Looking to quench your thirst? Look no further than CoCo Fresh Tea and Juice in the Hobart Mall. Serving up milk tea, fruit tea, smoothies and slushies, CoCo has something for all tastebuds!

Our Interview

Originally published 24 September 2019 

As many Hobart locals would know, there has been an explosion of bubble tea in the city. We aren’t going to lie, we are bubble tea novices but since we have friends who swear by them (you know who you are ladies), we felt it time to have a try. 

We visited CoCo Fresh Tea and Juice Hobart in Elizabeth Mall, who opened their doors 2 months ago. 

Owners David and Lilian are super passionate, they sat down with us to explain what bubble tea is and their journey into owning the first Tasmanian franchise of this international brand. 

David admits to us that only a few years ago he also hadn’t tried bubble tea, but is now converted. ‘When I first tried bubble tea, I really wasn’t sure. Simple reason was, it has food in it! You are drinking and eating at the same time, but you come around to it very quickly’, he tell us. 

The couple were both business consultants in Hobart prior to making the move to bubble tea. But Lilian is originally from China and grew up on the Coco brand, introducing David to it. Whereas David grew up on milkshakes and iced coffees, but his go-to drink is now all things bubble tea. 

‘We are really attracting beverage lovers at our store. There is a stigma that it’s simply for tourists and international students; the stigma is there and we acknowledge it, however, that’s not where we see the potential. We know that when people are given the chance to try bubble tea they fall in love with it’, said David. 

The issue of plastic is certainly something that David and Lilian are aware of and don’t shy away from. They offer a 50c discount for BYO cups (apparently a protein shaker is the perfect-sized cup) and they are in talks with Teros about a collaboration for eco jars. ‘We understand our impact and we are actively working on minimising that’, says David. 

While Coco Fresh Tea & Juice is an international brand, they place an emphasis on local where they can, from the bespoke wall images with kunanyi in the background through to sourcing Ashgrove milk for their latte series. 

The team also makes a number of tea elements in store daily, such as their black pearls. As it turns out you cook them in a rice cooker! ‘Cooking the pearls is easier said than done. You have to make sure they aren’t too chewy or too soft. We also keep them as fresh as they can be and turn them over regularly throughout the day’, said David. 

The best part of David’s job is seeing people try bubble tea for the very first time. ‘I especially love seeing people that try it, not expecting to like it and loving it, that’s the best. The reactions and the surprise is what I love the most.’ 

Bubble teas are fully customizable. You decide on the toppings, sweetness and temperature. If you are unsure though, David and his team are more than happy to assist you, just like they did us. 

We obviously couldn’t leave without tasting a few drinks so we could report back. David’s team whipped up 3 different kinds for us: 
• Pearl Milk Tea (50% sweetness) – the OG if you will. This drink was the standout for us, it tasted like a really well-made tea, but with delightful chewy pieces. There is both gluten free and vegan options of this one too. 
• Passion Fruit, Fruit Tea – very refreshing and the bite of the passionfruit pulp was awesome. 
• Brown Sugar Milk Tea – as someone who isn’t a massive sweet tooth this would be the least favourite, but as Lilian tells us, it is their best seller.