Bubble Tea, called Boba Tea, consists of tea, milk, ice, and tapioca pearls. These are available in a wide range of flavors, such as chocolate, taro, and vanilla.
What is Bubble Tea/ Boba Tea made of?
Food trends come and go, for instance the 70’s were all about fondues and quiches, but the 90’s mainly popularise the premade lunch boxes and pasta salad
The 21st century has also popularised unique and strange crazes, like kombucha, kale, and obviously avocado in toast
But despite their near ubiquity, many people have no idea what the drink is or what the little bubbles are. So, what exactly is Boba Tea made of? Boba Tea – or Bubble Tea, as it’s sometimes called – basically consists of a tea base that is mixed with milk, ice, and chewy tapioca pearls. These are then shaken together and served with a notoriously chubby straw that ensures you get all the chewy pearls at the bottom of the cup.
How Did Bubble Tea Came To Be?
- The story of bubble tea is one of disparate parts coming together, a collision of cultural products and practices in one drink. Its origins date back much further than the last few decades, with historical roots in Middle-period China, according to Miranda Brown, a professor of Chinese studies at the University of Michigan.
- Although there’s a persistent belief that East Asian populations don’t consume dairy due to widespread lactose intolerance, by the time of the Tang Dynasty (618–907) in China, black tea was often drunk with butter, cream, milk, and other additives like salt and sesame, drawing from the practices of nomadic people in the north, reference from Professor Brown’ research.
When the colonial British returned to the country in the 19th century, they reintroduced milk tea back into the Chinese diet, as can be seen, most clearly in former British colonies like Hong Kong, which has a tradition of milk tea made with condensed milk.
By the time tapioca starch, derived from the South American cassava plant, came to Taiwan via Southeast Asia during the colonial period, there was already a longstanding Chinese and Southeast Asian tradition of eating jelly-like starch desserts, such as sago pearls, in sweet soups. Tapioca balls, with their signature “Q” or “QQ” texture — the “untranslatable bouncy, rubbery, chewy consistency … treasured in Taiwan,” as Leslie Nguyen-Okwu wrote for Eater earlier this year — fit right into the larger historical southern Chinese culinary landscape, according to Professor Brown.
The fusion of those two traditions — milk tea and chewy, gelatinous pearls — eventually gave rise to bubble tea. Milk tea is typically made with powdered creamer introduced in Taiwan by American foreign aid. The “bubble” in “bubble tea” refers to “the thick layer of foam that forms on top of the drink after it is shaken” in a cocktail shaker, per the South China Morning Post.
The addition of large tapioca pearls, nicknamed “boba” in reference to the busty assets of Hong Kong actress and sex symbol Amy Yip, came in the late ’80s when a Chen Shui Tang staff member, Lin Hsiu Hui, poured fen yuan tapioca balls into her iced Assam tea, Lin tells CNN. And thus bubble tea, or “pearl milk tea” in Taiwan, was born.
From there, bubble tea made its way to the U.S., then gradually to the whole world. It’s been just a couple of years since Bubble Tea came to our country.
Bubble Tea facts and best practices according to Roberto Panto
- Clientele: Children (36%); young adults 15-25 (32%); adults +25 (32%).
- Best location: Near schools, colleges, play areas, shopping malls, and town centers.
- Best times: Lunchtimes, after school, Saturdays.
- Practicalities: Always get the shop ready two hours before opening time to slowly cook the tapioca, fill up the tea urns and warm up the sealing machines.
- Tapioca: It should always be cooked very slowly for a minimum of 2 hours in order to become caramelized and soft but still chewy.
- Best menu: Bubble tea menus should always be as interactive and DIY as possible with regards to the taste, texture, and color combinations. Customers should be made to feel that they are in charge of coming up with their own tailor-made recipe.
- Social media: Each Bubble tea should be visually exciting and instantly ‘Instagrammable’. Encourage your customers to tag their bubble tea post back to the point of sale.
- Eco-friendly: Cardboard straws and 100% biodegradable or recyclable plastic cups. Younger generations are especially sensitive to issues concerning the environment. A bubble tea establishment risks being less popular if these measures are not followed.
- Innovation: In August we’re launching a newly-patented cup insert, MYO POKET, which separates the pearls from the tea inside the cup. It will enable bubble tea brands to manufacture a bubble tea with several months of shelf life which can be stored in the refrigerators of retailers like COOP or convenience stores. It’s a new business model that will enable these brands and their selected franchisees to manufacture a ready-to-drink version of bubble tea with a perfect taste and texture to delight consumers whenever and wherever they want. We plan to sell our solution to our competitors both in Switzerland and abroad.
How did bubble tea become so popular?
- Social media played a large part in the increasing popularity of bubble tea.
- Bubble tea shops started a trend of creating pretty drinks and encouraging customers to post aesthetic pictures of their quirky beverage online, starting a craze.
- Bubble tea is an unusual phenomenon because its popularity has continued rather than fading away as most trends do
Why is Bubble Tea So Popular?
- The consistent popularity of bubble tea can be partly explained by the demographic that drinks and sells the beverage.
- Bubble tea appeals to and is sold by a younger age group with a strong understanding of social media marketing, enabling the trend to go from strength to aesthetic strength.
- Instead of just sticking to tea, new fruit flavors were invented, along with new toppings and different kinds of milk.
- The craze of TikTok is playing a huge role in marketing.
- The more targeted marketing and constant innovation have kept the trend popular and exciting much longer than fads usually last, and the market is predicted to keep growing
What Is Bubble Tea?
- Bubble tea is a beverage that has gained huge popularity in many destinations around the world. You can purchase kits and ingredients to make your own at home, and you can also purchase bubble tea from many cafes and eateries.
- The drinks are in the form of fruit milk or tea which you can enjoy chilled or hot as you wish. It comes with the addition of tapioca balls.
- These pearls are available in a range of delicious flavors such as strawberry or mango. The idea is that you suck up the pearls when you are enjoying your drink, and you can enjoy their chewy texture and flavor.
Why Are Recyclable Bubble Tea Straws Important?
Plastic straws have been used for decades by people in households, cafes, restaurants, and other places serving drinks. However, we have become more aware of the damage they cause because of increased research into environmental damage.
The billions of single-use plastic straws that are used around the world have caused massive pollution to coastlines on a global basis. This has, of course, had a serious negative impact on marine life and wildlife, among other things.
So, let’s take a look at some of the options when it comes to recyclable or reusable straws for bubble tea:
- Paper: Paper straws have become a very popular alternative to plastic, with many food and beverage retailers now using them as a sustainable solution
- Glass: Another option that some manufacturers offer is a glass straw, which can be both reused and recycled.
- Stainless Steel: By reusing these, you will help the environment and also save on the cost of having to keep buying new straws.
Where is bubble tea most popular?
- Bubble tea has become a global craze, but it is most popular in South Asia.
- Orders for the beverage increased by 3000% in the region during 2018 alone, and the number of vendors increased by 200%.
- South Asians as a group drink on average four cups of bubble tea per person per month, and
- Thailand wins the top spot, with six cups of bubble tea consumed there per person per month.
- Although this region holds the biggest share of the market, growth is biggest in America where people are still discovering the drink.
- Bubble tea came to Nepal earlier this decade.
- It took root within our culture and its popularity is increasing day by day.
- Mainstream interest in bubble tea in Nepal, especially in major cities only really exploded in late 2019, when more outlets started to open up.
Enjoy Your Bubble Tea the Responsible Way
By choosing various recyclable and reusable straw options, you can enjoy your bubble tea the responsible way. You can look forward to a wonderful and refreshing beverage and help the environment.