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Longmont Local: MALDOS Coffee and Boba share's family's love for bubble tea

MALDOS introduced the Taiwanese drink to Longmont

When Sal and Nora Maldonado opened MALDOS Coffee and Boba six years ago in downtown Longmont, they found that many first-time customers never heard of or tried boba tea. Since then, the couple have found a growing customer base to share their favorite beverage with.

Before relocating MALDOS Coffee and Boba to Longmont, the Maldonados started a similar venture in Greeley. After operating for a couple years without the reception they needed for MALDOS to take off, they moved the business and their family to Nora’s hometown, Longmont.

They started in a small corner on the first floor of the Old Town Marketplace at 332 Main St. MALDOS is still at its original location inside suite B4, but has expanded over the years. 

The shop was first a small unit in a back corner but the Maldonado’s gradually took over more space and added a store window in the neighboring suite. Its most recent expansion was last month taking up a third section. Nora said moving was one of the greatest hurdles to building MALDOS.

“We didn't have any funds for anything really,“ Sal said. “Start(ing) from scratch and again in a new city, a new town where boba wasn’t known… So that's still a challenge.”

Originating from Taiwan, Boba tea, also referred to as bubble tea, traditionally is a cold or frozen flavored tea with bite-sized tapioca balls, though there are many variations on the drink. It's served in a cup with the boba balls sunk to the bottom. A wide straw is used to sip the tapioca bits with the sweetened tea.

The Maldonados are always exploring more varieties of boba tea to add to its menu. Other takes on the drink fillings that MALDOS serves includes about 10 flavors of juice-based “popping boba” and cubed jelly bites. 

There’s several flavors of green tea, including mango and passion fruit. MALDOS milk teas also have a large variety of flavors like chai and taro. Boba drinks offers “snow boba”, an ice-blended version of milk tea and slushies made with blended fruit. For those wanting coffee, MALDOS has a full espresso bar menu.

According to Google and Yelp listings, MALDOS is one of two shops dedicated to boba tea in Longmont. The lack of boba tea spots presented a challenge for the Maldonados, since they had to explain what the drink was to hesitant customers. But at the same time, they are glad they could share the beverage with Longmont. 

“Back when we started, it was us at first and it was a little tough because we had to educate people on what the boba was here in Longmont,” Sal said. “So we had our little fliers on what boba is and where it comes from, and all this other good stuff. And so it was pretty exciting for us to do that.”

Boba tea is not only one of Nora and Sal’s favorite things to drink, but also their 13-year-old and 8-year-old daughters’. MALDOS refers to the name Maldonado and has contributions from different family members. 

The logo is a purple smiling tapioca boba wearing a bow and sipping tea that was designed by the Maldonado’s daughters. Sal’s brother helped create the storefront mural inside of Old Town Marketplace of different places in Colorado with little boba characters doing activities the family enjoys including cycling and hiking trails.

Sal and Nora have found returning customers, some coming from neighboring cities. Over the six years of business in Longmont, the Maldonado’s are proud of many accomplishments including the shop expansion, Sal said. 

“But the biggest one I think would be that people are liking boba,” Nora said.

Ali Mai

About the Author: Ali Mai

Ali Mai is freelance writer and photographer, covering business for the Longmont Leader. She writes the weekly column "Longmont Local."
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