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U of G student brings bubble tea to Downtown Guelph

Bubble tea is a sweet milk based drink that is served hot or cold and has chewy tapioca pieces in it

Earlier this month without much fanfare, bubble tea was brought back to Guelph.

Phoebe Zhang, a masters student in the rural development program at the University of Guelph and her business partner Kathy Dong have recently opened HALF: Milk Tea & Tea Innovation.

Bubble tea is a sweet milk based drink that is served hot or cold and has chewy tapioca pieces (bubbles) in it. It comes in many sweet, fruity and classic tea flavours, but the chocolate mousse is a house specialty at HALF.

“Guelph doesn’t have an official bubble tea (place) and that’s why we wanted to be the first movers,” said Zhang, who is studying rural planning at the University of Guelph. “Also, because there are university students here, that’s why we choose to open here.”

HALF has opened up shop just across from Guelph City Hall on Carden Street. The closest bubble tea place around previously was is in Waterloo and getting there was a journey said one patron and bubble tea super fan.

“I’d ask my sister to drive me to Waterloo, but she’d never say yes,” said Emily Zhang, a Guelph CVI student.

One local barista from the neighbouring Planet Bean came by for a drink after work.

“I got into milk tea a couple of years ago, because I have couple of friends at Waterloo and Laurier and they have many more (bubble tea) stores there,” said Andrew Loveland, a student at the U of G.

“It’s nice, it’s modern looking it’s a bit utilitarian looking but not in a bad way; I think it kind of think it fits in with the modern styling that Guelph is going for."

On the menu you can also find a range of new eats served in store that have provided by Distorting Mirror Canada. On the menu? - Duck neck, spicy potato slices, seaweed snacks, duck gizzards, fried shrimp, lotus roots and many more exciting duck dishes.

What you can’t find on the menu, is coffee. For that Zhang says you’ll need to walk next door.

While no events are planned, Zhang said there may be some surprises on the horizon.