You may have heard about bubble tea or seen it advertised where you live. It has other names also such as pearl milk tea or boba milk tea.
So What is Bubble Tea?
It is tea-based drink that was originally invented in Taiwan in the 1980’s, and is normally served cold and sweet. It is now becoming popular around the world and the United States. McDonalds had even started selling it in Austria and Germany in 2012.
Traditionally, bubble tea consisted of tea, milk, sugar, and tapioca pearls (although I have read that originally the pearls weren’t always added).
However, there are now hundreds of variations. Tea shops offer all types of fruits, offer different types of teas (black or green tea is common), add coffee, serve it warm, mix it with ice, or even take out the tea completely. You usually use a fat straw to drink the tapioca pearls at the bottom.
Bubble tea can also be made into smoothie form or as an ordinary drink. Some tea shops even substitute the tapioca pearls with green pearls, jellies, or egg custards.
Many people enjoy making their own bubble tea at home. You can usually find the tapioca pearls (also called Boba) at Asian grocery stores and will need to soak the pearls for several hours to get them tender all the way through. Here is a link if you want to learn how to make your own bubble tea: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-boba-and-bubble-tea-98067
Why do they call it “bubble” tea? I’ve read conflicting information on this. Many sites say it is because the tapioca pearls look like bubbles in the tea, while others claim it is due to the bubbles that form at the top of the drink when the ingredients are shaken.
There are some health concerns regarding the high calories and sugar, so it’s best to not make this your daily drink, but more of a special treat. There were also some reports a few years ago that the tapioca pearls from Taiwan had cancer causing ingredients, although this has been disputed. You may want to find out what type of pearls your tea shop uses and where it is from.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what is bubble tea!