Ding Tea bubble tea chain to open this fall in Bixby Knolls

News of the Taiwanese bubble tea franchise, Ding Tea, coming to Bixby Knolls may not come as a great surprise: Signage for the new business went up about a month ago, but the owners say they now have a tentative timeline for opening.

Come this fall (ideally September, according to ownership) the popular boba tea franchise, which is well regarded for its extensive selection of milk tea and other specialty drinks, will be open at 3908 Atlantic Ave., next door to the Ramen Hub & Poke and Somi Somi restaurants.

Behind the new franchise are Frederick Ulanday, a Long Beach native, and Darren Espina, an Australian transplant who worked in bank finance before moving to Long Beach in 2019.

It had been a long-time dream of both of them to own their own businesses, Espina said, and what attracted them to Bixby Knolls was the strong neighborhood-oriented business community and diverse dining scene.

“We’re really excited to open and be part of the Bixby Knolls business community and the community as a whole,” Espina said. “We want to be involved in fundraisers and whatever we can do to help make Bixby Knolls a destination for people to come in Long Beach.”

Though the Bixby Knolls Ding Tea will be the franchise’s second storefront in Long Beach (the other is near Cal State Long Beach), the tea house will be the only boba and milk tea business along the Bixby Knolls business corridor, which, generally speaking, is the stretch along Atlantic Avenue between East Bixby Road and East Clairborne Drive, where the First Friday events are held.

Once open, patrons can expect all the same beverages you’re used to from Ding Tea, which include flavored teas, milk and coffee teas, plus the unique Yakult and Slush drinks that may be modified by sweetness and with dozens of boba toppings.

The Bixby Knolls Ding Tea will be open seven days a week, with plans for extended late-night hours to match the neighboring Ramen Hub, Epsina said.

Ding Tea Bixby Knolls is expected to open in fall 2022 at 3908 Atlantic Ave.

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Cheantay Jensen is reporter and award-winning videographer who covers entertainment, art, food and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post. And sometimes breaking news, you know, just to keep things interesting.
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