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Taiwanese ‘bubble tea’ trend hits London

By Ben Bouckley , 14-Jun-2012
Last updated on 14-Jun-2012 at 15:03 GMT

Taiwanese ‘bubble tea’ trend hits London

Taiwanese ‘bubble tea’ is making waves in London, with its UK pioneer Bubbleology unveiling plans to open a second dedicated café in the capital.

The drinks – which are widely consumed in country of origin, Taiwan, where they have been drunk since the 1980s – come served in sealed cups with straws specially designed to allow consumers to suck up chewy tapioca balls, nicknamed ‘boba’.

Entrepreneurial founder Assad Khan plans to open a second café in Notting Hill, and also plans to roll-out his distinct drink and store concept across Europe and the Middle East, according to a company statement.

The businessman followed his first launch in Soho in April 2011 with a concession in Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, and said he wanted Bubbleology to become a household name synonymous with the drink.

Khan first discovered bubble tea at a small cafe in New York in 2005, in a previous incarnation as an investment banker for JP Morgan, and decided to bring the drink to his home country.

He said: “We’ve had phenomenal response to the brand and the authentic taste of the product since we opened the first café in Soho, attracting thousands of loyal customers.

"In fact, the Taiwanese diplomatic mission in Britain loved the concept so much that the Taiwanese Ambassador formally opened the shop herself, with the brand gaining overnight celebrity status in the Taiwanese media.

"Bubble tea is immensely popular in parts of the world but it is essentially a fragmented market. I have no doubt that Bubbleology will have a similar impact on the popularity and consumption of bubble tea as Starbucks did with coffee or Pinkberry did with frozen yogurt," Khan added.

Bubbleology claimed its Soho opening was a "phenomenal success" with queues regularly forming around the block, and over 8,000 teas sold within the first 10 days.

With the launch of Warsaw also successful, the brand's international expansion for 2012 will continue into the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Teas start at £3.35 (€4.13) and feature a red, white or green tea base infused with flavourings such as coconut, chocolate, strawberry or mango, and also include the tapioca balls.

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