A GROUP of friends are opening the first exclusive bubble tea shop in Taunton.

They have recruited family members to get the premises at 52 Bridge Street ready by the middle of this month.

Husbands and wives Mitzi and Rez Khan and Natalie and Mark Sy, along with their friend Joyce Kasilag - who are all originally from the Philippines - have been rolling up their sleeves to ready the business, to be known as Boba Corner.

Natalie said: "It was Mitzi's idea to have this in Taunton as there's nothing quite like this locally as far as we're aware.

"The nearest bubble tea shop is in Exeter and people here have been posting on social media saying they're really looking forward to us opening."

Bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the early 1980s and is hugely popular in South East Asia and more recently across London.

It consists of tea accompanied by chewy tapioca balls or pearls, which sit at the bottom of the dessert-type drink, and can be made with other toppings as well.

Mitzi said: "It's a fun drink, and is vibrant and colourful.

"It can be green or black tea with different types of fruit such as passion fruit, strawberry or peach, along with milk and brown sugar.

"The customers will be able to come into the shop and choose their tea, decide how much sugar or ice they want.

"They can invent what they want themselves. It is really personalised."

Joyce said they plan to make the business as planet friendly as possible.

She added: "We'll be using bamboo straws, more environmentally friendly materials and recyclables.

"We're looking to reinvent how the bubble tea is served."

Boba Corner will essentially serve takeaways, although there will be a few chairs and tables for customers.

A delivery service will operate in an approximate five-mile radius of Taunton.

In the future, the partners are looking to bring in other Asian favourites such as chips and chocolate cakes.

"We're really excited and can't wait to open," said Mitzi.

"We're targetting the middle of March.

"We'll have a soft launch for friends and family and after that look forward to welcoming lots of new customers."