Marquette student to open new bubble tea cafe on campus

Slated for late August opening at former Subway restaurant

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A new cafe in the works on Marquette University’s campus would aim to give students another spot to study or socialize while introducing the area to a popular beverage trend.

SereniTea would focus on bubble tea, or boba tea, which is a Taiwanese tea-based drink containing milk and chewy tapioca balls, known as pearls. The cafe would occupy a 1,450-square-foot former Subway restaurant at 1414 W. Wells St., on the ground floor of the Ivy on 14th apartment building.

Behind the concept is Manpreet Singh, an undergraduate student at Marquette, himself, currently working toward a degree in business administration, he said.

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Singh, 24, first tried bubble tea in Madison and said he soon began to wonder why there aren’t more places to buy the drink in Milwaukee. The bubble tea trend in recent years has gained more momentum in other cities, but not as much locally, he said.

Manpreet Singh, contributed

“It’s something Milwaukee lacks,” he said.

He had only dreamt of opening the business until November of last year, when he noticed the West Wells Street space was available for lease and he decided to inquire. Subway had closed earlier that year.

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“It will bring something new to the table and something refreshing for people who haven’t had (bubble tea) before,” Singh said. “I want to make it a place where people can relax or do school work.”


He said he also wants to expand the coffee shop options on campus, which currently is limited to a handful of Marquette-operated cafes and a usually- over-crowded Starbucks on West Wisconsin Avenue.

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In addition to bubble tea, SereniTea will serve coffee and light snack items, all made in-house, Singh said. The full menu is still in the works, but it will offer a range of bubble tea flavors including, jasmine, green, black and milk tea that can be mixed with a variety of fruit-based syrups and tapioca pearls.

The space is currently undergoing extensive renovations, including new walls, ceilings, floors and bathrooms, but Singh hopes to have the business up and running in time for the start of the school year in late August. That timeline also depends on the city’s licensing approval process.

Singh said he is funding the venture largely on his own, with some support from his father, who also has a background in business.

SereniTea would be open daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., according to a license application recently filed with the City of Milwaukee.

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