About a year and a half ago, Sylvia Kim, a housewife living in Virginia, tried the Red Dragon Fruit Tea from Moge Tee, a bubble tea restaurant, for the first time. It made such an impression on her that she decided to open her very own Moge Tee restaurant in College Park.
“It blew my mind. It was so refreshing,” Kim said. “It just went down [in] one gulp.”
Moge Tee is a bubble tea chain with over 380 stores worldwide. They offer bubble tea with natural and fresh ingredients, with a variety of drinks: cheese foam teas, fruit teas with cheese foam, milk tea and more.
Kim contacted the Moge Tee company shortly after her life-changing bubble tea experience to see if she could open her own store. With a little bit of paperwork and training, she got that wish. With her own store, Kim says her story helps to “back up the quality” of the Moge Tee drinks.
While other tea places, especially large chains, use powder or syrups to flavor their teas, nearly every flavor at Moge Tee is achieved with fresh ingredients, she said. The fruit also helps achieve the drinks’ color, she said.
“For example, the fruit teas, [the fruit] are all freshly cut every single day,” Kim said. “So it’s a lot of work on my end. But we’re delivering quality drinks for our customers.”
In addition to fresh-cut fruit, Moge Tee uses raw cane sugar to sweeten their drinks and golden boba — a tapioca pearl similar to regular boba except for its golden color — which Kim said is higher quality, healthier and harder to source than typical boba.
Kim finds the process of making a Moge Tee drink “spectacular.” Each drink uses specific ingredients and teas to emphasize different flavors, she said. Additionally, she said by using natural ingredients, the tea is usually less sweet compared to large bubble tea chains.
“We want to highlight the tea. Because this is a tea place,” Kim said.
Kim said that while all of these factors are great for customers, they can cause some drawbacks for Kim and her employees — such as the time and money it takes to prepare and deliver quality drinks everyday. With so much to prepare, the College Park location hasn’t been able to have its grand opening yet.
Kim held a soft opening on Sep. 18 that she modestly advertised with a small sidewalk sign and banner, attracting many customers. She said the soft opening gives her time to work out issues with electricity, efficiency and staffing until she can do more robust advertising.
Junior public health science major Abby Sun said that she has had Moge Tee before, and when she heard that one was opening right in College Park, she got “really excited.” She prefers Moge Tee over other chains that use powders to flavor their drinks, she said.
“Their ingredients are more authentic,” Sun said.
Pooja Patel, a freshman general biology major, said she has tried the strawberry cheese foam drink and said she likes Moge Tee for its convenient location and interesting menu.
“I think their menu is really unique. I mean, I haven’t seen a menu like this,” Patel said.
Kim’s new Moge Tee location is located at 8150 Baltimore Ave., Suite B.
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story misspelled Sylvia Kim’s first name. This story has been updated.