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Bringing more culture to The Commons

Kung Fu Tea’s opening offers students bubble tea and social atmosphere

Staff Writer

Published: Sunday, February 2, 2014

Updated: Sunday, February 2, 2014 21:02


Jackie Shi, The Spectrum

Kung Fu Tea, a new establishment in The Commons known for its bubble tea, has been busy since its opening last Monday. It has already become a popular hang-out spot on campus.

Tea junkies: There’s a new player in The Commons vying to satisfy your addiction.

Kung Fu Tea, a national chain, had its grand opening on UB’s campus on Jan. 25. The Taiwanese lounge is nestled between La Rosa New York Pizzeria and CVS. Whether grabbing finger foods and desserts or recovering from the cold weather with a hot cup of bubble tea, which is also served iced, students are keeping the new establishment busy.

“As a student here, I felt like one of the things that UB lacked was kind of a lounge, an area where kids can just sit and go comfortably,” said owner Michael Jiang, a UB alumnus.

Jiang said the franchise goes beyond selling students bubble tea – it’s a place they can find comfort in hanging out.

Inside, the location is decorated with white leather chairs matched with black tables. Booths line the walls; large flat-screen TVs hang; speakers blast popular music, which adds to the shop’s casual vibe.

Bubble tea is a drink originating from Taiwan; it typically comes as a combination of black or green tea, sweetener and bubbles (marble-sized tapioca balls). It’s served in milk-based, fruity or slush varieties.

“It’s more of a snack than a drink by itself,” Jiang said.

Kung Fu Tea offers 51 drinks on its menu. Students can customize their orders and choose from a wide range of flavors and toppings. Jiang said, with the vast choice of options, there is at least one drink that appeals to everybody.

“I like that they’ve got stuff other than just bubbles, like the beans and the jellies,” said Alden Moy, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major. “I’ve been here, like, every day.”

Jiang is confident in UB’s new bubble tea spot. He said the grand opening was successful.

“We had a line almost consistently for about seven hours,” Jiang said.

For the opening weekend and first day of classes, Kung Fu Tea hosted a buy-one-get-one-free promotion that attracted enough students to keep the store filled throughout the day. 

Some students braved the crowd for the grand opening special. Others, like Kelly Wu, a junior exercise science major and a New York City native, sought out a taste of home. Wu enjoys the bubble tea café because “it’s something familiar.” The franchise has several locations in the New York City area.

UB’s Kung Fu Tea also offers a number of snacks and desserts. Among the selection of edibles are macaroons and Belgium fries – the fries can be paired with a homemade sauce.

Jiang, a New York City native and food fanatic, chose to introduce dishes that aren’t common in the Queen City.

“We took a lot of popular items that are really popular in New York City and created our own twist to it and brought it over to Buffalo,” Jiang said.

One of the most popular items on his menu is braised pork, or pork belly buns. The dish consists of a mantou, a Chinese steamed bun, filled with braised pork, lettuce and a homemade sauce. The shop is currently offering a two-for-$4.50 special on the dish.

Kevin Turner, a sophomore architecture major, said he liked Kung Fu Tea’s metropolitan feel compared to other bubble tea shops he has visited.

Jiang said he is in the process of bringing in a karaoke machine and making a back room open for reservations to UB students.



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