Kung Fu Tea NYC

Bubble tea is something that is arguably a New York essential. Regardless of your occupation, bubble tea is something that everyone can enjoy, as there is such an abundance and variety of shops in the city alone. Kung Fu Tea is a small, efficient bubble tea spot in the heart of Manhattan. Although there are many locations, the store itself down on Waverly Place, is one of the best places to go for a number of reasons.

To start, their health codes are all relevant and up to date. The store is kept rather hygienic, which is always encouraged but especially when working with food, and social distancing protocols are enforced. The store itself was just big enough for three to six to stand in pre-Covid times, and has adjusted to the bizarre circumstances by setting up an outdoor awning and serving people outside. Not only is actively enforcing social distancing protocols considerate, but it’s smart, and overall saving lives. Currently in New York State, indoor seating and dining is permitted with a few restrictions, but since the store is so small as it is, they went with their better judgement and decided against it. This also leaves a positive message about the people who are employed at this facility.

The menus at the store are provided in English, Mandarin, and Japanese, and they go beyond just beverages. Although initially solely selling bubble tea, as most businesses do when they start becoming successful/expanding their brand, Kung Fu Tea added to their menu. You can now purchase mochi and other Japanese desserts at the Waverly Place location. This is innovative because it isn’t something you would generally expect, and it is unique to that location (with a few other exceptions). In addition to Kung Fu Tea selling mochi and other Japanese desserts, they also have merchandise, which is interesting to see coming from a company that (mainly) produces beverages and refreshments. Some of the merchandise includes T-shirts, face masks, bags, hats, card games, sweaters, pop sockets, and, of course, cups.

Regarding the drinks themselves, the quality of the tea alone is very impressive. When at the store, you have the option of ordering your drink in two different consistencies and at two different temperatures. You can either order a hot tea or a cold tea, and the consistency of a drink or a slush. With these options, you can apply it to almost any flavor, which not only creates 100 new combinations to try, but can widen one’s palate and encourage one to step outside of their comfort zone. Bubble tea is typically meant to quench thirst and taste good. If it’s managing to get someone to go as far as to step outside of their comfort zone, odds are it’s a pretty great product.

Overall, Kung Fu Tea has a variety of options on their menu, a clean store, and a nice staff. Bubble tea is a 4.3 billion dollar brand and has skyrocketed in popularity over the last 5-10 years. It has grown an aesthetic, personality, and presence throughout the world, especially in New York City. Kung Fu Tea is a store that properly captures the essence of bubble tea and rarely disappoints.

— Grace Palacios ’21