Our Story

"A better breed of milk tea."

Candice Woo, San Diego Eatery

Camellia Road Tea Bar was established in the summer of 2017. Founders Darwin and Ricky are childhood friends, born and raised in SoCal’s San Gabriel Valley. They shared Cantonese-American roots and a common interest in science and DIY projects. The idea for Camellia Rd was planted over 10 years ago, as a comment made one late night at a local Quickly’s boba shop.

“WE should open a boba shop.”

Los Angeles County Science Olympiad Competition. Cal State LA, 2008

After high school they went on their own paths; Darwin attended Cal Poly Pomona to study mechanical engineering; Ricky attended UC San Diego to study biochemistry and education. But after college they both felt called to do something else. After reminiscing about all the good times that boba had brought them, they set out to do what they joked about many years ago. They began to build the boba shop that they always would have wanted. They started with high standards for ingredients and processes. Quality, loose-leaf teas would be the basis for the drinks. No coffee-mate creamer powders or artificial fruit syrups. And home-made or hand-made products as much as possible. The basis for the drinks was simple.

Real tea. Real Milk. Real flavor.

Chew the Scene SDAFF Launch Party. San Diego Natural History Museum, 2018.

Camellia Rd Tea Bar is the flagship store for Camellia Rd, and it is a dedication to boba tea. Even our name, Camellia, plays tribute to the tea plant that classic tea comes from; Camellia sinensis. We’ve been called craft boba by locals, and we take pride in that description. The R-D stands for road. It's symbolic of the path we’ve chosen to take in caring for all things that make up a good cup of tea; caring about the ingredients, the preparation, and the people behind each cup of tea. And R-D also stands for the initials of the founders, Ricky and Darwin. It serves as a reminder of the profound cultural impact that boba tea has had on their lives, of how boba brings people together.

Read more about us in our blog!