According to a spokesperson from the shopping centre, daily queues have been seen outside Pearls Bubble Tea and owner Peter Aaen admits the reaction has exceeded all expectations.
The entrepreneur, who runs the family business that opened its first store in Brighton nine years ago, said, “We’ve been inundated since opening in The Beacon. The reaction has exceeded what we had hoped.
“As soon as school finishes, we have queues outside but it’s not only students, we are seeing a wide variety of people wanting to try what’s on offer.”
Although bubble tea is now widely known, when Mr Aaen opened his first store in Brighton, the concept was relatively new to the UK.
Bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the 1980s and in its most basic form is red tea mixed with condensed milk over black tapioca pearls. The shop currently offers a huge range of variations on the ori
ginal drink and can come with a base of green or black tea infused with a variety of extracts or natural fruit flavourings.
Mr Aaen said, “I think it’s so popular because it’s a grab-and-go drink. It’s thirst-quenching but you don’t have to sit down and drink it.
“Bubble tea is refreshing with lots of flavours and it’s a snack and drink all in one.
“Every single drink is made to order and can be customised so you can have it with all kinds of different toppings – we have over 40 flavours with different levels of sweetness.”
Since opening in Brighton, Mr Aaen has set up nine other stores across the UK including in Leeds, Sheffield and Leicester – but this is only his second on the south coast.
He said, “We’d been looking at Eastbourne for a while because we thought it was a really nice town centre, but then covid delayed things.
“When we think about opening a new store, we look for the right location that feels right for the business. The Beacon ticked all the boxes.”
Before setting up Pearls Bubble Tea, Mr Aaen worked in a technology job in London.
Mr Aaen said: “It was a huge gamble. I left London for Brighton because I thought it was a place quirky enough for the idea to work. The concept really took off and we’ve never looked back.”
The new Eastbourne store employs nine people and Mr Aaen hopes that he can soon offer home delivery to local customers.
James Roberts, director of The Beacon, said, “It has been fantastic to see queues in the centre for Pearls Bubble Tea.
“It is a great addition to The Beacon and our customers are making clear just how popular the concept is.”