At Bubble Tea House, a local couple is introducing the Umpqua Valley to the unique Taiwanese bubble-filled beverage.
Story by Cara Kobernik, Photos by Tristin Godsey
Steve and Micki Liu decided that they wanted to open something different in the Roseburg area.
In the Bubble Tea House, they think they did.
“We wanted to wake up Roseburg,” says Micki. “There isn’t a legit Bubble Tea House like this from Portland to Sacramento.”
The Lius opened the Bubble Tea House on West Harvard Avenue in late spring. They took over the space formerly occupied by the Gay 90’s Ice Cream Parlor & Delicatessen, which shuttered in late January after 42 years in business when Joy Easterly, the restaurant’s 78-year-old owner and operator, retired.
The Lius took over the space and, according to Micki, did a complete remodel before reopening as the Bubble Tea House.
While serving bubble tea, ice cream and chicken and vegetarian teriyaki is what brings in customers, the Lius said their primary goal is to provide a meeting place for students from Roseburg High and Fremont Middle School.
“Sometimes the kids wait here for their parents to pick them up,” says Micki Liu. “They might get done with practice and can come here. It’s safe for them here and they never cause trouble. They get our wifi password for free so they can do their homework.”
Bubble tea is a Taiwanese drink invented in the 1980s. The drink comes in a variety of flavors that include fruit juices, teas and lemonade along with “toppings” — popping pearls boba, a flavored jelly ball that provides a blast of juice when bitten into and requires the sipper to drink the beverage using a larger straw.
“We cook the boba here every two hours,” Liu says. “You have to be very careful cooking it; I experimented with it a lot to get the timing down.”
She says all of her beverages are made in-house to assure top quality.
“It’s like a meal, especially if it has boba in it,” she says. “The smoothie is the most popular and somehow the kids always know what to pick that tastes the best.”