Meet Jaja Chen & Devin Li
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Jaja Chen and her husband, Devin Li, are the co-owners of Cha Community, a boba tea small business located in Waco, Texas. The couple’s shared struggles with disconnection from their cultures as Taiwanese American and Chinese immigrants in Central Texas led them to establish Cha Community in 2018. The fast-casual boba business aims to bridge cultures and create community through premium boba tea, pan-fried dumplings, and Taiwanese and Chinese food.
One of the reasons Jaja and Devin love the Waco community is because it is small enough to allow easy connections with other leaders and small business owners. They credit the community’s support for local small businesses, artists, and entrepreneurs as a significant factor in Cha Community’s growth from a pop-up tent to two boba tea cafes in Waco and Temple, Texas.
Jaja’s background in social work and Devin’s experience as an engineer have helped them in their roles as small business owners. They love running the business together as a married couple and integrating their personal and business lives. Any differences in opinion they may have make their business more innovative and creative, and they are always in alignment when it comes to the mission, values, and overall vision. Family is important to the two, and you can see that in the way they work to create connections and community through their cafes.
Cha Community is 100% Asian American-owned and values-driven, and Jaja and Devin are passionate about showcasing diverse flavors. The boba tea they sell comes from Taiwan, where much of their family lives, and their goal is for guests to experience these authentic flavors and cultures. They want every young child in Central Texas to know about boba tea, and be able to learn more about Taiwanese and Chinese cultures.
Because of their connections with farms around the world and the Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market, they are also working continuously to increase their sustainable practices within the cafes. With Jaja’s background in social work, it is important to her that they recycle and compost ingredients when they can, utilizing dine-in dishes and reusable straws. Jaja is a chair of the City of Waco Sustainable Resources Practices advisory board, and Devin is a board member with the Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market. This combination allows Cha Community to be a leading business as far as sustainability and farm-to-table partnerships and collaborations.
The advice the couple would give to individuals trying to make their way in the business world is to get involved in your local community and begin building relationships with individuals that inspire you, and who are doing the work that you hope to do one day. Jaja and Devin are grateful for the support of the Waco community, and they hope to continue partnering with small businesses and local groups to increase collaboration and community in Waco.
We're so thankful for all Lindsey is doing for the community!
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