Feng Cha Teahouse opens to try its luck in Berkeley’s boba market

Sunny Shen/Staff

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Feng Cha Teahouse celebrated its grand opening on Durant Avenue on Saturday.

The boba shop had its soft opening with a limited menu Sept. 3. This gradual rolling out of Feng Cha was intended to train new employees, get situated in a new space and determine the drinks people liked, according to Feng Cha franchise co-owner May Liao.

Liao emphasized Feng Cha’s uniqueness compared to other local boba shops in the area.

“I think a good atmosphere combined with a good drink lineup — people have been really happy about us being here,” Liao said. “The idea is that you’re not just (here) to get a drink. It’s really an experience in itself. We really pride ourselves on the quality of our drinks, the unique selection that we offer and the environment that we offer as well.”

Campus junior Abby Chen said Feng Cha is her favorite boba place in Berkeley.

“My favorite drink is the Oreo Cheese Milk Tea,” Chen said. “It’s pretty good for studying cause it’s almost midterms, and all the libraries are so crowded.”

According to Liao, the “dirty boba” is their best-selling drink. This signature drink is created first when the boba are coated and cooked in brown sugar. The drink can be filled with a choice of milk or fresh teas. Finally, the dirty boba is topped with a milk cheese foam and a caramelized creme brulee topping.

Oakland residents and first-time patrons Inggrid Francesca and Mason Eg heard about Feng Cha’s opening last week, but opted to come Monday to avoid the opening day rush.

The two said they rank Feng Cha “pretty up there” in terms of their favorite boba places and plan on coming back in the future.

Feng Cha’s opening adds another boba shop to Berkeley’s already heavily saturated market.

“I feel like people go to their go-to places,” said RareTea employee Kevin Nguyen. “I don’t know how it’s going to affect business too much, but I feel like people who liked our stuff beforehand are going to come back.”

Boba Ninja employee Jason Mak said he sees another boba shop as more of a competition. Mak noted, however, that Boba Ninja offers more snacks, including popcorn chicken and chicken wings, whereas Feng Cha makes pastries.

“Every boba place has its specialty. I don’t think I’m here to push anyone out or compete, but I feel like everyone has their niche,” Laio said. “I feel like we give people a huge space to relax in that you can’t find anywhere else. We are giving a freshness that people might enjoy and on the more premium side.”

Contact Kaleo Mark at [email protected] and follow on Twitter at @kaleomark_dc.