You know to take a new bubble tea operator seriously when it owns its own tea plantation. At Gotcha Fresh Tea, the tea leaves come directly from the chain’s own farm in Mount Ali, Taiwan. At dawn, when the tea leaves are at their prime, they are picked, dried and shipped to Gotcha stores across Australia.
“Mount Ali has very good weather, nice natural soil and all the tea there is grown organically,” says Gotcha’s brand director, Orlando Sanpo. “We wanted to have our own tea farm because we want the best quality possible.”
This focus on quality has fuelled Gotcha’s success in Australia. After opening its first store in Melbourne’s Parkmore Shopping Centre in 2017, six more followed in Victoria and two in Sydney. Now comes Brisbane – Gotcha opened last week at Pinelands Plaza in Sunnybank Hills. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s been a huge hit with lines regularly queueing out the door.
“[It has been] very overwhelming,” Sanpo says. “We are serving between 800 and 1000 cups a day. The last two days we had to close the store early because the ice machine only makes enough ice for 1000 cups.”
Each Gotcha tea is made fresh to order with no artificial ingredients added. The lengthy menu encompasses many different flavours and styles, from fruit teas to milky teas, and teas with salted cheese foam. There’s even a durian cheese foam tea.
The Instagrammable design of the Gotcha stores, with their blossom-pink stone surfaces and brass highlights, is inspired by European tea salons. “Gotcha is designed to bring people together [so] they can spend time appreciating good tea and good conversation,” he says.