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Taiwanese Bubble Tea Chain Presotea Is Taking on Montreal

Featuring the internet sensation, “cheese tea”


A Taiwanese bubble tea chain with over 300 locations internationally is making a move on Montreal, with two stores open in the downtown area.

Presotea is the name, and it opened up in Chinatown earlier this month, in addition to a second location on St-Mathieu downtown (near Concordia University) that opened over the weekend. (Oddly enough, the Chinatown location has not been mentioned on Presotea’s social media, but is part of the same company.) A Presotea representative tells Eater that it’s just the beginning for Presotea, with another three to five locations likely in the works.

The St-Mathieu location in Montreal isn’t just a tea shop — it’s paired with local sweets-maker Zoe Dessert, which makes mostly east-Asian-tinged desserts like shaved ice treat bingsu, and Hong Kong style bubble waffles.

The company (Presotea, not Zoe) is a franchise operation, at least in Canada — all expansions within this country seem to be run out of Presotea’s Canadian HQs in British Columbia (for the west side) and Ontario (the east). In any case, the menus are standardized — the milky and sweet tea drink from Taiwan (but now found all over the world), characterized by squishy pearls of tapioca in the cup, and sometimes topped with jelly-like substances.

Presotea isn’t reinventing that particular wheel — much of the menu is centred around that format with a range of different tea types and fruit flavours on offer, as well as a few slush drinks and “tea lattes”.

But perhaps most notably, it’s serving up “cheese tea” — the drink has done viral rounds of the internet in the last year, presumably due to its mix of two elements that many would consider incompatible in one drink: cheese and tea. But cheese tea isn’t all that wild — the cheese is akin to a sweet cream cheese, and the product sort of resembles a milkshake with a thicker dairy cap on top. Unsurprisingly, the distinct visual of cheese tea has led to Instagrammers chasing it down.

Presotea is the second international chain in just a month to settle in Chinatown, following in the footsteps of Chinese noodle chain Dagu, a few doors along.

STATUS — Presotea is open at 2160 St-Mathieu from 1 to 10 p.m. daily (longer hours are likely after this week), and at 10 de la Gauchetière West from noon to 10 p.m. daily (10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday).

Presotea/Zoe Dessert

2160 Saint Mathieu, Montréal, QC H3H 2J4 Visit Website