Where can you go in Hardin Valley to sip a customized bubble tea, enjoy a tasty snack, and have fun with friends in a clean and comfortable environment? The answer is Tealicious right in Hardin Valley!
We had the great opportunity to speak with co-owner, My Quyen, to learn more about this fun and delicious (or should we say Tealicious?) shop.
Shop Opening, Location, and Hours
Tealicious opened on September 16, 2019. The shop is locally owned and operated and located at 10720 Hardin Valley Rd, Knoxville, TN 37932 and is open every day, 11AM to 8PM.
Story Behind the Shop
Co-owner, My Quyen, and her husband have a deep love for bubble tea…a slight addiction she might say. They used to take trips to Atlanta when they had a craving for the tea where they would buy 10-12 teas to bring home that would last them a few days.
They never thought about opening their own business, but when the opportunity came to them, they could not turn it down.
My Quyen’s cousin, who is also her partner, has a bubble tea shop in North Carolina. One day, My Quyen was joking with her that Knoxville needed a bubble tea shop. She then said to her cousin that she should open one up in Knoxville and that she would manage it for her. Her cousin said that she would only open up a shop if My Quyen would be her partner in business. That conversation started in late April of 2019, and in September, Tealicious was born.
What is bubble tea?
For those who are unfamiliar with bubble tea, here’s a history lesson. Bubble tea originated from Taiwan in the 1980s as tea that is mixed with milk or fruits with chewy tapioca pearls (boba) added. Bubble tea has gained popularity worldwide and has evolved with many different flavors and toppings, such as jellies and popping bobas. What makes bubble tea fun and special is the all the different flavor and texture combinations that you can have in one drink.
With all the flavors and textures, how do you go about ordering?
My Quyen always advises customers to choose their drink first, then add their toppings, and adjust the ice and sweetness level to their liking. In choosing a drink, they offer different categories of drinks that should suit almost everyone. They have milk teas, which are creamier and more comforting. Fruit teas are refreshing and green tea-based with fruit flavor added (the customers do have the option to change the base to black tea if they choose).
They also have non-tea-based drinks for those looking for a decaffeinated option. Specialty milks are milk-based drinks with added fruit flavor.
They use fresh whole milk in all their drinks, but they also have non-dairy options, such as lactose free, almond, and oat milk.
In addition, slushes are great for the hot days and are also caffeine-free.
Once the drink is chosen, then it’s time to add in topping(s)! These are optional, of course, but they add more texture and flavor to the drink. They have many different options, in addition to boba tapioca pearls.
For customers choosing a fruit tea or slushes, they can customize their drink even further by mixing any 2 fruit flavors. Adjusting the ice and sweetness level is optional. One thing she likes to warn their customers about adjusting sweetness level on fruit drinks is that they don’t use fruit flavoring powders so adjusting the sweetness will also affect the flavor. By lowering the sweetness level, their drink will have a stronger green tea taste and less of the fruit flavor.
Here are a few of the most popular items on the menu if you’re having trouble deciding:
Milk Teas: classic black and taro
Fruit Teas: strawberry
Specialty Milk: brown sugar with boba and strawberry
What about offerings outside of beverages? They’ve got that covered, too!
They offer some snacks along with bubble tea. They are Vietnamese, so they like to bring some of their culture to customers. The pandan waffle and banh trang tron (rice paper) are Vietnamese street snacks.
In addition, the customer can enjoy chicken bites and egg rolls, which are their family recipes, adding a special touch to these offerings. For those looking for a seafood snack, they have fried fish balls, which are commonly found in bubble tea stores because they pair well with drinks.
Tealicious has also partnered with other local women-owned businesses to offer a selection of chocolate covered goodies and chocolate bombs by Berrylicious Bouquets, stickers and keychains from Karah DeAnn Designs, and glasses designed by DreamCo Shop.
Bringing Community Together with Customer Engagement
Not only can you enjoy some tasty bubble tea at Tealicious, but you can also participate in fun activities offered at the shop. They love customer engagement, so they often do things such as Bingo and polls. Bingo was a big success, and they look forward to bringing that back.
They also do Taste Test Thursday on the second Thursday of each month. Since their drinks are made to order, it’s hard for customers to try new flavors, so they feature a drink each month for customers to come by and sample the drink.
They announce what drink will be offered for Taste Test Thursday on social media a few days before and the day of.
They’re always trying to think of new fun things to engage their customers, so be sure to follow them on social media to find out!
What makes Tealicious unique?
There are many reasons Tealicious stands out among other bubble tea shops. Ingredients and environment are the top two.
They use fresh products instead of dairy powder, which enables them to offer different milk options. Also, they cook their boba fresh throughout the day. This unique offering may mean they run out of boba during the day while a new batch is being cooked, but this extra touch is to ensure that their boba stays fresh.
Also, whether it’s to sit and hang out with friends, to study, or just to kick back and relax admiring the cute backdrops for pictures, they strive to give their customers a friendly and happy atmosphere to be in. They love taking the time to get to know their customers, when they can, and that’s one of the greatest things about Hardin Valley…the community feeling.
Keeping Customers in Mind with Cleanliness
They take cleanliness very seriously and sanitize and disinfect common areas throughout the day. They use an air purifier in the lobby and have hand sanitizers throughout the store. They’ve received a 100 on all of their health department inspections. In addition, they offer curbside pickup and deliver with DoorDash, UberEats, and Grubhub.
Plan a Visit and Learn More
We are excited to spotlight such a fun and unique shop located in Hardin Valley. We encourage you to check them out!
Please note that they are renovating the second week of July, so they will be closed July 4th through July 8th, but mark your calendars now to check them out before and after the brief closure!
Want to learn more and connect? Check out their website, www.tealicioustn.com, and you can follow them on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/tealicioustn/) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/tealicioustn).
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