O-CHA Tea Bar, located in downtown Greenville, offers students an affordable, refreshing break from studying with its specialty drink, bubble tea.
At O-CHA, customers can relax in a friendly atmosphere and enjoy a tasty tea with fruit chews or boba—the key ingredients which make up bubble tea. The drinks come covered with a plastic seal which is opened by driving a thick straw through the center.
Sarah Marko, who graduated from BJU in 2014, has worked at O-CHA for seven months. Marko said bubble tea is one of the most popular cold drinks.
“It’s our foreign thing that people like to try,” Marko said. “Plus you can chew on it!”
Many people incorrectly think that the name “bubble tea” refers to the fruit chews in the bottom of the cup. But Marko said, “It refers to the film on top when we shake it.”
Marko said that one appeal for college students is the 10 percent discount on orders. Students can also join the Bubble Club, which rewards customers with a free drink every six visits. “I used to come all the time before I worked here,” Marko said.
Bubble teas are usually about $3.45. Besides bubble teas, customers can choose from a variety of sandwiches, pastries and ice creams.
Generally, only three or four ingredients make up the bubble teas: milk, flavor, tea and ice.
“Pretty simple,” Marko said. She said it takes her only one minute to make any bubble tea beverage.
First, customers select flavors. Customers choose between either a milk tea series or a black or green tea series. Marko said that the black or green tea series is a lighter tasting beverage. Flavors include lychee, peach, mango and others. The milk tea series includes Thai, Hong Kong, coconut and taro flavors.
Second, customers choose either fruit jellies or tapioca pearls, boba, to add to their bubble beverage. Marko said it takes her about 30 minutes to make the black tapioca pearls. The pearls are made from the extract of a root.
“They’re all natural,” Marko said. The fine powders are boiled, turning them into the chewy pearls people love.
O-CHA Tea Bar is located at 300 River St. Suite 122, Greenville near Creative Concepts Photography. BJU students can take a quick trip to O-CHA and enjoy delicious, discounted drinks.