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Hortons' toasts arrival of bubble tea outlet in Birmingham

Hortons' has announced the arrival of a new bubble tea outlet at Birmingham’s Piccadilly Arcade.

i-TEA has signed a ten-year lease on a unit in a prime trading position at the historic arcade on New Street in Birmingham city centre.

It is the operator’s first bubble tea shop in Birmingham and follows the success of its debut store which launched in Coventry less than a year ago.

The new outlet opened to the public this month (July 2022) following an internal fit out.

Bubble tea is a non-alcoholic beverage which originated in Taiwan and has soared in popularity in the UK in recent years.

i-TEA will offer consumers the chance to try a range of freshly made bubble teas which typically consist of chewy tapioca balls and toppings including red bean, cheese foam and brown sugar. It will also serve a range of traditional teas and coffees, as well as fruit teas and slushies.

Owner and founder of i-TEA, Alan Ng, has worked in catering for more than 25 years and previously owned a restaurant and nightclub in Birmingham’s Chinatown. He trained for a year in Taiwan before creating the i-TEA brand and has ambitious plans to open a third outlet in Bristol.

He said: “I am really pleased to have opened our first Birmingham outlet at Piccadilly Arcade. We have secured a fantastic location, just a short walk from New Street Station, and will be open for seven days a week which gives us the potential to attract lots of passing trade.  

Bubble tea making is like an art form and we want our products to be truly authentic. All of our tea leaves are imported from Taiwan and we have invested in real fruit, using local and natural ingredients wherever possible. Our online reviews have been overwhelmingly positive and we’re looking forward to welcoming new and returning customers.”

Jeremy Boothroyd of Hortons’ said: “Piccadilly Arcade has developed a reputation for housing exciting and independent operators, and i-Tea certainly fits that mould. We’re confident it will bring something different that will enhance the existing range of retailers within the arcade.

“We are continuing to receive considerable interest in the remaining units, including the largest retail space of almost 11,000 sq ft at the New Street entrance to the site. It is a positive sign for the retail and leisure market and demonstrates that consumers still want a shared experience despite the boom in online retail.”

Simon Smith of Wright Silverwood who represented Hortons’, said: “There is always a strong stream of enquiries for the available space when it becomes available at Piccadilly but as soon as we saw i-Tea’s existing operation in Coventry, we were convinced it would be an ideal fit for the arcade.”