Bubble tea
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Bubble Tea

What is Bubble Tea?

Have you ever tasted a cup of tea with “bubbles”? If not, you can try “bubble tea” which changed the traditional way of drinking tea. It is a fascinating and sweet drink with brewed black tea or green tea mixed with milk, sugar, and chewy balls called “Tapioca Pearls”.

These balls are derived from the starch of cassava (Manihot esculenta) root and look like black pearls. Tapioca balls haven’t much flavor. Therefore sweeteners are usually added to enhance the sweetness when making the balls.

Bubble tea is also known as boba tea, tapioca tea, pearl milk tea, and pearl shake. Usually, this can serve as a cold drink with an extra-wide straw to suck up the tapioca pearls.

These days it’s becoming a trend to drink pearl milk tea from luxurious malls and tea shops for an expensive menu. Without a debate, bubble tea did a great revolution in the beverage industry around the world. Because it is the best alternative for coffee and fruit smoothies that have had a great demand among people so far.

Bubble tea
Bubble tea

Origin of Bubble Tea

Bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the 1980s. Unexpectedly two famous tea houses in Taiwan compete with each other to claim it. One was Chu Shui Tang tea house in Taichung and, the other was Hanlin tea house in Tainan. Therefore there are two interesting stories about the origination of bubble tea among the people in Taiwan.

The story of Shui Tang Teahouse 

Once, the founder of Shui Tan tea house, Liu Han visited Japan during the 1980s. At that time, Japan has begun to serve coffee as a cool drink. Liu Han closely observed that and, he also wanted to make cold tea in Taiwan same as cold coffee. He didn’t forget to share his idea with the members in his tea house after he came back.

In 1988, during a staff meeting, his product development manager, Ms. Lin Hsiu Hui accidentally found the world’s first bubble tea after mixing her favorite tapioca balls pudding with the iced milk tea. Everyone in the meeting loved this new type of tea and then decided to sell it. The company claimed that they were the first to introduce pearl milk tea to the world.

 The story of Hanlin tea house

They also believe that they were the first to introduce bubble tea to the world. One day, the owner of Hanlin tea shop Tu Tsong-ho went to the market and saw the white-colored tapioca balls on the sale. Then he bought some and came back. He cooked it, but the taste was not better. Therefore, he added some milk tea to the tapioca balls.

Unexpectedly, it was tastier with a pleasing texture. That is how he invented the first bubble tea at his home and sold it in his shop. Gradually Hanlin tea shop changed the color of tapioca pearls to black by adding brown sugar and named it black peal tea.

Who got the patent?

However, these two companies filed lawsuits against each other but, no one couldn’t get the patent or trademark for bubble tea. With time, other tea shops in Taiwan also started to serve bubble tea in their shops. Finally, boba tea was introduced to other countries successfully.

Another Scandal

There is a hidden scandal about the origin of bubble tea among the people in Taiwan. A British emperor who lived in British Malaya (modern-day Singapore and Malaysia) used to drink cendol.

It was a cool drink made from rice gelatin strand and coconut milk with ice. Meanwhile, the Empress of Taiwan got tapioca balls as a tribute from China and, people began to make sweets and snacks to sell at night markets. Some believe that Taiwan night markets are the original birthplace of bubble tea. Some vendors had tasted cendol during their trips to Malaya. Can’t that be the base for the bubble tea we drink today?

Whatever the origin, now we can see it in almost every tea shop with new flavors and varieties. It has become a famous takeaway drink other than cold coffee and fruits juices. Whoever invented this may never be imagined that it would be a success this much.

Bubble tea
Bubble tea

How to make bubble tea

Making bubble tea is not that difficult. The only complex part is to make tapioca balls. Other than that, you can make bubble tea at your home easily. The followings are the steps to make bubble tea at your home.

Preparation of tapioca pearls

  1. Add the water and sugar to a pan and mix until the sugar gets dissolved over medium heat. Add a bit of the cassava root flour and stir it constantly. Add the remaining flour and stir until get a sticky dough. Let it cool slightly.
  2. Take the dough onto a clean surface. Get smooth dough by turning and kneading the dough for few minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into 4 portions. Roll each dough into long, thin ropes about ¼ inches thick and then cut the ropes into ¼ inch pieces.
  4. Roll each piece into a ball and roll the balls on the flour dust to prevent them from sticking to each other.
  5. Shake off any excess flour from the balls, and then add to the boiling water for 20 minutes, until it gets cooked. Next, rinse them with cold water.
  6. For making brown sugar syrup, add the brown sugar and water to a pan over medium heat and mix well until the sugar gets dissolved.
  7. Then you should add the tapioca balls to the brown sugar syrup and let it sit for 30–60 minutes.
  8. Finally, get the tapioca pearls to make bubble tea.

Preparation of tea

  1. Add the black tea or green tea with water and boil it to high heat.
  2. After boiling, let the tea cool at room temperature.
  3. Next add some tapioca pearls with brown sugar syrup to the bottom of the glass.
  4. Top it with ice and then, add black tea/green tea. 
  5. Finally, add the milk to it.
  6. Mix the mixture well with a wide straw.
  7. You can add a topping according to your taste. Ex: whipping cream, ice cream, pudding, Jelly.
  8. Enjoy your boba tea.

