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Watching for an American 'bubble tea' bubble

Entrepreneurs move slowly on franchising to protect image of Taiwanese drink

The Boba Room pop-up in New York generates long lines of bubble tea fans. (Photo by Elisabeth Rosen)

NEW YORK -- Emily Walsh had never heard of bubble tea until she was introduced to the drink five years ago by a blogger friend. Now the New York University graduate student buys a cup two or three times a week.

"I like that it's sweet, but not a juice, and it doesn't need to have caffeine," she said. "And the bubbles are fun."

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