Kung Fu Tea to open in The Commons
UB alum Mike Jiang hopes to enhance culture on campus
Mike Jiang, a UB alum, expects his bubble tea shop to open in The Commons in November, though the date is not finalized. Ho Jun Kang, The Spectrum
Mike Jiang thinks Buffalo is missing some culture. His solution? A bubble tea bistro in The Commons.
Jiang, a UB alum who majored in business and communication, is opening a Kung Fu Tea, a popular destination for bubble-milk tea in the New York City area. Jiang expects the store to open in November, though he said the date is subject to change.
Jiang's vision centers on bringing new culture to Buffalo.
"There's a lot of people from New York City in Buffalo," Jiang said. "Many of these people crave culture, and Buffalo lacks that. I wanted to bring it here."
Jiang stressed the ingredients are authentic and straight from Taiwan, where bubble tea originated. All recipes are researched and developed in Taiwan to preserve the culture and originality of the franchise, according to Jiang.
"It's great that Kung Fu Tea is opening up in Buffalo," said Eric Lentz, a junior mathematics major from Rochester. "I had it when I visited New York City and absolutely loved it."
Jiang, who was president of the Asian American Student Union during his time at UB, looks forward to partnering with any clubs that need catering. Jiang wants Kung Fu Tea to be a place where students can visit during their downtime. The store will act like a lounge for students to study, hang out and relax, he said.
It will be one of the only stores in The Commons that offers free Wi-Fi. There will be outlets available to charge laptops and cell phones in the store, Jiang said. He also hopes to stay open later than most places in order to accommodate students craving bubble tea at night.
Jiang said the atmosphere will boast comfort for those wanting to get away from the library. He mentioned the possibility of having overnight hours during Finals Week but said that is subject to change.
Kung Fu Tea will be in competition with Tea Leaf, a popular cafÃ© on Sweet Home Road near North Campus.
"I'm excited for more choices at Buffalo," said Eddie Oh, a sophomore nursing major. "I've been disappointed at Tea Leaf thus far, and I'm looking forward to Kung Fu Tea's overall better taste."
Jiang realizes college students also worry about cost and wants to incorporate reasonable prices. Compared to the high costs of living in New York City, UB's Kung Fu Tea will be an "affordable luxury," according to Jiang.
"I want to bring people to Buffalo who might have been scared to come before," Jiang said. "Hopefully, the culture here can boom if they see a success story with Kung Fu Tea."
Kung Fu Tea will replace the former UBMicro store, which closed in June 2012. The bubble tea store is currently training and hiring staff. Jiang plans to promote the store as the grand opening nears. He encourages students to stay connected with Kung Fu Tea's Facebook page, which will give students the latest news on the new establishment.
Julie Chan, a freshman business major, looks forward to having Kung Fu Tea on campus because she frequents it at her home in New York City.
"It will allow people from all different ethnicities to try bubble-milk tea," she said.
Jiang is optimistic about owning the newest Kung Fu Tea franchise and said it will make culture strides in Buffalo.
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