Students bubbling for business practicum idea
March 9, 2009 by Joseph Gloria
Students at the Richmond campus no longer have to trek to Lansdowne Mall to get their bubble tea fix.
Fourth-year business students Patrick Wong, 23, Seulki Kim and Stephanie Sun, both 25, launched their own bubble tea stand in the rotunda of the Richmond campus in mid-February.
The three-person team was taking part in a project for a practicum class, and planned to run their small business until March 26. â€œWeâ€™ve been through so many years of education,â€ said Wong. â€œSo, we are trying to put everything that we learned today to try to apply it to a mini-business.â€
Wong, Kim and Sun said that they first had to go through several business launch presentations and get approval from their instructors. â€œWeâ€™ve gone through all the health inspections. The inspector came and looked at the sealing, drinks and the fridge,â€ said Wong.
The students got ingredients and supplies through connections with a vendor at the Richmond Public Market and were offering several popular flavours of the pre-made and sealed beverage, with prices starting at $4.
While bubble tea cafes have become common throughout the Lower Mainland, the first stores only started showing up in the early 2000s Vancouver. The beverage originated in Taiwan, and is distinguished by large tapioca balls, which are mixed with either hot or cold tea.
“Bubble” refers to the way the tapioca is cooked, since they balloon into chewy balls after being boiled. The tapioca is called “pearls” after the cooking process. The pearls are tasteless and colourless until they are soaked in a brown-sugar-and-water solution. Vendors usually offer two types: milk tea and fruit-flavoured tea.
There are also choices between natural tea and fruits or the sweeter, powder-flavoured slush drinks. Wong and his team are offering powdered taro and original flavours as well as a natural mango flavour.
Traditionally, students in Asia consume bubble tea during breaks and after school as a snack or dessert. Half way around the world, students at the Richmond campus will have the opportunity to do the same.