Episode 6: Bin Chen of Boba Guys + Better Bubble Tea
Originating in Taiwan in the 1980’s, boba or bubble tea has already become an international hit, but this new beverage is still evolving. Joining Lynda and Iris in the studio is Bin Chen, co-founder of the extremely popular Boba Guys. Boba Guys opened their first store in San Francisco in 2013. Today, they have 4 locations in SF, 1 in NYC – with another opening this month in Greenwich Village. Tune in to learn the brief but interesting history of this drink, why it’s so big in the West, and what people like Boba Guys are doing to make it even better.
Iris kicks off the show with a definition of bubble tea, and why there's two names for this drink: boba tea and bubble tea. She also talks about how bubble tea was invented on a whim during a tea company meeting in the 80s.
Bin then tells us about his background, his relationship with bubble tea, how he met his business partner Andrew, and how Boba Guys started as a side hustle.
Lynda and Bin talk about the "better boba" trend, with people like Andrew and Bin pushing the envelope with high quality ingredients, innovative new recipes and a goal of bridging cultures. He also talks about the importance of transparency in their business, as well as their other company, Tea People, which strives to make tea approachable.
21:17 "We want to build a 100 year old company. That means one day, Andrew and I won't be the ones running it. But it just means that we're trying to build a company with a soul. The soul outlives the body. For us, if we can carry the spirit and and then one day pass it on to the next generation, that's ideally what we want to build. So with Boba Guys, with our decision-making, it's always very long term." - Bin on transparency and decision-making in their business.
Lynda asks Bin why he thinks boba tea is so popular and whether or not it's going to continue to grow in popularity. Bin talks about the innovation in bubble tea in Asia vs the US, and what's next for Boba Guys.
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