As you sit down, waiting for your mango green tea, you can’t help but notice the setting of the boba shop. The lights illuminate your seating area, the menu, and the signature colors on the wall. As you drift into the waiting game, your ears perk up and you catch the last few notes of Porter Robinson’s “Shelter”, which transitions to the bright first notes of TWICE’s “Fancy”. “They always have the best ambiance here”, you say as you hear your order, pick up your drink, and head on your way.

Boba, bubble tea, pearl milk tea, whatever you’d like to call it- there’s no mistake that the market for this iconic asian drink is booming. Drinks of all flavors are posted on social media platforms daily, universities sell them as quick fundraising money, and even the one of the biggest groups on Facebook, Subtle Asian Traits, can’t stop raving about this seemingly simple food item. In fact, the growth rate for this market of boba from 2019 to 2026 is expected to climb by 8.09%. As more stores expand nationwide, store owners and customers alike might have this question in mind: what kind of vibe does the store have?

As a matter of fact, the tone of a store is partly set by the types of music that is played. Take for example Pekoe, a shop in San Jose, California. They are not just known for their boba, but the interior setting that they choose to present. A dark interior lit with LED strips and retro hanging light bulbs complete with glow-in-the dark tables, Pekoe chooses to play darker, bass-driven music that suits their style, which falls into the category of House and EDM. This allows them to have a club-like feel, and a great place to socialize and grab boba late at night. This is a stark contrast to a shop such as Tea 4 U (T4), known for their Taiwaneese snacks, a surplus of tabletop games ready to play, and their eye-catching colors of bright turquoise and white. T4 chooses to emulate a brighter vibe, opting for uplifting K-pop and American pop music, setting an encouraging ambiance for drinkers to stay awhile and enjoy friendship over a game such as Connect 4 or Jenga. 

In both cases, without a specific musical presence, neither store would have that fitting flair that truly makes them a unique shop.

At Ambii, we’ve created a superset specifically for boba shops titled “Boba Beats”. By studying local stores firsthand,  looking at trends in those who consume regularly, and tracking potential age ranges and music tastes, we were able to compile a group of playlists that would fit the current state of boba shops around California. This is a combination of 10 playlists that range from the driving beats of EDM, chilled vocals of house, and uplifting sparkle of K-pop. We believe that through these 10 playlists, stores are able to find and fit the perfect ambii-ance that they are seeking, whether it is to have a darker and mysterious vibe such as Pekoe or a brighter and inviting tone like T4, or anywhere in between.

As a boba manager or coworker, ultimately you decide what kind of vibe you want to portray at each brand location. Nonetheless, hopefully you’ll walk out uplifted, with a catchy tune in your head and a nice chilled jasmine green tea with mango stars plus aloe vera with 50% ice in your hands. That, or a classic milk tea with pearls will do.

Listen to our superset “Boba Beats” on the Ambii App, now downloadable on both Apple and Android stores.

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