Staff Blog

2021 Restaurant Partner: Bobae

February 28, 2021

Over the years, SAAFF has partnered with many restaurants to bring our festival goers just a small taste of everything Seattle has to offer. This year, we are happy to announce that our restaurant partnerships have returned – with a twist! With our festival being all online, we wanted to spread our partnerships to the greater Seattle area! Get ready to hear the stories and voices of this year’s restaurant partners and get ready to find out how you can enjoy the taste of some of Seattle’s best restaurants while you watch our largest festival yet in the comfort of your own home!

Next up, learn more about Joey and Karma, the duo behind Bobae Coffee & Tea. Bobae has been known for serving up unique and delicious drinks and donuts. With monthly creative drinks, Bobae continues to create new and insta-worthy menu items. We asked Karma a little bit about their business, and this is what she had to say:

When and what inspired you to start your business?
Bobae Coffee & Tea, in Woodinville, is a creative experience cafe that is the 1st and known for their Nitro Tea, Milk Tea, Coffees and the home of the original Boba Donuts. Bobae also focuses on using real ingredients such as locally sourced farm-to-straw ingredients for their rotational limited monthly menus. In order to provide an elevated experience for their consumers, they use fresh ingredients in lieu of using powder and artificial syrups. Each of Bobae’s loose leaf teas have been hand selected to represent a part of their memories and travels, which they let their Bae’s experience without having to buy a plane ticket. The “Bobae Experience” is a place where customers can reminisce their best childhood memories with a Bobae drink interpretation. This is also a place where customers can get excited for the ongoing monthly rotation of the different creative drinks Team Bobae creates for them. 

Karma and Joey believe that our Asian Heritage story should never be depicted with artificial powder and syrups. The true way of allowing others to learn about our culture is by showing them real ingredients that were grown, roasted, and brewed by real people. Our heritage should never be replaced with chemicalized flavorings that put profit before people. That is why they took a leap of faith because they believe there should be more to the coffee and tea world above the artificial flavoring and the low-grade loose leaf teas in this saturated market. That is why they take the extra step to cook their own sweeteners, jam, and boba in-house. The owners of Bobae are confident that their loyal customers will always know that every high-grade loose leaf tea of Bobae can be traced to their origins and the farmers behind each and every cup that Bobae handcrafts. 

How has COVID-19 affected your business? 
Bobae opened its door officially in October 2019, we are a husband and wife dream team. Joey and I have always emphasized on cleanliness in our shop. Gloves and deep cleaning are mandated on a daily basis since day one, thus establishing a rigorous COVID cleaning regimen was not a hard task to take upon.

As an independent small business who focuses heavily on Farm-to-Straw, house-made ingredients, and creative menu, there are a few things we changed in response to the pandemic. We made a commitment to our staff and customers to continue to keep their employment even with negative income while ensuring safety procedures for our customers. We want to be a place of joy and an oasis for our customers during these dark times, so we found ways to keep them feeling a sense of community and connected to us through our monthly creative menu rotations and boba donuts. The idea is to have a place where they feel a sense of normality in the midst of chaos. Lastly, we found ways to give back in whichever way possible, whether it is to collaborate to support other minority small businesses, starting a pay-it-forward program, donating to the health care heroes in the frontline, we made a point to ensure we did our part to keep the community morale afloat. It was important to remember we are all going to be ok as long as we were lifting each other up. 

What would you like our SAAFF audience to know about your business? 
Bobae is a very different establishment. Bobae is a place that brings a sense of human connection and joy through each handcrafted drink and dessert we make here. What keeps the business going is the resilient mindset of our team members and having the kindest and the most fun-loving people that support us. Bobae is known for our innovative menu, monthly rotation, and the best customer service in the industry. We are a small mom-and-pop shop with big dreams! We want to continue to push this limit further to provide a whole new experience for any customers that come to our shop. After all, we are a creative experience cafe. 


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