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St. Olaf student entrepreneur featured in the Star Tribune

Chau Truong ’24, founder of Tin Tea, poses for a portrait at the popular bubble tea shop. Truong would crave bubble tea when she visited Asian markets with her parents, and she used to hear her classmates at St. Olaf complain, “Why do we have to drive 40 minutes for bubble tea?” To solve both issues, Truong, a former barista, took matters into her own hands and opened Tin Tea in 2021 — at age 19. The brightly colored, Instagram-friendly shop was an instant hit. Photo by Alex Kormann/Star Tribune via Getty Images

St. Olaf College student Chau Truong ’24, who opened Northfield’s premier bubble tea shop, Tin Tea, was recently featured in a Star Tribune profile.

Tin Tea, which Truong opened in 2021 at 19 years old, is a vibrant shop known for serving a delightful array of bubble teas. The Taiwanese beverage, also called boba tea, is cherished for its milky tea and chewy tapioca pearls. 

For Truong, Tin Tea isn’t just a business — it’s a platform to celebrate her Vietnamese culture and inspire others, especially young girls and BIPOC children. “Growing up in Faribault and Northfield, I didn’t have a lot of role models that looked like me, so it was really hard for me to believe I could become a successful businesswoman of color,” she told the Star Tribune. “I not only look at my younger self for motivation to work hard, but I hope just to inspire all the little girls to be able to have the confidence in themselves to do something like this.”

Chau Truong ’24 speaks with customers while they wait for their orders at Tin Tea. Photo by Alex Kormann/Star Tribune via Getty Images

In addition to her entrepreneurial journey, Truong has been an active and engaged leader here on campus. She has served on the Student Senate, the college’s Presidential Transition Team, and is now serving as the vice president of St. Olaf’s Student Government Association. Her dedication to making a positive impact also extends to the wider community — Truong serves on the Board of Directors for the Northfield Chamber of Commerce, where she helps to cultivate a better business environment in Northfield.

Truong exemplifies the St. Olaf mission of nurturing well-rounded individuals who not only excel academically but also actively engage in their communities. Her journey from a St. Olaf student to a thriving entrepreneur and community leader is a testament to the potential that lies within every Ole.