Slave Lake woman opens bubble tea cafe because of COVID

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

While some businesses are scaling back or closing because of COVID-19, Jo Burdeos says she opened BesTea in Slave Lake “because of the pandemic.”

“We love drinking bubble tea,” she says of herself and her family. Before the pandemic, her sons would often go into Edmonton for school. When they did, they’d bring back bubble tea for the whole family. However, with the pandemic they weren’t going to the city as often, so Burdeos decided to learn how to make bubble tea at home.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines bubble tea as “a sweet drink of Taiwanese origin that in its basic form consists of tea mixed with milk or fruit syrup and small balls of tabioca.”

Before the pandemic, Burdeos worked three jobs in Slave Lake. She quit one and was laid off from the other, so now she just works at the hospital.

By about June, she’d learned enough about making bubble tea to open a home-based business.

Her business went well, so she decided to find a store front.

In September, she took a lease on a store in the strip mall on 6 Ave SE. This is the same building as the secondhand store and Burgers Plus. It is across the road from Chapel of Memories, Second Helping, and Royal LaPage.

Burdeos, with help from family and friends, painted the store. BesTea opened on the last Sunday in October.

The restaurant is going well, says Burdeos. For now, she sells bubble tea, but will be adding sandwiches and snacks soon. She’s had lots of feedback, which is good since her goal is to “delight the customers.”

BesTea is open 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. However, this may change.

Jo Burdeos (right) owns BesTea in Slave Lake. Recently, it transitioned from a home-based to brick-and-mortar business. On the left, her sister-in-law Mila Patrocinio is helping out.

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