We sit down with marketing manager of Gong Cha, SJ Liaw, to discuss all things business and tea.
What does ‘Gong Cha’ mean and where was it founded?
‘Gong cha’ in Chinese means to offer the best tea to the emperor from all possessions. It represents the highest quality and self-expectation. Gong cha was founded in Kaohsiung city, Taiwan in 2006.
How many stores are there in NZ?
We currently have 20 stores in New Zealand, and we’ve scheduled one more to be opened during the Christmas period. That will make it 21 stores in total by the end of 2020. We just celebrated our fifth-year anniversary in August.
What is your favourite item on the menu?
My personal favourite would be the QQ passionfruit green tea which includes coconut jelly and pearls as a combo. It’s sweet, refreshing and a real thirst-quencher. The toppings add texture to the drink too, making it an enjoyable experience every time I crave tea.
There’s a lot of variety on the menu, what are the most popular combinations?
With around 60 drinks and 13 toppings on our main menu, there’s definitely a lot to choose from. Our staff all-time favourites include the peach green tea with aloe vera, the pearl milk tea with pudding jelly and the taro milk drink with pearls. I personally also like to add our signature milk foam onto any of the drinks from the milk tea series, like our pearl milk tea or chocolate milk drink. The milk foam enhances the taste and makes the drink even creamier!
Our signature milk foam is unique with its rich, salted creamy taste. On each signature milk foam drink you can see that it mixes well with the tea. Our signature milk foam is made of fresh milk and asecret recipe. It doesn’t contain cheese.
Here are three ways to enjoy our milk foam:
Sip the freshly brewed tea through the milk foam without a straw.
Slurp some tea followed by the milk form through the straw for a smooth taste.
Stir both layers for a perfect blend of milky foam and aromatic tea.
What are the pearls and jellies?
And which of the drinks do they suit best? Pearls are made from tapioca starch; in some countries they like to call it boba or bubbles. They take over an hour to prepare and are flavoured with brown sugar. Pearls can be added to any drink, and suits every flavour. We also offer three different types of jelly, these are: pudding jelly, herbal jelly and ai-yu jelly. Pudding jelly is one of the best sellers and matches well with classic milk tea and taro milk drink. The herbal jelly is quite a unique flavour that is based on the Chinese ‘Gui Ling Gao’ or grass jelly – it’s very popular in milk teas too. Ai-Yu jelly is a refreshing slightly sweet jelly, it’s perfect for your fruity flavours.
What has been your biggest reward from the business?
One of our biggest brand milestones has been witnessing more and more people enjoying bubble tea every day. It’s been amazing to see the growth of our brand even though it definitely has not been an easy journey, especially during this Covid period. Thankfully, due to our dedicated fan-base, we’ve been able to pull through during this tough time which we really have to thank all our Gong Cha family for. This year we’re celebrating our fifth anniversary with our 20th shop by October. We hope to open our 21st store by Christmas which will be a perfect way to welcome 2021.
For any of our readers who haven’t yet tried Gong Cha, what would you recommend?
Definitely try our signature milk foam, classic milk tea with pearl, QQ passionfruit green tea, and the peach or grapefruit green tea with pulp. In addition, try out seasonal launch — the Crème Brûlée series.