Restaurant Review: Taiwanese bakery highlights popular culture of Asian cuisine

85°C Bakery Cafe has several locations in Southern California, including Rancho Cucamonga, Chino Hills, Claremont, Tustin, Orange and Irvine. (Justin Yoth | Viewpoints)
By Justin Yoth

A Forbes listed Taiwanese businessman had a vision after visiting a five-star hotel in 2004.

Cheng-Hsueh Wu had the idea that people should be able to enjoy such delights at low costs. He birthed the first 85°C Bakery Cafe in Irvine, California in 2008. 

Now a chain, 85°C is based in Taipei, Taiwan, but can be found in four U.S. states and has grown to over 1,000 locations worldwide.

The cafe received considerable coverage and positive reception, being highlighted by TIME, CNN, NPR and the Travel Channel.

The chain is named after the temperature at which coffee is best consumed, symbolizing balance and flavor. 

The popular culture of Asian cuisine is central to 85°C, which offers smoothies, coffees and cakes, and specializes in baked goods that are prepared freshly and continuously throughout the day. 

Boba, the squishy dark balls often prepared with smoothies or coffees, is just another example of the offerings central to the popularity of Asian cultural cuisine at this spot. 

Restaurant services are up and running at the Irvine location. The bakery remains busy with customers lining up to buy these renowned sweets. Customers walk in a line, pick their treats and place them onto a tray as they gather toward the cashier.

The bakery offers beverages ranging from smoothies to coffees, such as the “Sea Salt Coffee,” and more. It offers up to fifty different types of pastries, bread and cakes. 

Some of my personal favorites are the milk custard cakes and the garlic jalapeno cream cheese bread. They are easy to eat and soft to the touch. 

Other personal picks are the swirl chocolate or matcha sponge cakes, the blueberry cream cheese breads and the almond “Half Moon” cake, which is similar to an angel cake. It is especially light, airy and spongy. The garlic and cheese breads never fail in taste, and are always excellent in quality.

Most of these desserts are not too sweet and go well with coffee and other beverages. 

The bakery also offers the “Black Forest” — a delicious concoction of chocolate, cherries and vanilla cream. 

The chain warns that its equipment is shared with common food allergens, so be advised. That being said, lots of the foods contain gluten, sodium and a high sugar content, so limiting your selection will be desirable if you are concerned with your daily calorie intake. 

There’s no need to worry about the quality of the food shifting between locations. The chain adopts its specialized recipes throughout all of its locations. 

In accordance with the reopenings, the bakeries have been catering to customers from 7 AM to 9 PM depending on the location. 

I encourage you to take a trip to your nearest 85° Bakery Cafe. You will not be disappointed.

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