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The bubble tea take over: Bubbleupp opens on Roman Road

Bubbleupp becomes the newest bubble tea café to open in the neighbourhood, bringing quirky flavours, Japanese desserts, and an eco-friendly outlook to the Roman Road.

It might seem like groundhog day on Roman Road with the opening of Bubbleupp on Saturday 26 February, the third bubble tea franchise in the area. But the new café’s unique menu is anything but repetitive. 

Fusing fun flavours and mixing mocktail-inspired teas, the Roman’s latest addition, with its recognisable kung-fu panda logo, promises to stir up the local bubble tea scene. 

Not afraid to experiment with unlikely flavours, Bubbleupp’s tea range features everything from Iron Bru, to Red Bull to ‘Hubba Boba’ – chewing gum transformed into bubble tea form. 

The café’s owner and manager, Masum Hussain from Romford in Essex, says that Hubba Boba is his personal favourite. Quitting his job as a secondary school teacher at Ark Secondary School in South East London to follow his bubble tea passion, Hussain is not averse to taking risks in life.

‘I’m going from being head of year to head of a bubble tea store,’ Hussain laughs. But you can see that he means business. 

Open for one year in Canary Wharf, Bubbleupp was forced to relocate when the café’s building was demolished, which was how Bubbleupp landed in our neighbourhood. 

Keen to bring something fresh to the area, in April the café will start serving traditional Japanese Soufflé pancakes alongside their teas. According to Hussain, these lighter-than-air traditional desserts can only be found in Chinatown, and will be the first of their kind in the East End. 

Bubbleupp recently launched its zero alcohol mocktail range, featuring all of our favourite flavours like pina colada and blueberry martini, encased in bubble tea’s characteristic syrup-filled tapioca balls that explode with flavour in your mouth. 

As well as its commitment to flavour, Hussain says that Bubbleupp is trying to be as eco-friendly as possible, and they’re working with manufacturers to start stocking bamboo straws. As well as being the greener option, this detail would fit in nicely with the café’s panda branding. 

Hussain says that the idea for Bubbleupp was seeded a few years ago when he first tasted bubble tea on holiday in Taiwan. Returning to the UK, he realised it wasn’t the same here, so he decided to start making it himself. 

‘But it doesn’t happen at the click of a finger,’ Hussain warns. ‘A lot of people don’t realise the hours of thinking and experimentation that go on behind the scenes.’ 

Yet Hussain is happy to put in the hours towards something he loves, reminding us: ‘If you don’t have a passion for it there’s no point, you have to love your product and I love bubble tea.’ 

If you liked this, then read our piece on Eato, the East End Bengali restaurant.

Masum Hussain is no longer working at Bubbleupp. This article was revisited on 7/3/23.

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