Gong cha, the world’s premier bubble tea brand with nearly 1,800 locations across the globe, will make its debut in Chicago on Thursday, September 15 at 1139 West Sheridan Rd. near Loyola University. The opening also marks the brand’s first corporate-owned location in the U.S.

To celebrate, Gong cha is giving away free 3D bubble tea keychains to the first 50 customers on opening day (while supplies last) and offering a buy one drink, get one free promotion on their best sellers on Sept. 15 and 16. Additionally, Alderman Harry Osterman from the 48th Ward and representative Kyle Ryan from the 49th Ward will host a ribbon cutting at the new store at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 15 (doors open at 10 a.m.).

The new store is the first for the brand in Chicago, with long-term plans to open more than 50 corporate-owned and franchised locations in the Chicagoland area in the coming years. At least two additional stores will open in 2022, including one near Grant Park on N. Lincoln Ave. and another near DePaul University on South State St. 

Founded in Taiwan in 1996, Gong cha is known for its commitment to superior quality, sourcing its teas from the finest tea estates across Asia. The brand offers customers more than 600 drink combinations, allowing each beverage to be customized to their exact specifications, including tea varietals, toppings, ice level, and sweetness level. Gong cha is also known for its signature Milk Foam, a thick and creamy, sweet and salty topping designed to complement its premium teas. To maximize freshness, Gong cha prepares its teas and tapioca pearls throughout the day in every store.

Gong cha’s menu features a large array of core flavors and toppings ranging from the traditional to more inventive, as well as new limited-time seasonal releases throughout the year. Tea options range from the classic green, black, oolong and Earl Grey, to more complex flavors like hibiscus green tea, lychee oolong, winter melon, and caramel chocolate. Some of Gong cha’s signature flavors include: 

  • Pearl Milk Tea
  • Earl Grey Milk Tea with 3J’s (Pearls, Pudding and Herbal Jelly)
  • Passionfruit Green Tea
  • Dirty Brown Sugar Milk Tea
  • Taro Milk Tea
  • Matcha Tea Latte


“We’re excited to introduce Gong cha to the greater Chicago community, and know bubble tea fans will love our emphasis on premium teas and freshness,” says John Malesh, Director of Operations for Gong cha Chicago. “Gong cha’s expansion into the Chicago market, and decision to open our first corporate-owned stores, is a testament to the confidence the brand has in the popularity and explosive growth of the bubble tea category in the U.S.” 

Gong cha’s first Chicago store is located across from Loyola University at 1139 West Sheridan Rd, and open daily from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. 

Beverage, Fast Casual, Growth, News, Gong cha