Grab a bubble tea from this charming tea shop in Liberty Center!
If you consider yourself a tea person, you have to plan a trip to Lil Cuppa Tea... and even if you don't typically like tea, their products will likely change your mind. Mika Kabbes has been a life long tea-fanatic, so her goal is to bring fresh, customizable options to her home in Liberty Township. Her tea shop specializes in bubble tea, milk tea, flavored tea and yakult in a whimsical atmosphere. With so many flavor combinations, you'll be sure to love your Lil Cuppa Tea.
I'd Love a Lil Cuppa Tea!
Ever since she was a young-adult, Mika aspired to open a small business. Before moving to Liberty Center, she was well-traveled throughout her childhood. Growing up in Beijing, Mika's parents owned a restaurant that they later turned into their own tea shop. She says she thinks she got her love for tea from her mom, who has always been good with tea tasting, blending and different brands.
From Beijing, Mika moved to England for grade school and then to Canada for high school. She finished her education in the United States, attending Miami University where she studied small business, commerce and art.
After graduating and getting married, she found herself spending a lot of time at Liberty Center— especially at her favorite movie theatre, CineBistro. Mika decided to move there, which was how she found out about an open retail space that used to belong to David's Tea.
Immediately, a spark went off in her mind. She had always wanted to open her own business, and saw the opportunity to bring a bubble tea shop to the area— something she grew up with and was passionate about. After talking with her husband and her family, Mika says she received full support from all of them.
Mika spent a lot of time researching, branding, and brainstorming ways that her shop could stand out. She even worked at another bubble tea shop to learn the science behind it.
She decided that her shop would have a more personalized touch, allowing customers to customize their own flavor combinations so that everyone could have a favorite.
"Tea is a fun drink with so much variety and flavor," says Mika, "If a customer tells me what they like and dislike, I can give recommendations and adjust the recipes to fit their specific taste."
Mika put a lot of her own style into the shop; especially her favorite color, dusty rose pink. Customers can also check out her personal collection of childhood books on the shelves, along with some of her favorite games.
Mika says she plans to continue adding books and games to the shelves in the future for customers to read and play while visiting. She also hopes to eventually purchase a camera to keep in her shop for customers to use so that she can cover the walls in Polaroids. These personal touches give Lil Cuppa Tea a comfortable atmosphere, while the colors and fun characters add an enchanting vibe.
But in my opinion, nothing represents the charm of the shop quite like the name Lil Cuppa Tea. Mika says the name came after three days of brainstorming, and her mother-in-law saying, "I'd love a little cuppa tea."
Bursting with Flavor
Despite the name, every lil cuppa tea is bursting with big flavor. The menu is always being updated to feature new favorites and seasonal flavors as well.
If you are not familiar with tea, here's a simple rundown: Milk Tea (also called Bubble Tea or Boba Tea) in its most basic form is a drink that consists of tea, milk, ice, and chewy tapioca pearls. Mika likes to tell customers that it is most similar to a creamy latte, but really has a unique flavor of its own.
Right now, the top selling flavors are Rose, Coffee, Coconut and Taro. Mika says Taro is like a sweet purple potato that she mixes with Earl Grey tea to produce a flavor similar to Fruity Pebbles.
Customers can choose one of Mika's menu items or create their own combination. You can see a full list of the flavors on her website. Choose between milk tea, flavored tea, regular tea and Yakult— which tastes similar to a liquid yogurt without the thick texture. Mika also makes lemonade that is especially popular in warmer months. She says customers love the Blueberry or the Green Apple Lemonade.
Flavors at Lil Cuppa Tea range from fruity classics like Strawberry and Peach, all the way to fun flavors like Rose, Chocolate and Caramel. You can also mix two or three flavors together, with your choice of Black or Green Tea. Mika says that right now her personal favorite is either the Chocolate Milk Tea or the Peach Milk Tea.
She also offers additional toppings like a Crystal Bubble, Strawberry Pop, Kiwi Pop, Passion Fruit Pop, Blueberry Pop or Lychee Jelly. The "Pop" additions are these little jelly balls that sink to the bottom of your drink that add a burst of another flavor.
During my first visit to Lil Cuppa Tea, I had only tried bubble tea a handful of times before. After taking a look at the options, I told Mika that I trusted her to create anything she wanted for me to try.
She made me two of her specialities— a Peach Milk Tea (made with green tea) and added Strawberry Pop, as well as a Strawberry Yakult with Passion Fruit Pop.
Both were incredibly delicious.
Once I left, I found myself already thinking about when I could make my next visit to try something new.
Although both of the drinks were amazing, my favorite part was how happy it made Mika to see that I loved what she made. I saw her light up every time she greeted a new customer— each one raving about their bubble tea before walking out the door.
7117 Haskell Street | Liberty Center, Ohio
(513) 331-9553 | www.lilcuppatea.com