What used to be a go to bubble tea spot for many at the New West Skytrain station — Bobacabana — has now made way to a brand new bakery and cafe called Passenger.
The new establishment, however, continues to serve the most popular drinks that Bobacabana used to offer before it shut down in late August.
Chae, who co-owns Passenger Cafe along with her brother Jimmy (Chae does the marketing, Jimmy takes care of management and recipe), said that despite reopening as a new brand on Sept. 1, customers came in without noticing the change in signboard, and asked for their usual bubble tea favourites.
The brother-sister duo didn't want to turn them away, and so, they went ahead and introduced some of the drinks that were a hit at the bubble tea spot — like "mango smoothies, yuzu iced teas and the Nutella shakes."
"You can still get some of the same drinks you used to order at Bobacabana, but it'll be of higher quality because we are using better ingredients," said Chae. For example, she added, even a classic black milk tea is now "levelled up" — they brew it in an Espresso machine and the result is a really strong Espresso tea.
Jimmy wrote a post on Facebook’s Eat New West Community on Sept. 8, which read: “We renovated, revamped the menu to include more baked goods, amazing coffee from Monogram and a refined BBT (bubble tea) menu. All baked goods are either made in house, or at our bakery.”
The siblings used to partly own Bobacabana in 2015, before the pandemic brought the business down by 70 per cent and forced its shutdown.
However, they had started a gluten-free cafe in Port Coquitlam called Earthling Foods in 2019, which ironically saw a surge of business during the same time. What pumped up the business, according to Chae, was their initiative to accept online orders and deliver their gluten-free dacquoises and pastries personally to everybody's homes during the COVID lock-down.
Seeing the uptick in their bakery business and the slump in their boba tea business, they decided to merge the two concepts — and start a brand new dessert, coffee and boba tea place, which is the newly-opened Passenger in New West.
“It’s a new face, new concept but we are hoping the people of New West can give us a chance! I lived here for over 12 years and wouldn’t want to open our first location anywhere else,” wrote Jimmy on Facebook.
The cafe is open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays, and 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekends; and is located at the New West Skytrain Station beside the North Noodle House and the Fido.