It didn’t take long for pearl milk tea fans to find the new Sharetea in the Hazel Dell Marketplace. During the week, the line of tall teenage girls in volleyball gear, tea aficionados waiting patiently to order, and newbies trying to decode the menu snakes through the white tiled space.
Owners NaNa and Jeff Sisakvanich and Tony Penn opened the store a month ago because they love pearl milk tea. After trying many chains and independently owned places, they liked Sharetea the best. Tired of driving all the way to the Seattle Sharetea, they decided to open their own branch of this Taiwanese franchise founded in pearl milk tea’s birth place in 1992. In the last 28 years, the company has opened about 500 branches in 18 countries.
The owners picked their space because they liked the central location and the newness of the development. All the teas, fruit purees and toppings are shipped from Taiwan. It takes a month to get supplies. For those new to these drinks, they recommend trying the pearl milk tea also known as boba tea or bubble milk tea.
A good drink has high quality tea and firm but chewy pearls. At Sharetea, tea comes in four flavors: black, green, oolong and winter melon. Winter melon tea is made with a Chinese melon and brown sugar. It has a smoky, caramel flavor.
The pearls are round pieces of tapioca dough mixed with brown sugar. At Sharetea, they’re made fresh every four hours. The dried pearl dough balls are boiled in water and brown sugar, making the shop smell like molasses cookies baking in the oven. Customers can pick their choice of whole milk, soy milk, coconut milk or almond milk.