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New bubble tea store occupies former Viet Nom Nom storefront

Ume Tea, a national chain founded in Cupertino, California, aims to bring creative flavors to customers
The+new+location+at+618+1%2F2+Church+Street+is+the+second+in+Illinois%2C+and+the+fifth+boba+store+in+Evanston.
Makeda Hausman
The new location at 618 1/2 Church Street is the second in Illinois, and the fifth boba store in Evanston.

Ume Tea recently opened its second location in Illinois right in the heart of Downtown Evanston, the first being in Chicago’s Chinatown. Founded in Cupertino, California in 2019, Ume Tea aims to offer a fresh new take on bubble tea and snacks for Evanston.

“[With] the number of customers we get, it’s already pretty established in terms of a new place where people can hang out and get fun drinks, it’s already building a name for itself here,” said Erin Kim, a Loyola student and employee. “I think because it’s a franchise, being here will only allow us to grow more in other suburbs and parts of Chicago. It’d be a nice pathway to grow and see more communities pop up in different areas that were rooted at the beginning.”

Ume Tea takes up the space where Viet Nom Nom was, across from the Main Library on Church Street. While Evanston is no stranger to boba, Ume Tea differentiates itself from other stores by offering unique boba flavors, such as “Lychee and Watermelon Green Tea,” “Oolong Tea Latte w/ Taro & Boba” and “Strawberry Matcha Fresh Milk Tea.” Additionally, the store also offers snacks like “Takoyaki” and “Jumbo Tempura Shrimp” and smoothies like “Osmanthus Longan Green Tea Slush” and “Avocado Slush w/ Mango.” 

“I feel like it’s a pretty unique menu. There’s a lot of drinks that I haven’t heard of and I grew up in a place where there’s a lot of different boba variations,” said Kim. “It’s super fresh and new in terms of what’s already in Evanston.”

Ume Tea will have to compete with four other boba stores in the area: TEAlicious BUBBLE, Moge Tea, Kung Fu Tea and Happy Lemon.

Visit Ume Tea at 618 ½ Church Street.

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