What is bubble tea?
Bubble tea is a summer drink that originated in Taiwan in the 80s. It then became so popular that the whole Southeast Asia was taken like a storm and everyone was looking for Bubble tea or Boba, as the locals call it. Bubble tea is simply a cold milk tea, shaken and made frothy then mixed with boba (marble-sized pearl that tastes like a pudding). In short, it is a sweet drink with sweet tapioca pearls. The tea is from freshly brewed tea leaves.
Why do they call it bubble tea? The term ‘bubble tea’ came from the froth that you can get from shaking your bubble tea concoction. It is the tea that causes the bubbling froth on top of the drink during shaking.
The history of bubble tea
Bubble tea originated from Tianan and Taichung, municipalities in Taiwan in 1980. The first bubble tea was a mixture of tea, fruit or milk plus some fruit jelly. When it became popular in Southeast Asia, varieties of bubble tea have been introduced in the market such as the use of pearls, bubbles or boba instead of plain fruit jelly. Still, the most popular versions of bubble teas are bubble milk green tea and bubble milk tea with tapioca.
The good thing with bubble tea is that it comes in different variants. It can be offered in green tea, black tea, white tea or plain coffee with the addition of tapioca to give it its sweet taste. To make it more attractive to the general public, makers of bubble tea have added twists to this favorite summer drink by adding fruits to its tea-based flavors such as mango, strawberry, watermelon, kiwi fruit, honeydew, cantaloupe, and grape. Some even went as far as offering bubble tea with ginger, pudding, taro, and caramel. In Thailand, bubble tea with “Thai tea’ has become so popular as well.
What makes the bubble tea different from other shake drinks?
One unique thing about bubble tea is its ‘toppings’. The ‘topping’s is found at the bottom of this drink and because it is often made of chewy tapioca or boba, you can have a drink and a snack at the same time.
Aside from using the regular tapioca pearls, you can now have jellies or sweetened coconut flesh (nata de coco) as your toppings.
Bubble tea is easy to make, even for people who are not that familiar with their kitchen. Bubble tea is very flexible, it can be turned into a regular milk tea, mousse tea, fruity milk tea or coconut water tea. For health-conscious individuals, bubble tea is a gluten-free drink hence you can take as much as you want and feel no guilt at all or you can go with ‘matcha’ bubble tea!
Is bubble tea for everyone?
This is a good question because although bubble tea is healthy, enjoyable to have, especially during summer and is flavorful, it is not advisable to give bubble tea to babies. The tapioca or boba pearl of bubble tea can cause choking among babies and infants so beware.