LIHUE — Open since Aug. 1, Boba Tea and Company already has streams of customers flowing in to enjoy the refreshing beverage known for its tasty tapioca pearls at the bottom.
“I love it,” said Dennis Mai, a returning customer. “I’d come here everyday if I could.”
Located across from the civic center near the corner of Kuhio Highway and Hardy Street, the family-run business is off to a strong start.
“Kauai needed a stand-alone boba where children and younger generations can hang out,” said co-owner Evelyn Acoba. “So I chose this location for the purpose that it’s close to the school and the county building.”
Boba Tea & Company added School Time Smoothies to their menu to raise funds for local schools. Each time the special smoothies are ordered, 50 cents from every purchase is donated quarterly to the corresponding schools. With names like Red Raiders, Big Blue, Island Voyager and Da Green Machine, the smoothies have become a hit.
“We wanted to do something for the schools because the kids are coming in flocks,” said ” said co-owner Marie Yadao.
Their all-natural drinks are made from fresh fruits and vegetables. Customers can keep cool with real fruit smoothies featuring catchy names like Mango Tango, Dragon Berrylicious and Pina Colada. One of the most popular items on the menu is the Lava Flow, with pineapple, coconut milk, strawberry and yogurt.
Their signature smoothies are blended with fresh ingredients. One, called the Emerald Splash, consists of orange juice, pear, green apple, spinach, broccoli and soy milk. The taro smoothie features Ube ice cream and coconut jelly for a refreshing mix.
“I didn’t expect it to be this overwhelming,” Acoba said. “I guess this is what Kauai needed, just a place for the younger generations to hang out. They see this fun, modern, upbeat look and like to hang out and order our top quality drinks.”
Their refreshing milk teas use jasmine green, coffee, matcha and even lychee. Fruit teas offer pineapple and strawberry lihing, mango, honeydew, watermelon, passion orange, and more. The chewy tapioca bubbles that make boba tea famous can be added to any drink on the menu for 50 cents.
Prices range from $4.50 to $5.95 for special tea, $5 to $6 for fruit tea, $7 to $8 for fruit smoothies and $7.50 to $8.25 for signature smoothies.
The store has clean cozy tables and green walls decorated with purple boba bubbles. The cheery music and friendly service give the feeling of being at home.
“Family makes it better,” said Yadao. “We have 17 great-grandchildren and 12 grandchildren, and they all come in together. The kids are supportive and say hang in there grandma, you’re doing good.”
Yadao works closely with her goddaughter, co-owner Acoba, as well as her daughters, granddaughter, niece and grandson for a multi-generational family business.
“This is worth more than a million dollars to me, just to have the family come together,” Yadao said. “This is so much fun, it’s just wonderful. It touches my heart to have the family so involved.”
The grandkids like topping drinks with mango and lychee pop rocks, as well as coconut and strawberry jellies. The store also carries unique boxed snacks neatly packaged with animated owls and cartoon animals containing candies inside.
“We also have a new drink coming out soon called the Chocolate Haupia Boba Drink,” Acoba said. “Come down to talk story and check us out.”
Boba Tea and Company is at 3-3100 Kuhio Highway, Unit C-13. Hours are 9 am. to 6 p.m. daily. Info: 431-4500