On a Saturday night around 11 o’clock, 85°C was still buzzing with people. This little known bakery is actually a massive chain that started in Taiwan and has since expanded to major cities in the US.
The bakery itself is a different concept from its American counterpart like Panera. You enter through the main door and grab a wooden tray. From there, you take a piece of wax paper and some silver tongs, and make your way around the rows and cases of baked goods. The most popular breads were the white chocolate chip bread–a thin croissant like dough filled with melted white chocolate– and the taro bread, which had taro (purple yam) marbled throughout.
The Asian influence of this bakery can clearly be seen in the drinks and breads that are served. Some of the more unusual items include a squid ink pastry and a hot dog bread. The breads were all really flavorful and flaky, and none of them were overpoweringly sweet. Of the ones that I tried, the coconut twist was definitely my favorite: it was soft and crispy, with a fruit filling and toasted coconut on top.
One great thing about 85° is the fact that all of their desserts are really unique, and none of them are too expensive. The average cost for a dessert here is around $2.00, compared with places like Starbucks, who charge $3.50 for a chocolate croissant.
While there are a fair share of unique pastries you won’t find anywhere else, 85° also has the American classics, such as scones and muffins, so you’re bound to find something that you like. However, the most impressive part of this cafe bakery might not even be the baked goods at all. Instead, 85° C is famous for their impressive presentation of cakes, jellies, fruit tarts, and the like. Every branch has a formally trained pastry chef that oversees the production of these impressive cakes, and the case displaying them is more than Instagram worthy.
Despite this high attention to quality, the atmosphere at 85° C is fun and noisy. Workers call out “fresh bread!” every time new bread is brought out onto the floor, and the environment is loud and exciting. This can be overwhelming at times, so it’s not exactly a place where you would to go and do your homework. Instead, it functions as a fun place to hang out with your friends.
The drink portion of the cafe bakery is located on the opposite side, and there is a separate line and cash register to order drinks from. While this process could be improved, I’ve never experienced a mix up.
I tried their warm milk tea and a passionfruit lemonade. The milk tea was really good, but I was disappointed with the lemonade as it was overly sweet and had a bitter taste at the end. This was unusual, and I have tried some of their other cold drinks previously that have been really good.
Altogether, 85° C is an exciting experience that takes the term ‘bakery” to a whole new level. The best part: the craziness will be coming closer to Peñasquitos at the beginning of this summer, bringing along with it the world class pastries and drinks that make this bakery a perfect place to visit at the end of the day.