Interviews with Atomic Tea’s Jessica & Russell Bohrson

Oct 17 Update: Here is my review of Atomic and other businesses/pitches in episode 3.

Oct 20 Update: Here is my post-CBC Dragons’ Den airing Oct 19th interview with Jessica and Russell.


Here is my chat with Atomic Tea’s Jessica & Russell Bohrson after they finished pitching *atomic Tea and talking to Dianne Buckner.

The following two chats were filmed about two weeks after they came back to Calgary after the Atomic Tea Dragons’ Den pitch.

Here is my chat with Jessica (click to view in a larger window),

Here is my chat with Russell (click to view in a larger window),

Here is something I wrote after the Calgary interviews with a non-descriptive on-location video as not not give away the secrets. Notice the fact that their store was steps away from Calgary’s C-Train line (see video). The three most important thing for a retail store? Location, Location, and Location. See for yourself.

Here is what I wrote about my experience after talking to them and my gut feeling of them as good entrepreneurs.

11 Responses to Interviews with Atomic Tea’s Jessica & Russell Bohrson

  1. Oren says:

    Any franchise available in Toronto?

  2. kempton says:

    Hi Oren,

    Go check out Atomic’s website and send them an email. They are pretty good in replying to people interested in franchising opportunities.


  3. Ricard avackas says:

    I just saw the show on CBC. Iam really excited for you and the business, I hope it really goes well. Are you planning any franchises in Ontario? How can we try your product?


  4. kempton says:

    Hi Rick,

    Just to be clear. *atomic Tea is not my business. It is Jessica and Russell’s.

    If you are interested in franchising opportunities, I think you can get in touch with *atomic via and send them an email.

    For now, you will have to visit Calgary to try the drink. I think it taste great.


  5. Andrei says:

    Great interviews, Kempton.

    It seems like Atomic Tea is selling bubble tea. Is that what it in fact is? Bubble tea is widely available all around the world, and there are several competing franchisers in Canada alone (such as Ten Ren and Tea 168). Are Atomic Tea’s recipes really their own, as they claimed on Dragon’s Den?

  6. Andrei says:

    … my favourite for twelve years is cold Milk Black Tea with Honeydew flavouring, and I always take it with pearls.

  7. kempton says:

    Hi Andrei,

    Thanks for your kind words about my interviews.

    Yes, *atomic Tea is selling bubble tea. True, the idea of bubble tea is not new nor unique. But the problem of then implying it must not be a good business is similar to saying coffee is not new, we already have Tim Hortons in Canada, then Starbucks or Second Cup won’t be good businesses. So you see the flaw in your reasoning? By the way, many many people use the same reasoning as you so you are definitely not alone here.

    Yeah, I’ve tried Ten Ren (not Tea 168) when I visited Toronto and found their tea nice. But I will say Ten Ren’s store is very much different from the *atomic store as you can see from my videos.

    Yeah, I can say *atomic does have their own recipes and they do have a wide arrange of things you can do to customize your tea.

    It is not just the tea. It is the environment. It is the people severing there. It is the location. I think these are some of the reasons of their success plus a lot of hard work.


  8. Andrei MR says:


    Thanks for taking the time to give such a careful response.

    Okay, I get that the value in Atomic Tea to the customer are those things you’ve mentioned. Ten Ren Tea, Inc., of Taiwan ( and Tea Shop 168 ( appear to be targetting their operations to the Asian diasporas — at least in Toronto — whereas Atomic Tea seems to know how to target non-Asians. I definitely get that. I’m just not sure how successfully they could penetrate a market with a huge Asian diaspora like Toronto (and possibly Vancouver? — and I know Calgary’s is fairly large, too), where it just so happens that non-asians have also become accustomed to Bubble Tea as served by the many, many existing franchisors and independents operation in this market. So, for example, at almost every Cadillac-Fairview mall in Toronto, there is at least one (and, occasionally, many more than one) bubble tea franchise operation. They are reaonably busy, and most of the buyers appear to be non-Asians (like me!) — both kids, adults — even adults without kids! My point is that Toronto’s Asian bubble-tea operations have already penetrated Atomic Tea’s target market. I don’t think Atomic Tea would be able to compete with Ten Ren, for example, which already operates in seven countries! Worse still, Atomic Tea would have to differentiate itself from the many independent bubble tea operations that exist on the corners of practically every major street in Toronto. After all, the barriers to entry are so, so low: I can the pay retail prices for ingredients available at my local T&T and still get good margins! Even the campus video arcade at York University sells bubble tea. That everybody already drinks bubble tea is really my reasoning. And, quite frankly, the atmosphere of Atomic Tea seems to be virtually identical to many bubble tea operations I’ve been to in Toronto. I still think there’s no big opportunity to be had here.

    Anyway, I just wanted to add that I really enjoy perusing your blog, reading the sides you link to and watching the videos you’ve posted. It’s a truly great blog! Keep it up!

  9. kempton says:

    Hi Andrei,

    I see your well grounded reasoning and examples to support your points. I think if Jessica and Russell are to open stores in Toronto (or Vancouver), they will have to carefully consider all the possible challenges they may face.

    But you know what, I think it will be challenging but not entirely impossible for the entrepreneurs.

    Again, I think coffee and we have all seen Starbucks. So I won’t discount *atomic Tea just yet. (smile)

  10. Nancy says:

    Any franchise available in Winnipeg?

  11. kempton says:

    Hi Nancy,

    You can check with Jessica and Russell to see.


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