I’m certain this place is a bigger deal than I’m aware of based on how many customers came in on a Tuesday afternoon during Malaysia’s CMCO. BaWangChaJi is a tea shop from Yunnan that emphasizes aesthetics in everything they create – even their takeaway bags are stunning.
Ambience & Amenities
All six of BaWangChaJi’s KL locations have a gorgeous interior design that’s well above what’s necessary for a tea shop. We visited their Kepong Menjalara store. When peeking in through the windows, the seating area is so fancy that it could be confused for a jewellery shop. The high tables really do look like jewellery displays from afar. The tables are topped with a zen garden that you can stare at while enjoying your drink. Four-person booths with squashy cushions are set up next to the big windows.
Getting a table here can be a battle. As I said earlier, we came on a Tuesday afternoon and it was still swarmed. We were lucky and got a booth immediately without having to fight anyone for it. While having our drinks, I witnessed many customers looking lost and disappointed at the full house before having to get their orders for takeaway. At one point Mark went to the washroom, and I noticed a couple of groups hovering in a state of cat-like readiness, eager to pounce on our table as soon as it was clear that we were leaving.
The Kepong BaWangChaJi location, likely more so than the others, feels almost aggressively Chinese. A tea map I was hoping to glean information from was entirely in Chinese, and even the girl manning the register barely knew English. After giving her my drink order, she appeared to have a mild freak out before disappearing and a young man took her place. I guess customers usually order in Mandarin? I almost feel lucky that the menu was even in English.
There is a washroom at this location in the back corner. Inside there are two small enclosed rooms. One has a western-style toilet, while the other has a squatter and a tiny sink. Both of these had toilet paper. There is a single sink with soap in the main washroom area but no paper towels.
The BaWangChaJi menu has four main offerings: tea macchiato, milk tea, premium brew and fresh fruit series. Boba pearls, grass jelly and other popular tea extras are nowhere to be seen on the menu. BaWangChaJi knows that we all can’t get enough milk tea, so the brand created some buzz by offering their milk tea drinks in a huge 700ml cup as the standard size.
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The Osmanthus Black Tea (RM9.90) comes wrapped in a napkin, which doesn’t do justice to the pretty plastic bottle underneath. A heaping spoonful of black tea strips settles at the bottom, dotted with white osmanthus flowers. A small filter is fitted into the neck of the bottle so that you don’t get mouthfuls of tea leaves when drinking. This is a cold drink, so it’s a refreshing beverage on a hot day, albeit a fancy one. The taste is lightly sweet but this won’t help you get caffeinated. When it was empty, this bottle was so lovely that it felt wrong to just throw it in the garbage and I immediately began thinking of how to re-purpose it. I can tell you that yes you can pop the filter off with help of a flat-head screwdriver. Then you can fill it with your own tea for a stylish cold brew on the go!
Take note that the Snowy White (RM14.90) can take up to 15 minutes for the tea to brew (same with the Snowy Black). The Snowy White is an oolong tea with cream whereas the Snowy Black is just black puer tea. Maybe I was enjoying the vibe so much but the 15 minutes I had to wait for the drink flew by. The Snowy White does not come in a giant 700ml cup like the other milk teas, but I feel that this drink is so rich that this smaller volume is just fine. This is cold like a boba tea so it was immediately drinkable when I received it. On top are chopped candied pecans on a mountain of cream. BaWangChaJi does not skimp on the whipped cream. I was able to eat spoonfuls of it and still had some floating at the bottom of my cup. While the oolong taste is clear, this is a very milky drink and I would have preferred a bolder tea taste.
BaWangChaJi, despite their visual elegance, is not an affront to your wallet. They are priced similarly to other tea shops that I’ve seen so you’re not paying more for a fancy printed cup here. Their tea macchiatos and Snowy Series are very unique and would be what draws me into one of their locations again. These drinks are very rich and heavy, but if I could stomach it, I would return to BaWangChaJi.
Price for 2 Pax: RM24.80
Snowy White: RM14.90
Osmanthus Black Tea: RM9.90
No. 29, Jalan 11/62a Bandar Menjalara (Kepong), 52200 Kuala Lumpur, and 5 other locations in Sri Petaling, Sunway Velocity Mall, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya & Bukit Jalil City
Opening Hours: Daily, 10/11am – 10pm
Alcohol Served: No