Bubbles Tea and Juice Co. will be opening its first location outside of Columbus on Court Street in March 2020.
The business offers an array of bubble teas, teas, juices, smoothies and acai bowls. Each of the items have various customization options, as well as many standard combinations to choose from.
Part of the company's name comes from its bubble tea, Joseph Ebner, chief operating officer at Bubbles Tea, said. Bubble teas are teas with tapioca balls.
“They're like little gummy balls. They float around your drink and you drink them up through your straw, chew them up and eat them,” Ebner said. “It's like a fun textural element to the drink.”
In addition to bubble tea, the business also offers milk teas and flavored teas, which Ebner equates more to a latte and Arizona iced tea, respectively. Teas will range in price from $2 to $5, with bubble teas being closer to $5.
The business also offers smoothies, which can also have bubbles. Currently, there are around 12 menu-provided smoothie combinations, but there is also the option to create custom drinks. Smoothies will be approximately $5 to $6.
Bubbles also offers a variety of juices: regular, cold pressed and juice bombs. Juices vary in price as well, with cold pressed juices being offered around $7 to $8.
The company’s cold pressed juices are offered through a process called high pressure pasteurization, helping the juices retain nutrients as well as making them so that they hold on the shelf.
“Normal pasteurization is done with heat,” Ebner said. “With juice and vegetables, if you heat it up, it kills all of the bad things, but also all the good things. By doing it this way, it's obviously more labor intensive and cost intensive, but when you do it this way, it's safe to drink and it keeps all the good vitamin enzymes in the juice while also making it safe to drink and hold on the shelf.”
Juice bombs are like shots of flavor, Ebner said. The shop also offers energy bombs. Bombs may have a bit of a harsh taste, but they offer a lot of health benefits.
A new item the company began offering this year is acai bowls, which are priced around $7 to $8.
“Acai is a superfood, so we serve that ... with your choice of fresh fruit toppings and other toppings,” Ebner said. “It's kind of almost like a like a parfait bowl or like a yogurt bowl.”
The company sources 99% of its ingredients locally, Ebner said.
Bubbles Tea and Co. began in the historic North Market in Columbus in 2005 and has expanded to eight locations in Columbus. Due to the right circumstances and an appreciation for the area, Ebner said the company will be making its first expansion in Athens.
The Athens location will be different than the other locations, as it is a stand alone establishment not located inside a gym or a mall.
“We will have seating stuff up front, and we actually have a really cool basement space that we're going to be turning into a lounge sort of area,” Ebner said. “It's going to be big and have couches, desks, TVs and stuff. It'll be a place for students, and non-students, to come hang out in lieu of going to the library or studying in their dorm.”
Some students are excited for the new option, but are a little wary of the prices.
Olivia Simon, a freshman majoring in psychology, said she would likely try the business, but was not keen on the prices.
“They’re a little high, but I guess they’re not too bad,” Simon said.
Others would rather see something else come in on Court Street.
Lydia Dunn, a junior majoring in biology, said smoothies and bubble teas weren’t her favorite thing, and that she’d rather see a restaurant go in on Court Street.