New Bubble Tea Shop Opens Near Stuyvesant

Bubble tea chain Chun Yang Tea opens a new location near Stuyvesant.

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By Stefanie Chen

The bubble tea store chain Chun Yang Tea, an authentic Taiwanese bubble tea store, opened its Tribeca location on Chambers Street near the A/C/E subway station on April 23. Due to the closing of the popular Tribeca location of Kung Fu Tea three years prior, the opening of Chun Yang Tea has impacted many Stuyvesant students.

Many students at Stuyvesant enjoy bubble tea, and several were eager to visit the new location. “I went on the conference day, and I waited 30 minutes for a drink because everyone wanted to try it,” freshman Brandon Waworuntu said.

A few weeks after the opening of Chun Yang, many students visited the shop and were able to try their drinks. Some students noted that the drink itself was nothing special, but it was the store’s convenient location and the tapioca pearls that mostly motivated them to return to Chun Yang. “Normally I’m a fruit tea lover, but I wasn’t a huge fan of their passionfruit for some reason. It’s relatively good, but there’s something about it that’s a little sour even if you up the sugar value so I would [not] recommend unless you’re one of those people who doesn’t like things too sweet,” sophomore Eshaal Ubaid said, “I would definitely go again because the quality of the boba itself is so good and it’s really nicely cooked.”

Many students also noted the pleasant environment that the shop had along with its quick service. “It's very aesthetically pleasing and I like the vibe. It’s minimal and the service is good and I haven’t had a bad experience. They’re pretty quick [and] I feel like it’s a great place to study,” Ubaid said.

Freshman Krystal Khine agreed that the ambience of the store was its main appeal. “The service was fine, the manager and staff were nice to all of the Stuy kids that were lining up for bubble tea. The ambience and aesthetic was tranquil and quite adorable, quaint but cute,” she said.

Much of the shop’s business comes from Stuyvesant students, especially during early dismissal days or when the weather is warmer. The shop is located near Stuyvesant by the Chambers Street train station, which has resulted in a steady stream of customers. “I definitely think [proximity] was a factor, but I don’t think it was the whole reason why. I think [the owners] found an open space with good people and a good environment,” Brooklyn Tech senior and employee Vivian Moy said.

Weeks before its official opening, Chun Yang opened up job opportunities at its new location. Sophomore Jenny Zhong currently works at the bubble tea store, where she has been able to gain new work experience. “Some [of my coworkers] know Cantonese and some people know Mandarin but we all know English, so sometimes [when communicating] with everyone we have to do it in English,” Zhong said. “We also have to memorize all the boba formulas which is insanely hard. I didn’t think it was that hard but some don’t even have a pattern to them and you also get tested on it.” Out of all these complex drinks, Zhong recommends the mango cheese drink and the purple rice sago drink.

Other students have shared their opinions about Chun Yang on social media, remarking that the beverages lacked taste and were not worth the price. The cost of one bubble tea from Chun Yang is usually $6 to $7, which some consider expensive for a drink. “The drink itself was pretty good but the fact that a medium drink was around $6 to $7 kind of ruined the experience for me,” Khine said. “I got matcha bubble tea. If I remember correctly, it was like $7, which is around $3 to $4 more than what I usually pay for bubble tea.”

Complaints about the expensive drink prices might not last for much longer thanks to an upcoming discount. “The price of the drinks is a real problem, and it’s one of the reasons we’re preparing to provide a 10 percent discount [for Stuyesant students],” the manager of the shop Ting Ting Ko said. The store also recently introduced a loyalty card program. After buying nine drinks, customers can receive their 10th one for free.

The staff at Chun Yang also hope to strengthen the shop’s appeal by improving the store’s appearance and decorations. “I definitely do think that making [the store] a funner, more vibrant location would attract more students. You can’t really see it and it’s pretty dull right now, but we’ll definitely make it better by adding stuff,” Moy said.

The small size of the shop may contribute to its cozy ambience, but it prevents the shop from expanding to provide an indoor seating area. “The size cannot be changed, so we can’t put anyone inside. We can only put one table outside,” Ko said. This may pose an issue for when the weather gets hotter in the summer, but the shop will continue to work with what it has.