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Episode 3: What's in a name?

SuAh and YuSung left everything in South Korea, packed their bags with some clothes, and arrived in New Delhi in December 2019, donned in a gat, a traditional Korean hat which gives Got Tea its name (and logo)! Let’s talk about that gat for a minute, actually – what’s the story behind that?

A gat

So back when YuSung and SuAh were still in Korea, and they were thinking about what they would call this bubble tea business. And they, along with Armaan, who they had been talking about collaborating with, decided they wanted a distinct Korean touch to things – after all, this new venture would be more than just bubble tea, it was also about spreading Korean culture in India.

Now at the same time that YuSung, SuAh and Armaan were figuring out things about this new venture, Netflix’s Korean show, Kingdom, was taking off and becoming big. This was Netflix’s first Korean series, and it was a huge hit. I don’t know if ya’ll have watched it (I haven’t – I can’t do horror), but apparently it is a “period political horror thriller” – phew, that’s a mouthful. Anyway, it is set around the 1500s, and hence, the costumes consist traditional Korean clothing. Including the hat – the gat!

The three guys decided this was it – it was something that was recognisable by some, and whoever wouldn’t recognise it would certainly ask about it. Thus, the name “Got Tea,” a play on the gat was born! They asked another Woodstock friend, who was two years younger to us in school, Yesua, to design the logo, since he was a designer. And he did a great job incorporating the gat into the logo and making it a central part of the brand.

 SuAh and YuSung with Yesua (centre); The Got Tea logo

So, YuSung and SuAh decided to wear the gat on their flight to India. Well, they took it off during the flight (flights are difficult as is), but they wore it at the airports. And as they expected, it was a huge talking point. When they landed in India, they started getting questions at the airport itself – and so they started to introduce themselves and their about-to-be-launched business to whoever would ask.

gat is for everyone (and everything)!

So now they were in India, telling everyone about their business. But they were yet to launch – indeed, they were far from establishing themselves. So much still had to be done, including sourcing ingredients, researching shops and localities where they could set up, navigating legalities around YuSung and SuAh being foreigners – it was a lot! And this is December 2019 – they didn’t know it yet, but COVID-19 was going to hit us in just a few months, and throw a wrench in all their planning.

This journal is an ongoing series tracing the story of Got Tea, the latest bubble tea store launched in India, located in South Delhi. Want to know what happens next? Stay tuned – new episodes come out every week!