Since it's launch in 2010, The Boba Truck has become a serious contender in the Southern California bubble tea scene. Patrons know it for its unique flavors like Fuji Apple Green Tea and Rose Oolong Tea — but there's actually much more behind the four-wheeled tea spewing machine. Turn the page for six things we bet you didn't know about the Boba Truck.
1. Founder Liwei Liao designed the truck and company using his knowledge as a civil engineer.
“I studied engineering at UCLA and out of school I did some engineering jobs, but when the food truck craze come up, I had this idea to sell boba off the truck. So I took an engineering approach and designed a mobile tea bar especially for brewing tea,” Liao, who started the venture with his partner Mike Tsuan said. “The truck doesn't look like any other food truck out there. We have a huge window so people can see in and know that it's clean and spacious. And we don't have any pots or pans — just the tea machine and 40 different jars of different tea flavors.” Liao, who has a background in water engineering, said even the water used is unique. “We use commercial reverse osmosis so you're getting pure water.”
2. The flavors are actually infused in the tea leaves.
The Boba Truck doesn't use syrup to create its signature Fuji apple tea drink. The apple flavor is actually in the tea leaves. “We have our own tea supplier that comes straight from a source in Taiwan that processes all of our tea for us,” Liao said. “They do all the blends to our specifications.” He added that the sugar used is all raw and natural. No liquid sugar.
3. The boba has a lifespan of four hours.
“We have a very strict serving time,” Liao said. “Each actual boba has a serving time within four hours. If it's not served within the time frame, we literally just throw it out.”
4. Every drink gets brewed individually when it's ordered.
The company imported a espresso-style tea machine from Taiwan that brews fresh tea on a cup-by-cup basis. “Traditionally it takes about takes five minutes to steep a cup of tea,” Liao said. “With the the machine I'm able to cut that time down and steep a concentrated shot of tea in about a minute, and from that concentrated shot we're able to make a full serving.”
5. They have a secret menu.
“Off the truck we can make over 100 different unique flavors,” Liao said. “But there are only 75 flavors on our menu. We have about 20 to 25 secret menu flavors that regulars come up with and are developed by blending different teas.”
6. They're opening a second brick-and-mortar shop in Oxnard in June.
The company currently shares a shop with the White Rabbit Truck in Canoga Park and they're expanding that venture in Oxnard. The new extension will be called “The Boba Truck Express” and will still be a collaboration between White Rabbit and The Boba Truck. “We found that our products, Filipino fusion and boba drinks, go hand and hand,” Liao said. The menu in the Oxnard location will only feature half of the drinks. “It's still going to have a good amount of selection, around 40 to 50,” Liao said. The store is set to launch in June.