Minh Vu, a Huntsville native, wanted to start his own business since he was in high school, although he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted it to be. After completing his undergrad in business at The University of Alabama at Birmingham and gaining further experience in management, marketing and consulting, he decided he was ready to open his business.
Huntsville is, without question, expanding more and more every week, so Minh moved back to his hometown and started to plan for what is now known as Leafly Boba Bar.
But why boba? Why has Leafly become so beloved in the Huntsville community? What’s in store for the future? I had the honor of speaking with Minh and getting the answers to all these questions and more.
Leafly isn’t simply a drink shop, it’s an experience
Building a community is what Leafly is all about. Minh grew up drinking boba and continued to drink it in Birmingham, making memories with friends at ThirsTea Cafe. He realized Huntsville was behind on the boba market, and he wanted to bring that same experience to the city where he grew up.
Fortunately, that experience was welcomed with open arms, as they’ve had regular customers since the day they opened in September 2022. Minh noted that a large amount of their customers are trying boba for the first time, and it’s a great opportunity for people to learn a piece of Asian culture through the craft of boba.
“We want people to be able to come in here, be comfortable and have a great product that they enjoy. But we also want them to make memories with their friends or family that they’re going to talk about years down the road. Everyone that comes in, we try to create relationships with them.”Minh Vu, owner, Leafly Boba Bar
A business driven by a passion for authenticity
You won’t find any artificial flavors, powders or sweeteners here — at Leafly, they strive to keep everything as natural as possible. Here are some of the things Leafly is doing to provide an authentic boba experience for their customers:
- Fresh tea leaves are brewed every morning
- Natural fruit purées are used to flavor the fruity teas
- Fresh cream is used in the creamy teas
- Their all-natural honey simple syrup is made in house
There’s a little something for everyone
Behind the scenes, Minh and his coworkers brainstorm new boba flavors every day. It takes about three months for a flavor to be perfected, so you can be sure you’re getting the best possible quality drink.
They try to work with the ingredients they already have, but it’s important to them to introduce brand new selections on the menu. Such an undertaking starts with an idea, then comes the process of sourcing top-notch ingredients. This can take a long time, considering all the taste-testing that needs to be done (suddenly I’m jealous!).
A lot of hard work and precision goes into the menu you see above. They’re serving fresh iced tea, creamy drinks, fruity drinks, matcha and specialty flavors like tiramisu caffè latte and blueberry cheesecake milk tea.
“My number one drink that we’ve had since day one would have to be the Vietnamese coffee. I knew I could go to my grandma for a recipe, because she’s probably drunk more of it than all of Huntsville combined. I ran through 10 to 15 different recipes, and when I finally let her try it, she said, ‘This is exactly like what we had back home!'”Minh Vu, owner, Leafly Boba Bar
What does the future hold?
As with any small business, Leafly’s greatest challenge is the constant maintenance and hard work that goes into making it the best it can be. Yet, between the local response and support from other small businesses, Minh and his staff stay motivated to keep Leafly thriving as a hub of family, friendship and creativity.
Their customer base comes from all over the country, so there is a possibility you’ll find these delicious drinks elsewhere in the future. For now, though, they plan on continuing to grow Huntsville’s Leafly Boba Bar.
Whether it’s your first time or your hundredth time drinking boba, you will always be welcome at Leafly. Check out their all-new summer menu, and keep an eye out for some more new flavors that might be releasing over the next months. Also, stay tuned for the reintroduction of some older fan-favorite drinks to the menu.
- Where: 6275 University Dr NW #39, Huntsville, AL 35806
- Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11AM-9PM, Friday-Saturday 11AM-10PM
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