Pedestrians walking on 2nd Avenue near Pike Place Market recently may have noticed a massive image of a cup of boba milk tea, surrounded by waves of milk, on a small glass storefront. Though there haven’t been any official announcement to the press yet, the news is out on social media: Washington’s first Tiger Sugar location is opening on June 18.
The Instagram boba sensation, known for its brown-sugar-syrup-streaked, “tiger striped” milk teas, was founded in Taiwan in 2017 and entered the U.S. market in 2019 with two wildly popular locations in New York City. Later that year, the shop expanded to the West Coast with a location in Los Angeles, and there are now over 40 locations worldwide, including one in Beaverton, Oregon, in the suburbs of Portland. Though it’s hard to verify, the business claims to have invented the original caramelized brown sugar milk tea with a cream mousse topping that has since proliferated around Asia and in the U.S.
The downtown Seattle location, a two or three minute walk from Pike Place Market, is likely to be a hit with locals and tourists. According to the location’s Instagram account, a grand opening event will start at noon on June 18, with the first 150 customers receiving free Tiger Sugar merch with their orders.
Unlike other popular Taiwanese boba chains, which often strive to give customers as much variety as possible, Tiger Sugar stays fairly focused on its signature brown sugar milk tea drinks, with variations that come with coffee jelly, chocolate malt, and espresso. There are a few non-brown-sugar drink options, though, like mango sago, iced black tea, and iced green tea.
It seems like the downtown location is the first step of an expansion into Washington; a note featured prominently on the website describes the store as the “master franchisee” in Washington and says that it’s looking for partners to grow into other parts of the state. Tiger Sugar did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publishing.
Tiger Sugar is located at 1422 2nd Avenue. It will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.