IHADay: a combination experience

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This image shows a person standing behind a counter. The kitchen is industrial with clean metal, and the person is wearing glasses and a kitchen apron. The top image shows the person shaking bubble tea in a metal cup, and the bottom image shows them pouring it into a glass.
Where else will you find a bubble tea bartender? Victoria Baht

Here you can be treated to both a drink and a show! 

In downtown Regina, located at #105 2300 Broad Street, I recently found a café and bubble tea bar like no other. This café, inside a cozy building, is known as IHADay. You can find bubble tea, coffee, mocktails, and desserts, all of which are served with a special twist! The owners and the servers in the store take the time and dedication to use bartending skills to make your drinks. 

I stopped in at IHADay for the first time. I discovered them on Instagram due to the fact that they did their soft opening just over a month ago. I thought it would be a great time to drop by and see what this new local business was all about. As I took time to drop by, I enjoyed a nice beverage, talked to the owner to get coverage about this business, and got the full experience (which I can tell you from the conversation I had with the owner is important). 

I will first start by talking about the history and the inspiration of this location. Ray Chien, the owner of IHADay, wanted to tell me a bit about its history and the reason why this store location is set up the way it is. Chien recently opened a bubble tea shop back in 2017 and was working as a barista. According to Chien, the main inspiration for this new location was drawn up because “sometimes being a barista can be boring, and not too many ideas you can put into [the process] when making bubble tea. I wanted to create art using something to create coffee and bubble tea. So, I started to use a style like bartending.” On social media, we often find bartenders making special drinks and cocktails that contain alcohol. Not everyone can or wants to drink alcohol, so why should they be left out of the bartending experience? Chien noted this as part of the inspiration for the shop, and I fully agree that it is a unique experience and has an atmosphere that’s not typical in Regina businesses.  

Not only does the owner own this business and run it, they also helped design the store. “When I designed this store, I designed everything. I wanted an environment where people would like to stay in. I wanted to do a coffee shop, but I also wanted a chill place to socialize and enjoy your drink, and who you are with.”  

Now that we know the history, the inspiration, and why it is designed the way it is, let’s take a moment and recognize two important parts of the business: the product and experience. When I walked in, I was welcomed and given my individual menu. It gives off a dine-in experience as you can take the menu to the side, decide and debate what you are going to get and all the additional toppings you desire. Based on the menu, they had plenty of options for bubble tea. They have some classics that you may recognize, such as milk tea, matcha tea, and brown sugar. They also have some coffee to enjoy with a double shot of espresso. They may even have specials, depending on the week.  

I enjoyed a strawberry bubble tea with added bubble toppings and coconut jelly. This drink is exceptionally good, some of the best bubble tea I personally have ever had. Whenever I have bubble tea, it normally comes too cold or with lots of ice. Not this one. It is a very nice drink, smooth, and had the perfect ratio of toppings as well.  

As the owner started to make the drink, I got to see the magic happen. It started off with just making a basic drink, and while I was watching, I got to see the cup be shaken aggressively, be thrown over the shoulder, tapped on the counter, and end with a super smooth pour. It was very cool to see and left a good impression. For me, it was good to see the owner take their time making my drink while using fresh ingredients that just added to the taste and the experience.  

This is exactly what Chien wanted from his business. After the conversation I had with Chien, spending time in the environment, and tasting the product, I personally say his claims match the outcome. I enjoyed my time down at IHADay and I plan to be back soon! I hope you Carillon readers take some time to go and check out this café and bubble tea bar. It is not just about the drink, it is about the vibes, experience, ingredients, and performance.   

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