I am, some might say, a boba tea fiend. There’s just something about a chewy drink that scratches an itch in the back of my brain—it’s the only drink that I will spend over seven dollars on without batting an eyelash.
Much to my excitement, I found out that Cox Dining Hall is now home to Nom Station, a local company that serves lunch food and boba tea. To soothe my anxiety on the first day of classes (why is my to-do list already a mile long?), I tried the Thai tea with tapioca pearls. I had heard mixed reviews and wanted to see for myself.
If you, too, are a boba fiend, you’ll know that there are a few things that make a good drink: sweetness, tea taste, boba chewiness and ice levels. Nom Station’s Thai Tea is exactly what I want: so sweet that two more sips would send my blood glucose levels into the stratosphere. But—and this is critical— it isn’t just sugar water. The tea had a nice flavor, and I definitely would have enjoyed it even if I wasn’t toeing the line between sugar high and the need for an insulin injection.
Additionally, the boba was cooked nicely, and the ice levels were high enough to keep the drink from boiling in the Georgia heat, but low enough to feel like I was getting my money’s worth (I’m looking at you, Kaldi’s).
Speaking of places with questionable avocado toast execution, Nom Station seems to be missing the mark when it comes to price versus uniform quality in the eyes of my peers.
Maddy Schulte (24C) posted a picture to her Snapchat story of her “woefully disappointing” $9 Nom Station avocado toast takeout, in which the avocado was haphazardly sliced and barely clinging to the bread. She said she still holds out hope for the boba, which has also met mixed reviews among students.
These sentiments are a far cry from the images and reviews on Nom Station’s Facebook page. The page is filled with colorful, delectable pictures of their food and 15 five-star reviews. At Emory, things are a little less vibrant. The frustration lies primarily in the price of the items – which can turn out powdery, sloppily presented or inconsistent.
Just as frustrating for me is the lack of available feedback mechanisms. I try to never morph into a fully-evolved Karen – especially at a worker just trying to make minimum wage – but the current ways to provide feedback are a filling out a form or taking part in the Food Advisory Committee Emory (FACE) … which seems to be created in an effort to maintain just that. The link for the FACE page doesn’t even work, which makes it exceedingly difficult to gauge if the thoughts of myself and my peers will ever be translated into direct action by the person who is actually yeeting the avocado onto the toast.
Nom Station’s window to shift its image is closing rapidly; once the word has spread regarding their products — one way or another — their fate is pretty much set. And when we’re not checking things off our mile-long to-do lists, Emory students are doing one of two things: lamenting the frequency of OPUS crashes during course registration, or talking.
There is still time yet, and I really hope Nom Station is here to stay. Nothing soothes my nerves like nicely-cooked tapioca pearls.
This prompts me to wonder: is this lack of quality just a growing pain as the company adjusts to the fast-paced demands of Cox during lunch rush? Will Nom Station survive at Emory? And, in a rare moment of introspection, why am I spending–or gambling–more than Georgia minimum wage on a drink?