Update: Bloop Bubble Tea have ceased trading
Bloop Bubble Tea began trading on Frodsham St in September. Bubble Tea itself is a Taiwanese-based drink that was invented in the 1980s, and although common in places like London, there hasn’t been a bubble tea shop in the walled city before now.
Owner Kala Krishnan is originally from Singapore, but now lives in Bangor with her family. A frequent visitor to Chester and a big fan of the city, she was attracted to opening on Frodsham St by its busy nature. “With many independent shops and franchise-based businesses co-existing in an area,
this is what makes it the ideal location for a growing business” she said. With Frodsham St having a poor reputation for many Cestrians due to its high number of charity shops, Kala says that the street still has a “substantial footfall” but “it does not encourage people to stop, look and shop. People tend to just walk past. That has been a challenge which is why we try to chat with passing customers, telling them who we are and what we sell.”
Reviewer Hannah Golightly takes up the story…
I was walking down Frodsham street the other day and stopped in my tracks when I caught sight of Bloop Bubble Tea shop. I had no idea what it was, but I loved the look of it. It was after hours so I did not investigate further. Days later @ShitChester got in touch with me on the Twitter and asked if I would go and review it and do an interview with the owner. I jumped at the chance! ‘Free tea and cake’, I thought! In a cafe that looks like it came straight out of Austin Powers? Count me in!
Inside the cafe, server Aaron came out to offer the public samples of tea that looked a bit like thick brightly coloured squash or juice. . He explained to me a little about the menu of fruit teas and milk teas as I took photos and looked around. Kala talked me through the drinks and asked me to choose one, hot or cold, milk or juice based tea, and with a choice of flavoured popping balls or tapioca pearls. Tapioca pearls are a root and have the texture of a gummy bear after cooked. Bloop cook the pearls twice daily for freshness, and tapioca pearls are the most popular topping in Asia.
I chose the cold pineapple juice tea with cranberry popping balls. It was served in a see through plastic cup with the zany fun Bloop logo on it and an inviting black n white sixties style target on the sealed top. It came with a really thick slightly sharp tipped straw for the joyful process of bursting it through the top, aiming for the centre of the target. Bloop is child friendly with its colourful and lively décor and a fun experience in contrast to the generic multitude of chain coffee shops.
The drink itself was ice cold and delicious. Bloop Bubble Fruit Teas are made with 70% fruit juice and also contain Green Tea which contains natural antioxidants. I asked Kala if that made them a health drink and she said that while Bloop Bubble Teas a far more healthy an
option for a child than common fizzy sugary drinks, due to the natural sugar in the fruit juice etc, they wouldn’t be considered such, but they are certainly a healthier option if you are looking for a treat.
As I sipped, I had the unexpected thrill of sucking up one of the cranberry popping balls, which promptly exploded in a rush of cranberry juice inside my mouth! As an adult, it’s not often you come across anything so new and fun to drink- especially without any alcohol!
The popping balls look like sweets but according to Kala they are made from “seaweed and fruit juice, so they are good for kids.” “It’s something fun and different.” she added with a sparkle in her eye.
I asked to sample a little of the hot version of the pineapple fruit bubble tea. It was equally delicious, bursting with flavour.. Like a hot squash. It’s popular with kids who might want a hot drink but don’t like English Breakfast tea or coffee and aren’t in the mood for hot chocolate.
Kala describes her Bubble Tea as “a mood drink.” You can drink it hot or cold to suit the weather and your mood.
Saturdays and Sundays are Bloop’s busiest days as well as school holidays.
Students and young adults are also big fans of Bloop due to it’s fun and novelty nature, with drinks that aren’t available anywhere else in the city. Bloop also sell Belgian waffles in two flavours. I had the apple and cinnamon one, and you can add all sorts of toppings to them such as locally sourced Welsh raspberry preserve.
Next I tried Bloop’s classic Milk Bubble Tea called Hot Taro. This
looks an intriguing shade of purple and I had it with tapioca pearls which, unlike the popping balls, were solid and chewy, more like very soft jelly sweets. Drinking a warm drink through a straw was another novel experience that I liked. I commented that it tasted a bit
like rice pudding. Kala said a lot of people compare the taste to biscuits. Hot Taro is one of the most popular Bubble Teas they serve, the other being Chocolate Bubble Tea. Due to demand from parents who bring their kids to Bloop on a regular basis, the cafe will be starting to add organic fair trade coffee to their menu from Tuesday 22nd December onwards.
Other drinks that Bloop do are Slushies with the added surprise of popping balls or tapioca pearls at the bottom, sucked up through a straw.
Current festive staff-favourite is the Hot Grape Juice Bubble Tea, which they drink in place of mulled wine due to it’s similar flavour.
The beautiful rows of macaroons were eyeing me up from under the counter and I will be back soon when I’m in town and I fancy a refreshing drink and a little treat to blast away the
Thanks to @bloopbubbletea and @HannahG0lightly
in 2016 Bloop will be looking to become more involved in Chester’s event and activities, and are hoping to be involved in Chester’s Food, Drink & Lifestyle Festival in March, as well as working with societies at the University and beyond