As Linda Li creates her one-of-a-kind bubble tea, her customers look around the Bubble Cafe in awe.
“It’s separated from the typical feel of Athens, the cafe itself feels like a bubble in way,” said Emelia Fischer, a regular customer.
When you walk into this miniature, underground cafe, you are swallowed by a room full of naturalistic designs, and a menu that offers a variety of bubble tea options.
Since 2016, Bubble Cafe has specialized in serving bubble tea as well as traditional Asian cuisine. Bubble tea is a unique drink which starts with a tea base, including oolong tea, flower tea, and plain black tea, that can be tied with a variety of flavors including sweetened milk and strawberry. It is then finished off with the mixture of chewy tapioca ‘boba’ balls.
Ever since opening day, Li’s goal has been to educate others on a part of her and her family’s Chinese culture using food and drink.
“I know that coffee is very popular in America, and I just wanted to give people something different,” said Li. “I wanted to introduce them to a special type of drink from my culture.”
Li’s inspirations for opening this restaurant come from her personal experiences with the drink.
“I drank bubble tea throughout my childhood,” she said. “But the flavor was always just straight black tea, so when I opened this cafe, I wanted to make sure there were many different flavors for the people to enjoy,” she said.
Being a family-run business, Li’s whole family is involved.
“My daughter sometimes helps me with the customers,” she said. “I like having my family here, it makes me feel at home.”
Many customers adore not only the food, but the setting of the cafe.
“It’s a very welcoming environment,” said Fischer. “It’s cute and comfortable and I love the underground aspect.”
Customers believe Bubble Cafe greatly contributes to people’s awareness of the diversity in Athens.
“I think the success of minority owned businesses often gets overlooked and this cafe really allows people to become more aware and interested in other people’s cultures,” said Courtney Grant, customer.
“The cafe introduces an array of options for drinks that people wouldn’t normally be able to get which is great,” said Fischer.