Get bubbly about Kung Fu TeaChew On This Digest
June 22, 2014
Story By: Michelle Lee | Photos by: Anthony Consillio
To set things straight, “There is an absolute difference between good and great bubble tea,” confirms Kevin Yang, partner and manager of Honolulu’s Kung Fu Tea. “Even one sip can reveal a lot.”
With more than 20 locations nationwide, and considered by many to be the “Starbucks of bubble tea,” Kung Fu Tea is the island’s latest haven for lovers of the popular Taiwanese drink.
On most mornings, Kung Fu Tea staff can be found diligently cooking fresh tapioca over a hot stove. “Cooking the tapioca bubbles is an essential part of the process and we usually do it before the store opens,” says Yang. “We boil the tapioca for several hours in a special honey recipe, which you cannot find anywhere else.”
Additionally, Kung Fu Tea relies on product exclusivity to give its drinks a unique flair. “While most teashop brands and mixtures can be found at any mainstream supermarket, what we use comes exclusively from our private manufacturer in Taiwan,” explains Yang. “That allows us the creative freedom to use the best ingredients and advanced machinery, like our drink shaker, to properly mix the drinks.”
For those craving something classic and refreshing, the famous Kung Fu Milk Tea ($3.25 for medium, $4.50 for large) and Kung Fu Slush ($4.25 for medium, $5.25 for large) are both wise choices. Caffeine aficionados also will love Coffee Milk Tea ($3.25 for medium, $4 for large). “Whether you want something more sweet, tart or something in between, we have something for everyone,” says Yang.
At Kung Fu Tea, employees are more than just baristas. “When done properly, bubble tea requires a lot more skill than meets the eye,” attests Yang. “Because we customize each drink accordingly to one’s own ice and sweetness preference, that affects how we proportion the tea’s ingredients, so that the flavor comes out perfectly.”
Kung Fu Tea
510 Piikoi St., Suite 100, Honolulu
Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m.