Bubble tea has become one of the most popular drinks around the world. It has especially grabbed the attention of the younger generations thanks to its variety of colours, flavours and textures. However, not many people know that this drink originated in Asia in the 80s. Ever since then it has reached enormous popularity throughout Australia, the USA and Europe.
What is Bubble Tea
Bubble tea is based on a Taiwanese recipe where a hot or cold tea base is blended with milk, fruit and fruit juices. Thereafter the signature “bubbles” are added to the drink that sits at the bottom of the cup.
The bubbles, also known as “pearls” or “boba”, are made of soft and chewy tapioca pearls. Tapioca is a type of starch that is extracted from the cassava root. It originated as a cheaper alternative to pearl sago in Southeast Asian cuisine. The tapioca pearls can be made in different colours and textures by adding ingredients like sugar, seasoning and water to them.
The tea is usually served in transparent cups with a fat straw so that the tapioca balls can fit through them. The “bubble” in the name refers to the tapioca balls as well as the bubbles that get created by the blending process.
Where did this popular drink originate?
Even though Bubble Tea seems like a recent drink trend, this drink has actually been around in Asian countries since the 80s.
The origin story of Bubble tea goes that a teahouse in Taiwan, Chun Shui Tang began serving iced tea. The product development manager, Ms Lin Hsiu Hui, was allegedly bored in a staff meeting one day and decided to drop her dessert in her Assam iced tea drink. The dessert was a Taiwanese dessert, called fen yuan, which is a sweetened tapioca pudding.
Once they realised how good the combination tasted, they added it to their menu. It soon became the franchise’s top-selling product. Soon after the success, concessions all over Taiwan started adding tapioca pearls and fruit flavours to their iced teas. And so the bubble tea as we know it today has evolved and become one of the most popular drinks.