Popular tea shop opens its first Austin location

Stephen Acevedo

With a vibrant interior and niche menu items, Kung Fu Tea’s new West Campus location is grabbing the attention of UT students.  

UT alumna Jinyun Tang opened Kung Fu Tea’s Austin location in December with the goal of offering quality beverages to its customers. From bubble tea to slushes to punch, they manage to please the palates of customers looking for an interesting new drink. 

The signature Kung Fu milk tea is one of the better bubble tea iterations offered in West Campus. Rich enough to give off the creamy coffee flavor that it aims for but tame enough to not become overpowering, the milk tea finds a perfect balance. 

While Kung Fu specializes in tea, its punch options are equally notable, especially their lychee punch. The pieces of fresh lychee in the beverage make the flavor feel much more authentic than if they were to simply use flavored syrup. 

The tea shop’s slushes, however, were slightly less enjoyable. While not bad, they certainly taste artificial in a way that the punches successfully avoid. The passion fruit slush is tasty for the first few sips but quickly becomes nauseatingly sweet.

Upon entering Kung Fu Tea, the first noticeable part of the teashop is its vibrant atmosphere. With bright colored chairs, bold dragon art on the walls and sped-up renditions of pop songs blasting from the speakers, Kung Fu Tea comes off as slightly desperate to promote a fun ambiance. The combination of their attempts is a bit more obnoxious than fun.

“The theme that we are going for with the decorations here is not fully established yet,” Tang said. “I’m trying to keep it comfortable and friendly, like a college student atmosphere.” 

Despite the slightly off-putting climate, the service at Kung Fu Tea is friendly and prompt. The baristas greet customers with a smile and are eager to help people who aren’t familiar with bubble tea navigate the menu. 

“We try to be lighthearted, but still swift and professional with customers,” said Daniel Ho, government sophomore and a barista at Kung Fu Tea. 

A successfully fun part of Kung Fu Tea is the placement of tea shaking machines behind the counter. When a cup of tea is placed in the cartridge, the machine aggressively shakes the cup to mix
the ingredients.

“I think a lot of people get a kick out of the little shaker machines,” Ho said. “It always catches customers’ attention when we use one, and they always find it really cool.” 

A well-established international chain, Kung Fu Tea’s new West Campus location is the first to open in Austin, Texas. 

“I was aware of their location in Houston because my friends would always talk about it on social media,” customer Anjelica Manglapus said. “I was excited to hear that they were bringing a Kung Fu Tea to Austin.”

Although Kung Fu Tea has its fair share of flaws, Tang said she is working hard to show improvements. 

“We just want people to know that we’re still new, so there will inevitably be some small mistakes,” Tang said. “We ask the Austin community to give us time. We’re still training our employees, and we encourage people to bring it up if there is ever a problem with the product or service so we can address it.”