Lollicup Introduces New Split Cups and Mochi Ice Cream
Lollicup, which has been serving up the popular Taiwanese drink bubble or “boba” tea and other snacks since 2006, has recently introduced split cups and mochi ice cream to its menu.
A franchise out of California, Lollicup’s Gainesville location is the only one in Florida, one of only two locations on the east coast and the only shop to offer split cups.
The split cups, which were introduced Saturday, Feb. 4, allow customers to enjoy two different boba tea flavors. As of Monday, Feb. 20, Lollicup now lays claim to one of the only self-service mochi bars as well.
Bubble tea, also known as boba tea and pearl tea, emigrated to the Bay area from Taiwan in the ‘80’s. The drink spawned from a local tea stand, where kids would line up after school to get a taste of the sweet, refreshing beverage.
As popularity grew, stand owners began adding fruity flavors to their teas to peak the children’s interest.
Eventually, tapioca pearls were added to the mix, which looked like bubbles that sank to the bottom of your drink, giving it its name. The chewy, jelly-like pearls come in just as much variety at speciality shops as the actual tea flavors.
With such a colorful history behind the product and its origins, the culture surrounding the drink has become equally as vibrant.
“It’s becoming a lifestyle. I think it’s the next version of froyo. It’s got a very fun, social and hip culture behind it,” said Lollicup employee and tea master Lisa Lu.
The split cups have had positive reception and an unexpectedly large reaction, according to owner Nam Diep.
“The idea came from a kid’s snack where there was a pretzel cooking on one side and the dipping chocolate on the other side,” said Diep. “We thought it would be cool to have a drink with two sides to it,” he said.
“Thinking back about when we were kids, we often grab multiple slushies from 7-11 or wish there was a way to get two fountain drinks separately since we always drink one flavor and then fill up the rest with another flavor before heading to the cashier,” said Diep, whose favorite combination is Thai Tea and Taro Milk Tea.
Popular combinations since introducing the split cups have been Taro and Thai Green Milk Tea; Royal Milk Tea and Thai tea; and 1988 Milk Tea and Mango Milk Tea.
“I think a lot of people are trying new flavors that they have always been curious about but are still able to get their true favorites,” said Diep.
“They’re a good way to share with your friends or if you can’t decide, you don’t have to just pick one,” said Anthony Tran, an employee of over a year.
Tran, whose favorite combination is the Jasmine Milk Tea and the London Fog, called the new cups innovative and attested to the positive reception from customers towards the new cups and ice cream.
A rainbow of different mochi flavors, which consists of a pounded Japanese sticky rice coating and ice cream filling, are now offered at Lollicup’s self-service mochi bar.
Within the first hour of opening their doors, over 20 mochis were sold, according to Tran, who was working on the day of the mochi station’s debut.
Dom Milocco, freshman and digital arts and sciences major at UF, typically visits Lollicup once or twice a week. He found out about Lollicup through his girlfriend.
“I see the mochi station as a great business opportunity for Lollicup and a great new addition for some who may not like boba tea,” said Milocco. “Expanding their its already massive selection of beverages and food is always a good idea.”
“Personally, I think the split cups are a cute idea for couples,” said Milocco, whose favorite combination is is Green Thai Milk Tea and Mango Milk Tea.
However, black teas, which Milocco prefers to milk teas, are not yet an available in split cups.
“They need to find a way to increase their tea selection for split cups if they want to succeed anytime soon,” he said. “It’s a mild inconvenience I’m sure they’ll fix in the future.”