A Tea-riffic Trio: Meeting the student entrepreneurs behind Tippit Tea

Ritika Devarakonda, Contributing Writer

Three students at Case Western Reserve University have recently launched a new bubble tea business on campus. Tippit Tea, founded by third-year students Elwin He and Andrew Wu along with second-year Patrick Yeh, has become a popular option for students looking to find a delicious and refreshing drink on campus.

He, Wu and Yeh came up with the idea for Tippit Tea after noticing a lack of accessible and affordable bubble tea options on campus. All three come from hometowns with booming bubble tea markets, and they noticed there was a noticeable demand for the drink.

After first coming up with the idea during spring break of March 2022, the trio decided to start their own business on campus. The name Tippit Tea came about as the three wanted their business to have a subtle connection to CWRU, and thus decided to name their product after Tippit House, located in the South Residential Village. The name is also fitting to its creators since that is where their idea was born. The founders of Tippit Tea were inspired by the launch of Redheart, a student initiative that aimed to provide healthy, high quality and affordable food at The Jolly Scholar. They wanted to replicate the business model of Redheart bowls by finding a partner organization, as starting a business from scratch would require a large amount of initial capital.

He, Yeh, and Wu all made initial investments into the business to purchase equipment and ingredients and took on the roles of CEO, COO and CFO, respectively. The three also have partnered with Southside Scholar at Carlton Commons, where their bubble teas are available for a portable meal swipe or for purchase at $5.49 plus the cost of any added toppings. 

In order to bring the best bubble tea flavors to CWRU, He recounted the trio visiting Asiatown on multiple occasions and sampling as many flavors of bubble tea as they could, finally testing and creating many tea recipes in their namesake Tippit House. The trio landed on a select few to add to their menu. They also did free bubble tea giveaways on weekends to gauge their market and understand which tea flavors CWRU students preferred. After having many recipes not work out, the team settled on a tea imported from Taiwan and bulk ordered other ingredients from a bubble tea supply website. Now, Tippit Tea boasts a variety of both classic and adventurous tea flavors on its menu, including matcha, thai iced tea, oolong, jasmine, mango and guava. An assortment of toppings such as bubble and passion fruit jelly are also available to customize the drinks.

When asked about how they maintain consistency in their products, Yeh, a biology major and the COO of Tippit Tea, compared the process of making their bubble tea to following a lab protocol. He said that he hopes all student workers at Southside Scholar will be able to follow a step-by-step guide to make the perfect drink. 

In the coming semesters, the trio hopes to rotate new seasonal flavors and offer new tea varieties. They also hope to expand to more locations on campus, as their only current location on campus is at Southside Scholar, which is only open from 6:00 p.m. to midnight Monday through Sunday. They also plan to begin selling merchandise and involve the campus community on a larger scale. Colin Jost even wore a Tippit Tea hat at his Spring Comedian show earlier this semester. 

Overall, Tippit Tea serves as a great example of how students’ entrepreneurial spirit can make a positive impact on their campus community. So, be sure to “Tippit and Sippit” by visiting Southside Scholar and grabbing a cool, refreshing cup of bubble tea from Tippit Tea today.