Just a few years ago, Monica Ash had never heard of bubble tea. Her daughter, Alexis, was always asking for it and they finally found a place in Jacksonville that served it. Soon, Ash saw that the demand people had for the Asian dessert drink and knew it was a business opportunity.
“[My husband and I] happened to be in another place where they were offering boba tea, and I turned to him and I said, ‘We have to get in on this,'” Ash remembers.
Ash and her husband, Eric, researched the market for bubble tea (also known as boba tea) and found the European company Bubbleology. Fast forward to today, they’re the proud franchise owners of the fourth Bubbleology storefront in the United States, the first in Florida.
Open for a month now in the Shops at University Park in Boca Raton, it’s drawn the FAU college crowd for endless organic and vegetarian milk and fruit flavored teas, from jasmine, taro, matcha and rose to kiwi, mango and passionfruit. Customers have their choice of tapioca and different flavored jelly balls, sucked up through an oversized straw.
Also on the menu are bubble waffles, a Hong Kong street dessert of soft waffles rolled into a cone and stuffed with your choice of gelato flavors, toppings and sauces.
While there’s no place quite devoted to bubble tea like Bubbleology, there are restaurants around town that serve the drink, including 5 Spice in Boca Raton and Sugar Milk in Delray Beach.
The Ash family lived in Parkland for a decade before moving north to Jacksonville. However, when they were finding the right market to open Bubbleology, they felt that Boca Raton was the right place. The family rents a condo, and Ash spends weeks at a time in Boca Raton with the opening of the store.
“When we were considering where to open, we were like, ‘It has to be here.’ We saw the shopping center and we liked the vibe of it because it’s very eclectic and it has a lot of different things and it is close to the college,” Ash explains.
The Shops at University Park has been a growing shopping center. Next door to Bubbleology are the Organic Bean Coffee Co., the vegetarian bakery, Cinnaholic, and Holistic Hair Eco-Friendly Salon. Across the street is the newly opened I Heart Mac and Cheese.
“I want them to enjoy the experience,” Ash says of Bubbleology. “I want them to have a high-quality product, and I want them to feel that they can come back at any time.”
Bubbleology at the Shops at University Park, 141 NW 20th St. B-9, Boca Raton; 561/367-3013; bubbleologyusa.com
Want more food news?
Sign up for our Dish e-newsletter, where you’ll get the latest food and drink news delivered directly to your inbox.