Originally from Vietnam, Vu Pham moved to Fort Myers 50 years ago, running a Taekwondo school in Lehigh Acres as a nearly fifth-degree black belt for 25 years. Since returning five years ago, Pham began sorting and researching through numerous boba tea franchises until finding Presotea.
He is opening Presotea’s first Florida location Oct. 29 at 3268 Forum Blvd., Unit 205, in Fort Myers. The hours of operation are 9 amto 9 pm daily.
Presotea, an original brand from Taiwan, offers a unique experience for seasoned bubble tea lovers and new customers alike. Bubble tea is a Taiwanese recipe made by blending tea with milk, fruit and fruit juices. The “bubble” comes from the addition of tapioca pearls, extracted from the cassava root and made into soft and chewy pearls at the bottom of the tea-based drink.
Bubble tea, or boba tea, is often colorful and aesthetic, served in a clear cup with a thick straw to draw up the tapioca pearls with every sip.
Presotea is known for freshness guaranteed by utilizing a tea-making process different than other bubble tea shops. The franchise makes each drink by using an espresso machine to extract tea essence, as all drinks are made fresh upon order.
“It’s the other 99.9% of the boba shops out there where they make it in a unlike three-gallon bucket and it sits for eight or nine hours at a time,” Pham said. “You come here, you order it and we brew it fresh.”
Pham emphasized the importance of fresh brewing tea, as brewed tea will lose its complexity over time, breaking down and becoming bitter the longer it sits.
Aside from the system that brews the tea, freshness and quality even comes down to the water used at Presotea, which uses a reverse osmosis water filtration system.
“This is made to order and that’s why it takes longer,” Pham said. “If you want quality for yourself, you have to wait the extra few minutes.”
Bubble tea has become popular in the western world, first picking up pace in California, despite its popularity in Asian countries since the 1980s.
“It’s definitely a growing trend, but everything starts from the west and just kind of migrates over to the east coast,” Pham said.
Presotea’s menu ranges from traditional fruit and milk teas to coffee, smoothies and bubble waffles, with each menu item held at the same freshness standard.
Pham expects the Vietnamese coffee to be a key component to the shop’s success.
“I think coffee is going be a big hit,” Pham said. “We have a lot of French influence in Vietnam, Vietnamese coffee goes back a long time. The coffee’s strength and taste alone sets itself apart from the Starbucks and Dunkins.”
Coffee offered at Presotea includes Vietnamese coffee, house coffee and caramel and flan frappes.
The shop’s smoothies range from taro, a starchy root vegetable native to southeast Asia, lychee, a tropical fruit native to China to strawberry, avocado, mango and more.
Bubble waffles, or egg waffles, became popularized as a Hong Kong street food since its emergence in the 1950s. The waffle is made of an eggy leavened batter cooked between two plates of semi-spherical cells, resulting in a thinner, bubblier product compared to traditional waffles.
The shop offers plain, brown sugar boba and strawberry bubble waffles.
Presotea has 450 global locations, including Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Korea and the United Kingdom. Twelve more Florida locations are soon expected to come to Tampa, Orlando and Miami.
“I picked this franchise because of the taste, how it’s designed and the overall process,” Pham said. “I want people to have an experience here, to taste something different.”