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Franchise owner Tao Huang says they will serve a salted cheese drink, a favorite in the U.S. market

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Tiffany Chang makes a salted cheese tea drink at Happy Lemon Tea. Chang is in town to help train staff at the tea business before it opens on Wednesday at Bridgeport Village. Tao Huang was standing in line at a popular tea shop in Bellevue, Washington, last year when she saw that the wait time was 20 to 30 minutes to make it to the register.

She wondered what was going on. What she discovered was that many of the customers in line were waiting for a salted cheese tea drink.

So she tried it.

"I was so impressed," said Huang, who this week opens a Happy Lemon Tea Shop franchise in Bridgeport Village.

Started in China in 2006, Happy Lemon now operates 1,500 locations worldwide, and Huang's shop will be the first in Oregon.

"I cannot wait for it to open," said Huang, who was born in China.

Huang said the store will feature tea leaves imported from the highlands of Taiwan, which will be brewed fresh every three hours.

The store's menu will include milk teas, freshly squeezed lemon teas and the salted cheese drinks.

Those classic milk teas can be topped with boba, Oreo cookies, pudding, puff cream or lychee jelly.

"I would say off our menu, you have 30 different drinks to choose from," she said.

Still, she said the most popular drink in the U.S. market is the salted cheese drink.

"The salted cheese, we mix some cheese together with some cream," said Huang. "It's going to give you a tea-flavored taste, together with a cheese taste. It's going to be really special."PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Tao Huang owns the franchise Happy Lemon Tea Shop in Bridgeport Village.

At the same time, the store plans to source with local fruit farmers for supplies of fresh seasonal fruit to make their fruit teas and slushes.

Although Bridgeport Village shop is the only Happy Lemon Tea Shop so far, Huang has plans for expansion. A franchise agreement requires Happy Lemon to open three stores total in the first two years of operation.

"We are going to open another location in Beaverton by the end of the year," she said. That store, which will be 1,000 square feet, will be located off Southwest 117th Avenue in the Canyon Square shopping complex.

She said she thinks the tea shops will go over well in the area.

"There are lots of tea drinkers in Beaverton and in Tigard," she said. "I'm very confident about the market."PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Kendra Webb, left, and Tiffany Chang make teas at Happy Lemon Tea. Chang is in town to help train staff at the tea business before it opens on Wednesday at Bridgeport Village.

Even before the Bridgeport shop opens — the official soft-opening date is Wednesday, July 29 — Huang said at least 10 groups of people have passed by her store in hopes of trying Happy Lemon teas.

In addition to drinks, Happy Lemon Tea Shop will feature a food menu that includes waffles in original, chocolate and matcha flavors.

Happy Lemon Tea Shop is located between Regal Cinema and California Portland in Bridgeport Village. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Strawberry Black Tea drink is a customer favorite at Happy Lemon Tea


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