Lonely Planet Writer

Instagram get ready for this - cheese tea is a real thing and has arrived in LA

It’s not uncommon to add milk or tapioca pearls to tea, but have you heard of cheese tea? The surprising drink craze that originated in Asia has just landed in Downtown Los Angeles at Little Fluffy Head Café.

The café is making the intriguing beverage by combining traditional tea with locally-sourced, hand-whipped “fluffy” cream cheese or white cheddar cheese and a touch of Himalayan pink salt. Combos like Camouflage Matcha — an iced matcha latte with creme brûlée cream, and Dirty Mess Milk Tea with creme brûlée cream and crushed Oreos over black milk tea, round out the menu of oolong, black, and green tea-based drinks.

That’s a layer of rich, creamy cheese sitting on top of the tea. Gulp. Image by Courtesy Little Fluffy Head Café

The shop’s owner Jenny Zheng got the idea while traveling in Asia last summer. “Cheese tea was becoming extremely viral on social media — so naturally just like any other millennial, I just had to try it!” she says. “My initial reaction was ‘Whoa, I’ve never tasted anything like this before!’ Immediately, I knew I had to bring cheese tea back with me to the US.” Los Angeles was a fitting home for the delightfully quirky tea shop, she says. “The diversity within culture and the general open-mindedness of our city really adds to people’s willingness to try our unique drinks here at Little Fluffy Head Cafe.”

Putting her engineering background to good use, Zheng also designed a special lid for the tea that delivers an ideal combination of flavors — a mix of bitterness from the oolong tea with the sweet, salty taste of the cheese — in every sip. While she prefers the bolder flavor of black tea with white cheddar cream cheese, she says customers are loving the rose oolong with original cream cheese topping.

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While a Taiwanese bubble tea shop debuted in Queens, New York this year and serves a selection of cheese tea, Little Fluffy Head is the first West Coast shop dedicated to the sweet and salty drink. Cheese teas start at $5.50.