By Lexus Yamashiro | Staff Writer
On the ground floor of the University Plaza at 931 University Avenue is a small tea house that only so many people will stumble upon as they decide to turn onto the back roads of University Square. Kris Oh, a Honolulu resident, was one of these individuals who discovered QQ Tea House while taking a walk in the area one day, and now visits the tea house once every other week. Although she has just recently started visiting QQ Tea House, Oh enjoys going to it because of it’s convenient location.
“I usually get the milk teas. So winter melon [tea] or Jasmine [green tea],” Oh said.
QQ Tea House first opened in Dec. 2016, and was founded by manager Sheu Lin. It is the only QQ Tea House that exists on the island of Oʻahu, and according to QQ Tea House employee, Amy Shi, it does not plan on expanding to other locations.
Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., the tea house’s logo displays two yellow cartoon letter Q’s dressed in aloha wear holding bubble tea drinks, which symbolizes the first two Q’s of its name as it is displayed just before entering the tea house. Although QQ Tea House’s menu is not displayed directly above its ordering area, customers won’t miss the extensive drink menu directly on their right-hand side once they have stepped foot inside the brightly orange painted tea house.
The drinks menu consists of exactly 59 bubble tea drinks that are separated into eight different categories: luxury tea, fresh tea, fruit tea, milk tea, iced milk drinks, yogurt drinks, smoothies, and other specials. All drinks do not exceed over $5.00 and come in the same size drinking cup, and can include customized items such as honey boba and tea jelly for $0.65 per add-on.
“Our most popular drink is all the iced milk drinks, and also our QQ special [QQ Milk Tea with honey boba],” Shi said, who has been working at QQ Tea House for eight months.
QQ Tea House also has a dessert case, displaying several sweets such as macarons that come in six flavors, panna cotta, caramel pudding, cheesecake slices, and more. Musubis are also made for customers who want to purchase a light snack, as well as cookies. Customers are able to pay in either cash or by card, however, a $5.00 minimum purchase is required in order to use a debit or credit card. Employees give stamp cards as an incentive, indicating that customers can receive a drink of any choice for free after they purchase eight drinks.
QQ Tea House has other deals such as its special of the week, in which a drink is marked off with a sticker on the menu to indicate that it is half-priced. The tea house has also recently started to bring back in March 2017 its Sunday deals that it started with when it first opened. Customers who visit QQ Tea House on Sundays can buy their first drink at regular price and receive a second special drink of the day for $0.99. Due to this once a week deal, Shi said that it’s the tea house’s busiest day of the week.
QQ Tea House may not have numerous locations compared to other bubble tea shops such as Taste Tea or Teapresso, however, it continues to carry on its slowly growing popularity by word of mouth, making it possible for its business to grow with the help of bubble tea loving people of the community.