Dr.ink tries to find its niche in the milk tea market


Natalie Marques

Outside Dr.ink

In San Jose, where milk tea shops are around every corner, Serena Yang has tried to branch out from the typical “boba shop” branding at Dr.ink.

Traveling to Taiwan and China, the 30-year-old founder discovered how milk tea is changing in the countries in which it started.

“They don’t focus on boba that much anymore,” Yang said. “The focus is on the drink itself, (since) drinking a good tea or coffee should be about the quality of the drink.”

This is why Dr.ink offers boba with only three drinks on the menu. Boba cannot be added to the other drinks.

Yang said she didn’t want customers to customize their toppings or ice and sweetness levels so that they do not lose the taste and quality of her drinks.

“I wish the experience and the quality of the drinks to be the same every time,” Yang said.

Although some people are not a fan of the lack of drink customization, Yang said that reception has been mostly positive.

“I tried the ‘Green Ink Lattea,’” said Anna Delgadillo, a 23-year-old San Jose native. “And it is some of the best matcha I’ve had in a while.”

Fiza Cochinwalla, a 24-year-old San Jose resident, also said she enjoyed her experience.

“The drinks were super refreshing,” Cochinwalla said. “And the soft serve was so creamy and the perfect amount of sweetness.”

Yang dreamt up Dr.ink at the end of 2018, putting in over two years to curate drinks and a black-and-white aesthetic for her store.

COVID-19 disrupted her plans to open the shop in late 2019. Having paused construction until November 2020, she said she is happy to show off her hard work.

Yang said she has considered introducing rare teas and alcohol to the menu. Fans may want to keep an eye on the shop over the next months to see how it will evolve.