She says: Growing up in Australia, bubble tea also known as ‘pearl’ tea is part of popular culture, where ‘EasyWay‘ or ‘CHA TIME‘ are a mainstream phenomenon. Bubble tea used to be a weekly ritual for me during university days between classes and continued to regularly feature throughout my working life. Originally founded in Taiwan in the early 90’s, this craze hasn’t quite taken off yet in London like the ‘fro-yo’ or frozen yoghurt scene, though things may start to change with the likes of newcomer Brew Box now in the picture. Somewhat of a hidden gem, I randomly stumbled across this bubble tea establishment after work one day, strolling through Camden Passage in Angel. You’ll be warmly greeted by the two charismatic British-Filipino owners Eric and Albert, who provide super friendly service and enjoy chatting to get to know their customers. Starting your own small business requires a lot of commitment and personal motivation, so I admire the pair for their tenacity and vision to conquer the UK and become the ‘Starbucks of Bubble tea’.
He says: I guess growing up in Canada was not too different than in Australia. High school and university days were spent with some nights at a bubble tea shop. Alas most bubble tea places in London are not really hang out spots as they are small shops with only a few seats. Brew Box breaks free from the pack as there is a large area to hang with groups. With free wifi there maybe we might even start blogging there on a regular basis. The energy that Eric and Albert bring is a welcomed addition to the area of Angel. Perhaps one day with that space, there would be live music or open mic nights.
…but first how are the drinks?
The drink: With a wide variety of flavours on offer, there is something suited to quench your thirst and refresh your palate…. ranging from Watermelon to Taro, Banana and Honeydew for those who prefer their tea milky. For the fruity tea lovers, Lychee, Strawberry-Mango and Citrus Zen are among the favourites. There is definitely something suited to quench your thirst and refresh every palate. The toppings to choose from include the familiar tapioca pearls, coconut jelly, aloe vera and other flavoured boba. I always gravitate towards grass (or herbal) jelly and the guys tell me that it will be coming very soon! My favourite is the ‘Oolong High Mountain’ as it’s not too sweet and has a hint of an elderflower type flavour. I mention this to Albert and he says he may experiment this with cider sometime! He also tells me that Brew Box are catering for an upcoming birthday in the neighbourhood – alcholic bubble tea cocktails anyone?
The verdict: Particularly during these baking hot summer days, a bubble tea in hand is perfect to keep your temperatures from rising! Starting from £3.25 with one topping, the teas are reasonably priced (cheaper than what you’d find in Chinatown or Bubbleology in Soho and Harvey Nichols). Though the shop is underground, Brew Box has a cool, bright and urban interior with quirky robot wall art stickers that decorate electric sockets, wood furnishings from the counter to the seating areas, plenty of games like jenga to keep you occupied, a QR code loyalty card system powered by ‘Click’ (buy 9 get one free) and a menu of over 15 flavours of bubble tea sprawled across a large black chalkboard. Plus if you’re feeling peckish there are some lovely looking desserts like pandan flavoured cupcakes and churros to nibble on. I’ll admit that I couldn’t help to pay a little visit every few days to satisfy my tea cravings! Thank you to the Brew Box duo for bringing life’s comforts to Angel – I never knew that one of our favourite locals would be a bubble tea shop!