Taiwanese Tea Shop ‘Chatime’ Opens in Federal Hill

| September 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

Taiwanese tea, smoothie, and juice shop Chatime, which has more than 1,000 locations in Asia and around the world, opened its second Maryland location this month at 1114 Light St. in Federal Hill. The first-floor storefront was the former longtime home of Morstein’s Jewelers.

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.

Ilagen and her contractor David Lau, who is also the owner of the White Marsh location, completely renovated the space to include a kitchen, ordering counter, and large dining room. It only has a couple of tables at this time, but Ilagen plans on adding many more to fill the dining room. The space is highlighted by wood flooring, a hardwood accent wall with a Chatime logo, green wall features, and posters of Chatime’s 80-plus drink combinations.

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. Chatime Federal Hill will also offer Thai Coffee Milk Tea.

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

Ilagen will be adding food in the future that will include Taiwanese-style fried chicken wings, filets, and nuggets, plus fried calamari and french fries.

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.

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 as well as a draw with international residents including those who work and study at Johns Hopkins.

Chatime Federal Hill opens at 11am every day and will stay open until 8pm on Sundays and Mondays, 9pm on Tuesday to Thursday, and 930pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Chatime has eight employees. Ilagen is still working at Johns Hopkins while she runs the new tea shop.

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Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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