The best bubble tea shop on Moody Street is run by a Brandeis junior

Angel Zhao ’25 has a busy schedule – she is at present finding out for the MCAT, finishing a serious in biology, engaged on a minor in artwork historical past, and studying guitar and keyboard. However on high of her faculty workload, she’s additionally the proprietor and supervisor of Angel Tea, a phenomenal, brightly lit restaurant and café on Moody and Taylor.

“I’ve all the time been fascinated by enterprise,” Zhao mentioned in an Oct. 1 interview with the Justice Division. When she was a sophomore, she determined she wished to discover a approach to earn sufficient to pay her tuition, each at Brandeis College and ultimately medical faculty. In 2022, a chance arose: the Bubba retailer she visited typically was put up on the market.

Chow was no stranger to creating her personal recipes. She efficiently participated within the craft market when she was a senior at Brandeis, the place she offered home made boba. “Individuals liked it,” she mentioned. “Within the course of, I’ve discovered people who find themselves very fascinated by making issues – it is very unique and really inspiring.”

With the assistance of her dad and mom, who Chow described as “tremendous supportive,” she got down to buy the area in the summertime of 2022. The method wasn’t all the time straightforward. “We’re first era immigrants, we moved to the US from China after I was 12,” she mentioned. “I’ve all the time been chargeable for studying the payments and translating, and I’ve to search for each element as a result of if I do not, we’d miss one thing. It is a troublesome a part of it, however I actually take pleasure in it.”

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Rows of bubble tea line Angel Tea’s desk.

Zhao mentioned she has now made sufficient cash from the shop to pay for her present research. When she’s not educating or within the classroom, she’s there: taking the mail, engaged on taxes, dealing with invoices, orders, and different technical points together with working the entrance desk. “My dad and mom designed the menu,” she mentioned. “It is all genuine, home made Chinese language meals. Drinks I got here up with – I am a giant fan of boba. She is at present engaged on a “glowing sequence,” perfecting teas by inviting her associates to do style checks, she mentioned.

Chow additionally mentioned that her associates had been instrumental in creating this enterprise. Throughout the summer season of 2022, they helped her paint the inside of the shop. “At first I had a very completely different design, however then I spotted it was over price range,” she mentioned. “I designed it to be a vibrant setting as a result of I like creating new issues, making an attempt new issues, and feeling thrilling, and I wished the area to replicate that.”

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A scrumptious sponge cake by Amy Chow, coming to Angel Tea’s menu quickly.

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Zhao’s associates, pictured, stand together with her beneath the emblem they helped paint.

Though she carries a sketchbook in all places she goes, Chow mentioned she did not have a lot time through the yr to do as a lot artwork as she wished. Nonetheless, her artwork is an integral a part of the store: one wall is roofed with many unique black-and-white drawings of locations she has been on her travels, and he or she additionally designs colourful graphics and logos for the restaurant. “We’re on the lookout for pupil artists to promote and show their work as properly,” Chow mentioned.

One in all Zhao’s favourite components of working a tea restaurant is the individuals she has met alongside the best way. “I have been in a position to construct a reference to different firms, like Sport Underground — the businesses right here actually help one another. If we get enterprise, it’s going to be extra enterprise for everybody… and lots of it’s about constructing neighborhood.”

For all her accomplishments, Zhao is simply getting began. “I am engaged on a plan for a way individuals can put money into the shop, and I can open new areas in Boston. By the point I begin medical faculty, I need to have somebody working it for me — (the shops) might be my supply of earnings… I all the time really feel pleased after I see Individuals carry angel tea cups. My imaginative and prescient is to see individuals in Boston carrying cups too.

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Chow stands with a cargo of merchandise for the shop.

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