Tea and Milk started in 2013 with three childhood friends. Mat, Wilson, and Kendy grew up drinking bubble tea as a special afternoon treat their parents bought for them to enjoy (when they behaved) and they developed a mutual love for the sweet, delicious teas and chewy bubbles that carried into their adult years. Though in adulthood, their lives had become infinitely more hectic and they each struggled with their share of responsibilities, they would still find the time many afternoons to meet up on their local park bench and sip the vibrant colored teas and soft tapioca pearls they loved in their youth.
It was during these meetups that the three friends discussed how bubble tea could be even better if the emphasis was on the essence of the tea itself and if the “fruit flavors” came from real fruit and natural ingredients. Through hands on research at local tea shops and numerous conversations with local and overseas distributors of bubble tea products, it became clear to them that healthier, more naturalistic options were lacking in the current marketplace. And so the idea for Tea & Milk was born.
Matt, Wilson, and Kendy realized they would have to completely reboot the traditional idea of bubble tea that they had grown up with and create a new better product that focused on accentuating the natural flavor of the tea. They began searching for the best teas and flavoring ingredients, swapping out the artificial sweeteners and syrups for raw sugar, flowers, fruits, and spices. A year-long period of experimentation followed and the three friends found themselves tirelessly gathering ingredients, and trying and perfecting a handful of staple recipes in their spare time after work and on weekends. When they believed they had finally achieved the best tasting teas in line with their vision, they decided it was time to try them out on the public and see what other people thought. So they opened up their first stand at LIC Flea and Food Market...to wild success. In the one and a half seasons that Tea & Milk was at the LIC Flea, they developed a strong fan base, a slew of great reviews, and most importantly, a solid place in the community. With the groundwork laid in Queens, Tea & Milk opened up a permanent storefront in Astoria, a cozy 10-seat tea shop, where Matt, Wilson, and Kendy keep up their childhood tradition of meeting up and drinking delicious bubble tea.