Bubble Bee, a bubble tea shop in Merrimack, NH, is getting ready to open a new location in downtown Durham. As soon as the owner, Gong Yonggang heard that there was available space in Durham on the corner of Madbury Road and Pettee Brook Lane, he couldn’t wait and jumped at the chance to sign a lease.  

The shop held a soft opening on Tuesday, April 30, for Yonggang to make sure everything was in place before making their presence known to the community, and didn’t want to promise food or drinks he couldn’t deliver.  

While the menu may not be long during the first few weeks, Yonggang wants to see what people want and then gradually add the things in demand, especially things like snacks and desserts. Yonggang knows some students at UNH who have expressed an interest in his business moving closer to campus so they don’t have to make the long drive down to Merrimack. 

Business on a college campus can be hard in the summer when all the students are away, but Yonggang wants to take full advantage of the 16,000 UNH students still on campus before finals.  

While preparing for the opening, Yonggang has been upping his social media presence to get the word out, and also hiring students to serve as cashiers and baristas, along with two full-time cooks during the day. The employees would be making the tea, coffee, and boba fresh in the shop for UNH students.  

I stopped into Bubble Bee Tea to sample a few of the flavors and check out the shop. I was lucky enough to try three popular flavors: bubble coffee, fresh lemon tea with strawberry popping boba, and passion fruit tea. The menu offered hot, cold and frozen drinks, with or without your choice of six different bobas or jellies. There were wooden puzzles on the table to fiddle around with while waiting for the tea to be made.  

Of all the flavors I tried, I’m partial to classic tea flavors (hot or iced, it doesn’t matter to me) so I loved the fresh lemon tea with the added twist of the popping strawberry boba. While I’m not usually a coffee person, however, the bubbling coffee tasted exactly like Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream. These drinks were sweetened, and I always put sugar in my drinks, but the passion fruit didn’t need anything to make it a perfect balance between sweet and tart. 

Yonggang wants to make sure everyone who walks through his door is happy with what they received, and is excited to be offering bubble tea to the UNH campus.  

Two UNH students raved about the service they received. 

The new business is “the coziest little shop with wonderful service and even better tea!” junior zoology major Ellen Gonzalez said.  

“The bubble tea was extremely tasty and their hospitality was so off the charts that I went and got a second bubble tea after finishing my first one,” Amy Flaherty, another junior zoology major who got two bubble coffees before leaving the shop, said.  

The official grand opening will be Friday, May 3.