, has been under renovation in recent months as it was being marketed for a new tenant.

The franchise owner of Chatime Federal Hill is Baltimore County resident Dane Ilagen. She grew up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and went to college in her family’s home country of the Philippines. While in the Philippines, Ilagen developed a love for Chatime and she was thrilled when a location popped up at The Avenue at White Marsh. Ilagen moved to the United States in 2013, taking a nursing position at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Ilagen decided she wanted to open her own franchise and began looking at other locations in Harford County, Canton, Fells Point, and Locust Point before deciding on the Federal Hill location. She said she loves Federal Hill and was very excited this space was available.

Construction is getting underway on the space and Ilagen hopes to open the shop in April. It will have an order counter, a bar looking out onto Light St., and table seating.

As cha translates to tea in Mandarin, Chatime means teatime. Chatime offers an extensive menu of beverages including milk teas; Oriental pop tea which are sparkling drinks; fresh fruit smoothies and slushies; mousses which have a thicker latte-type foam; fruit teas; QQ teas which have double toppings; fresh teas; and homemade juices. Unlike the White Marsh location, Chatime Federal Hill will offer a coffee menu as well.

The menu is a variety of hot and cold beverages. Types of teas include green tea, black tea, oolong tea, and matcha. Fresh fruits in drinks include mango, strawberry, lemon, banana, grapefruit, peach, pomegranate, guava, winter melon, and apple.

Chatime offers different pearls for the drinks, often referred to bubble tea. These include the traditional black tapioca pearls, grass jelly pearls, pudding pearls, coconut pearls, red bean pearls, rainbow jelly pearls, coffee jelly pearls, white pearls, mango pearls, and oreo crumbs.

Ilagen said drinks will be about $4.

Ilagen said Chatime offers drinks for those looking for a morning caffeine burst, a refreshing drinks, to feel better, and/or for dessert. She said many of the drinks offer anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in antioxidants. With Knockout Fitness right next door, Ilagen is going to look into adding drinks with a protein boost.

With a large menu that is likely a new experience to many customers, Ilagen said she will offer many samples and will then help customers out by asking what type of flavors they are into whether that be fruity, sweet, chocolate, or bitter. She recommends figuring out your favorite drinks before adding toppings.

Ilagen is considering adding food, including bao sandwiches, in the future.

Chatime Federal Hill will likely be open 10am to 9pm on Sunday to Thursday and 10am to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Ilagen said she may expand her hours in the morning if Chatime is popular with the morning coffee crowd.

Chatime will have about six employees and Ilagen plans to continue working at Johns Hopkins while she runs the new tea shop.

Ilagen noted Chatime White Marsh has attracted a very international crowd of individuals who are familiar with the shop from their home countries. She’s hoping Chatime Federal Hill will be popular with the locals, but will also be a draw with international residents including those who work and study at Johns Hopkins.

Ilagen is excited to finally make her own Chatime franchise a reality. She was hoping to open a business more than a year ago, but was delayed due to the passing of her mother. She will spend the next few months overseeing construction and training her staff, and hopes those interested in Chatime will head up to the White Marsh location to get familiar with the concept.

Photo below courtesy of Chatime White Marsh

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