Success tastes sweet for UCB husband and wife

April 2016

Two enterprising former students from University College Birmingham are on a mission to convince Brummies to swap their daily cuppa for a glass of bubble tea.

Jiaqi Wang and Jingyuan Ni, who also happen to be husband and wife, have set up Twist Café, close to the city’s Grand Central station.

Their selections of fruit and milk-based teas, which originate from Taiwan, are proving to be popular with the student market. The drinks are served with a layer of juice-filled tapioca balls, and topped with froth which is created by vigorous shaking.

The couple, who are pictured with their one-year-old son Xiaoan, left their home in North East China in 2010 to study at UCB’s School of Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management.

Jiaqi said: “We were attracted to Birmingham because of the city’s history, and the reputation UCB has for hospitality courses. I actually had the idea of running my own business when I was studying at UCB.”

The craze for bubble tea swept through Asia in the 1980s, but the beverage was relatively unknown in the UK until recently. However, Jiaqi is confident the people of Birmingham are ready to try something new. He said: “We want to attract the next generation; they’re open to new things. Bubble teas appeal to people who appreciate things that are funky. Anyone can go and buy a can of fizzy drink, but this is something which is really cool.”

The café, based in Ethel Street, also serves fat-free frozen yoghurt with a variety of toppings.