They call it bubble tea—that drink mixed with tea, ice, sugar, tapioca and milk. They say it’s delicious and based on tea lovers’ reaction, you know it’s true.
The drink has its roots in Taiwan and started going international in the mid-1990s. The trend began as tiny shops and before you know it, it became one of the world’s biggest and most favourite trends. Who knew that something as simple as boba would make everyone fall in love with instantly?
One of the best things about boba is that there are so many options to choose from. You can get it in many different flavours and with many different add-ons like tapioca pearls, jelly cubes, custard, and more. People saw the thrill in mixing and matching the different tea blends, which is what led milk tea franchises to expand business to different parts of the globe.
Taxonomy of Bubble Tea
Apart from the basic milk and tea combination, what does bubble tea have that makes everyone go crazy about it?
Boba: these large tapioca pearls are, for others, the entire point of the milk tea craze. These pearls are added to the original bubble tea mix-ins, often soaked in a honey concoction.
Egg pudding: if you’re not a big fan of the boba, pudding is another tasty option. This simple custard uses gelatin as a thickening agent. Some stores also make taro and fruit pudding.
Grass Jelly: if you love bittersweet (literally) combinations, this slightly bitter jelly is a perfect addition.
The New Class of Milk Tea
Milk tea today isn’t just the regular combination anymore. In some stores, they like to add new twists. Apart from regular tea, you can also choose lemon, slow or green tea macha slush. In some mixes, they use salted cream oolong or milk blended with fresh fruit.
Stores continue to concoct new combinations to attract more customers. With the demand for milk tea rising, expect a range of different flavours to keep adding to the list. But one thing is for sure: despite the numerous flavours, no one can burst the bubble tea trend anytime soon.