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Tea with a twist at Tea-Ssert
This pre-pandemic photo shows just a couple of options from Tea-Ssert’s flavorful menu, which features a popular horchata-based bubble tea (Photo contributed).

Name of business: Tea-Ssert

Type of business: Bubble tea and dessert café

Location: 3102 Geer Rd., Turlock

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday

Contact information: 209-250-1732

Specialty: Horchata tea base


History of business:

When husband and wife duo Antonio and Zorayda Diaz first opened their bubble tea café Tea-Ssert in February, business was booming. Their future was uncertain in March, however, when the coronavirus pandemic hit and Tea-Ssert was forced to close its doors.

Thanks to a unique menu filled with a wide variety of textures and flavors, a loyal customer base and the power of social media, the business has overcome adversity and doubled their drink sales despite hurdles caused by the virus.

Antonio Diaz says Tea-Ssert’s continued success is thanks largely in part to the Turlock To Go Facebook page, which was first started as a way for the community to share local eats and help businesses struggling during the pandemic.

“We went from selling almost 100 drinks a day to anywhere from 250 to 300,” Antonio said. “The pandemic has honestly been good for us because people are looking for places that give them a lot of choices.”

While Tea-Ssert has a set menu which features different and colorful combinations of flavored tea, they also offer smoothies, slushies and they’re best-selling horchata-based boba teas. The rice milk beverage is a recipe from Zorayda’s grandmother and used as a creamy base for the teas. They make a fresh, new batch every day, Antonio added, and also offer the drink mixed with other flavors popular in Latin America.

“We wanted to offer something that was different from everybody,” Antonio said.

With the loss of students in the dorms at nearby Stanislaus State, Tea-Ssert’s clientele over the past few months has shifted from mostly millennials to a wide variety of ages thanks to word of mouth. With a large menu of toppings and flavors for beverages to desserts like ice cream and donuts, there’s truly something for everyone at the café.

The Diaz family enjoys their new business endeavor so much, in fact, that Antonio is stepping back from his career in real estate and mortgage while Zorayda looks to sell their stereo shop.

“We just love it,” Antonio said.