Jenny Zheng Brings “Cheese Tea” to Los Angeles’ Little Fluffy Head Cafe
Little Fluffy Head Cafe is one of the first cheese tea boba shops in Los Angeles of its kind, giving customers the familiar taste of deeply adored boba drinks-but with an added twist. Specializing in creating high-quality cheese tea drinks, the Cafe pairs a refreshing tea base with a rich, creamy cheese foam topping. By integrating Eastern and Western bubble tea cultures through the unique flavors of our tea, founder Jenny Zheng hopes to provide exciting, innovative drink options for our customers.
MiLLENNiAL caught up with Jenny to learn about how she brought “cheese tea” to the States.
What motivated your decision to start Little Fluffy Head Cafe?
Throughout my life, I had many interests, yet nothing held my attention long enough for me to pursue it. Instead, I followed what everyone else was doing. I went to college. I picked a major that I was good at. By the time I finally took a step back and asked myself what I really wanted, five years had already passed. I was one semester away from getting my Master’s degree in Bioengineering.
During that time, I started working at a mini tea shop. At first it was a part-time job for some extra income, but it gradually became my escape from the pressures of school. The tea shop was a place where I had time to think and reflect on my life. I knew I was following the steps of a “normal” life: go to school, find a relevant job, get paid a decent salary, form a family, have a child, etc. However, I didn’t think that a fulfilling life should be confined to a series of steps. Rather, it should be an ongoing, endless discovery of your true nature in the face of an incredibly complex world. Life should be filled with lessons and opportunities that you can never prepare or plan for. Being in the tea shop gave me the opportunity to consider what I really wanted before continuing down a path I was not 100% sure about. It was the first place that inspired me to follow my passions instead of living based on predetermined steps.
While on a trip to Asia before graduation, I stumbled upon the latest millennials craze: cheese tea. Being a big fan of cheese, I wanted to bring the concept to the U.S. so bad. So upon graduation, instead of going a traditional route with my degree, I decided to spend the time to develop my own version of creamy cheese tea and used what I learned from the teashop to open my very first cafe in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles in the summer of 2017. I can’t be happier with the decision I made.
How did you come up with the name and what does it mean and/or represent to you?
My mother has been very supportive about the decision I made. The name of the café is dedicated to her. She gave me a stuffed toy that has my face on it on my 18th birthday, and I called the toy little fluffy head. Naming the café after the toy reminds me of the gift and all the support my mother gave me along the way. Also, all of our cheese tea has the fluffy cream topping like a fluffy head, it makes sense to call our shop little fluffy head café.
What is unique about the tea that is sold in your shop? How does Little Fluffy Head differ from other Boba Shops?
Little Fluffy Head Cafe is a specialty tea shop. Our teas are paired with cheese cream. We not only are one of the first cheese tea boba shops in Los Angeles of its kind, but also it is dedicated to serving the freshest and highest quality cheese tea to its customers. Our cream is hand whipped every morning in small batches and comes in different flavors, so far we have cream cheese, white cheddar cheese, crème brulee, and pumpkin spice flavor(seasonal). Each tea used in our signature drinks is carefully customized to achieve the perfect flavor. There is no artificial flavors involved, we use real tea leaves and dried flower petals. Then, we use special brewing techniques to prepare our tea to make the tea as smooth as possible. For certain drinks, tea is brewed for the individual cup when the customer places their order. We always serve our tea at its peak freshness to guarantee the best possible taste.
Where did the idea to create cheese tea come from? Is this an original idea or are you one of the first to bring the experience to Los Angeles?
I think Taiwanese street vendors started the very first version of cheese tea around 2010, where they put powdered cheese cream on top of tea versus the traditional tea latte. As it gained popularity, people were experimenting with better ingredients such as real cheese. By the time I heard about it, cheese tea has entered mainstream in Mainland China and was extremely viral on social media — so naturally just like any other millennial, I just had to try it! My initial reaction to trying the cheese tea for the first time ever was “Whoa, I’ve never tasted anything like this before!”. Immediately, I knew I had to bring cheese tea back with me to the US. I took the original concept a step further and creating our unique cheddar cheese and creme brûlée topping for some of our signature drinks. A year later, we opened our first store in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles so that I could allow others to have a similar experience like the one I had while traveling in Asia.
What are your plans for expansion? Will you be adding any new menu items this year? And do you plan to open multiple locations?
We have only been opened for four and half months and have already gained some momentum for us to start thinking about expansion. Our goal is to make cheese tea a mainstream product that people outside of LA can access to it and be able to try it at least once.
In terms of new menu items, we have a new drink every season. For example, for summer we had strawberry cheese tea, which was very popular, and we are planning to bring it back this summer. This year we want to focus on inventing more cheese cream options and exploring different cheese-tea pairings.
What were you doing before starting this venture?
I graduated from UCLA with a Master’s degree in Bioengineering before I started this venture.
What is the biggest and most important lesson you’ve learned from launching this business?
I come from an engineering background, and I have zero knowledge in business or finance whatsoever to help me run my business. However, I think good things come to those who hustle and someone who is ready to pursue something they feel passionate about.
To learn more about “cheese tea” or Jenny Zheng, visit LittleFluffHead.com and be sure to stop by the cafe in Little Toyko if you’re ever in Los Angeles.
MiLLENNiAL is a lifestyle magazine profiling those who are shaping the world we experience. From business innovation and career strategy to sustainable health and cultural disruptors, MiLLENNiAL shines the light on the young change makers of the world.