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Exploring Life & Business with Jenni Lau of Chatime Bubble Tea

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenni Lau.

Hi Jenni, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
Our story began with a passion for delicious foods and a desire for introducing the bubble culture to our community. We never settled for mediocre or foods that are just “good enough”. We sought out the best of all foods that we enjoyed. Be it hamburgers or fried chicken, pulled pork, or ramen, we like to find the tastiest choices available in our neighborhood. In this case, we were looking for a good cup of bubble tea but had to settle for just good enough.

For a long while, we searched for something better but did not find it until we took a family trip to Toronto, Canada, and found Chatime. The drinks were fresh and did not taste powdered or artificial. We went back to that shop several times during our trip and were hooked!

When we came back home to Maryland, we actually longed for that great taste that we enjoyed so much that we went back again a few months later. That was when we said to ourselves, “we need to bring this home with us”.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Building a brand name in a community that was unaware of the culture, to begin with, was extremely difficult but we enjoyed the journey and made many friends along the way. We loved telling everyone about our teas, our toppings and even shared our story with several of our loyal customers.

Day by day and drink by drink, we gained more notoriety in the White Marsh area month over month. The first two years were the toughest as we were working full-time jobs during the day and tending to the shop in the evening. There were months that we even had to pay some of the staff’s salaries from our regular jobs but we were more than willing to do so as the staff worked hard and endured some rough times with us.

We laughed together, we cried together and at times things seemed impossible but we endured it all and grew to be like a family. Now on the dawn of our fifth year in White Marsh, we know it was worth it.

Working at the store everyday, I got to know many of our loyal customers and their favorite drinks.  Chatime @ The Avenue became my 2nd home and my customers were like family.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Chatime Bubble Tea?
We are a bubble tea shop that offers fresh and delicious teas, smoothies, and juices with the concept of drinking and chewing. It’s more than just a drink. The toppings (pearls, jellies, pudding, etc.) complement our drinks and bring a whole different experience to thirst quenchers of all ages.

With over 150 drink options and a dozen topping choices, there are literally thousands of combinations that can be made to cater to everyone’s particular tastes. We brew our teas fresh daily and cook our pearls (bubbles, boba, tapioca balls, etc.) almost every hour then make every drink to order!

Our best-seller, the Chatime Pearl Milk tea, stands above the rest of the competition in terms of milk teas. It has a rich premium black tea taste with a healthy tasting milky finish. Bite into one of our pearls while slurping down this drink and you will know what happiness tastes like.

Aside from our delicious handmade drinks, we also offer something on the more sweet and savory side with our delicious steamed buns (Bao)! They come in four meat varieties and a vegetarian option. Roast Pork (Char Siu), Chicken, Pork & Veggie, Chicken with Chinese Sausage and a Creamy Egg Custard. Each of the steamed buns are made with a light & fluffy rice flour that’s slightly sweetened to compliment the absolutely umami meat center!

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
There is something we’ve always lived by and it has proven itself time and time again, that is there are no shortcuts or corners that can be cut on this road of life. We started this journey with a lot of trusts in the wrong people and they cut corners in the wrong places. We learned to follow up on everything that means the most to us to make sure it is done right.

This journey became a money pit for us before we even sold our first drink and we almost did not open!  Fortunately, we overcame that hurdle and it has taught us that we have too much at stake to cut any corners. Now we are working with other business partners helping them with their Chatime store (Chatime in Fedhill and Chatime in Belair) locations to thrive and two Chatime Bubble Tea trucks, all in efforts to spread the love we have for the premium Chatime tea brand across Maryland!

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Image Credits
Sunset at the Avenue White Marsh

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