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Bubbling Up

Two more Taiwan boba franchises

by Micheline Maynard

From the April, 2021 issue

New boba tea franchises keep bubbling up in Ann Arbor. Now, a newcomer has taken over the spot of Ann Arbor's original boba specialist: Quickly boba cafe has replaced Bubble Island in the South University Galleria.

It's the third Quickly franchise in the Detroit area for owners Jay Zheng, Cheuk Lee, and James Yang, who also have stores in Troy and Auburn Hills.

The menu at Taiwan-based Quickly ranges well beyond colorful drinks with tapioca bubbles. It has a variety of food items, including mochi waffles at $4.99, in flavors such as Nutella, almond, taro, matcha, and chocolate.

Snacks include spring rolls, Korean corn dogs, fried chicken, Spam musubi (think: sushi made with Spam), and dumplings, ranging from $4.25 to $7.99.

The extensive drink lineup has two dozen slushes, starting at $4.99, another two dozen "milk teas" (actually made with a nondairy creamer) starting at $4.75, and a long list of flavored teas. Snows, similar to a smoothie, cost $5.39 and up, and come in flavors like lychee, passion fruit, and grape.

Coffee drinks include Vietnamese and Thai iced coffee, and boba lattes, which start at $5.75. Quickly boasts that its drinks are 30 percent bigger than competitors', although customers can order them in different sizes.

It runs regular specials on its Facebook page and offers delivery.

Meanwhile, Sharetea has replaced Great Wraps on State St. near campus. Like its competitors, it offers a full line up of boba drinks, teas, milk teas, and coffee drinks. But some of its most popular drinks are its $5 nonalcoholic "mojitos." Tea and ice blended with different fruit flavors, they come in lime, peach, strawberry, mango, and winter melon.

Founded in Taiwan in 1992, Sharetea has a seasonal lineup whose drinks at press time were an Okinawa Pearl Milk Tea and Thai Pearl Milk Tea, both topped with boba. There also are two types of lemonade--watermelon and honey with aloe vera--at $4.50 and $4.75 respectively.

Sharetea serves a variety of

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teas with fresh milk, including black, green, watermelon, and oolong (nondairy alternatives are available). It has ice blended drinks, at $5.75, such as Oreo, taro, and red bean with matcha.

Sharetea customers can adjust the sweetness on many drinks from zero to 100 percent, though some cannot be lowered below 80 percent.

Quickly, 1220 South University, (734) 882-2189. Daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Sharetea, 310 S. State St., (734) 926-8940. Daily noon-10 p.m.


from Calls & Letters, May 2021

"I saw your article about bubble tea and thought I'd update you on me," emailed Dave Lin. Lin opened Bubble Island in 2002 and closed it in April 2021 after concluding it was no longer viable in the pandemic (Marketplace Changes, April).

"As you can imagine, closing down was pretty horrific so I took some time to stay safe and figure out what I wanted to do next," Lin writes. "I've decided that I want to try to help business owners who permanently closed their businesses to the pandemic."

He founded the Covid Rescue Fund ( to raise money through crowdsourcing, then make grants to help those people launch new businesses. He's hoping to "spread the news of the fund, let people know how they can help, and most importantly-to let people know that the hardships from the pandemic aren't going away with the vaccines."     (end of article)


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