Types of bubble tea

There are various types of bubble teas in the tea shops. Everyone wants to make some extraordinary changes to their bubble tea recipes to attract customers. However, these changes can do only by considering the following factors.

Type of tea

You can use either black tea, green tea, yellow tea, or oolong tea as the base in your tea. Most people like to drink jasmine-flavored green tea with their boba tea.

Type of milk

Commonly use whole milk or condensed milk to prepare bubble tea. You also can use soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk in your drink.

Type of tapioca pearls/boba

  • Black boba – Black-colored tapioca pearls. Use brown sugar to color the pearls
  • Clear boba – Normal tapioca pearls without color and a taste
  • Flavored boba – Flavored tapioca pearls.
  • Popping boba – Prepare the balls with the chemical and physical reaction of calcium. Different from the normal tapioca.
  • Mini boba – Smaller tapioca pearls

Type of sweeteners

Any kinds of sweeteners are suitable for this. You can use any sweeteners like honey, sugar, syrups, and artificial sweeteners also.

Type of topping

Pudding, ice cream, and whipped creams are the favorite toppings among people.

Bubble tea
Bubble tea

Some popular bubble tea types

  • Classic milk bubble tea – Most popular bubble tea among tea lovers. Made from Black tea with milk and tapioca balls as the topping
  • Honeydew boba tea- Honeydew flavored bubble tea
  • Coconut bubble tea- Made from pure coconut water with fruit nectar
  • Fruit iced tea – Made from fruit flavors, such as grape, orange, green apple, and pineapple
  • Matcha boba tea – The healthiest bubble tea as it made from matcha green tea
  • Winter Melon- caramelized winter melon
  • Popcorn tea- A mixture of green tea and toasted rice. Toasted rice gives a popcorn flavor
  • Taro B- Made from purple Taro root

How to serve bubble tea?

Usually, bubbles serve in elegant and transparent glasses or cups with different shapes. Moreover, you can get an extra-wide straw to suck the boba pearls through it. These new features could easily attract customers. With its beautiful presentation, no one can easily ignore it. In the beginning, bubble teacups didn’t have a lid. Nowadays, it is a popular takeaway beverage with a lid.

Nutritional Facts

There is no significant nutritional value of bubble tea except providing energy from carbohydrates. According to nutritionists, 16 oz of average bubble tea includes nutrients.

  • Calories: 240
  • Protein: 0 grams 
  • Fat: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 56 grams
  • Sugar – 54 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 56 grams
  • Cholesterol – 0 grams

The vitamin and mineral content is also low in bubble tea. But it provides minerals such as calcium, iron, selenium, and foliate with your drink.

Bubble tea
Bubble tea

Health Benefits of bubble tea

Is it worth drinking? You can find it after you read the following.     

Provides energy

Tapioca pearls are a source of carbohydrates that gives you enough energy for your day-to-day activities.

Release your stress

Can tea calm your mind? Bubble tea can stimulate your nervous system because of caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulator that can boost your nervous system and can relax your mind. At the same time, you can calm your mind by looking at its beautiful presentation.

Boost your immune system.

Catechin in tea can boost your immune system because it acts as an antioxidant. Another fact is that some fruit-flavored bubble teas are highly enriched with vitamin C and increase your immunity.

Prevent cancers

Some studies have found that green tea can prevent you from cancers like liver cancer and breast cancer. Green tea has Polyphenols that can fight against cancer-causing free radicals such as unstable oxygen molecules. Therefore, regular drinking of bubble teas like Macha bubble tea can avoid the risk of cancers.

Good for your heart 

Drinking bubble tea made from green tea can lower blood pressure and cholesterol level. It helps you avoid the risk of heart attacks.

Making of Bubble tea
Making of Bubble tea

Side effects of bubble tea

Is there any side effect of bubble tea? Of course, most bubble teas contain a high level of sugar which can gain body weight and increase the risk of obesity. Average bubble tea also has a high amount of calories and, you shouldn’t consume it regularly.

On the other hand, a higher sugar level can cause diabetes and tooth decay. However, bubble teas lack essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fibers. Another fact is that there may be some people who can’t consume tapioca peals due to allergies. In that case, they have to face some severe allergy conditions also.

Tips to avoid side effects of bubble tea

  • Add less or no sweeteners – It will lower the risk of diabetes
  • Consume low-fat milk or alternatives like soy milk, coconut milk, and almond milk- This is a good alternative for people who can’t consume dairy products.
  • Add fewer toppings. – Toppings like pudding, jelly, and yogurts have high sugar amounts. Therefore you can ask for fewer toppings or none at the café if you worry about the sugar content.

How to choose the best bubble tea shop?

Nowadays, bubble tea has a huge demand and, several tea shops sell bubble tea. But how are you going to select the best tea shop among them? Here are some tips to select the best tea shop. Never go for the places if they make bubble tea from instant milk powder.

Try to find a place that makes tea with real milk and sweeteners. It will taste better and healthier also. As well as, try to find a place that you can customize your bubble tea. Some restaurants allow you to select the type of tea, milk, flavors, and toppings to your interest. Those places are the best to have your bubble tea.

Best bubble tea shops around world

  • Heytea : China, Hong Kong, Singapore.
  • The Alley :Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Canada, United States and more.
  • Biju : London, United Kingdom.
  • YiFang :  Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Japan, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and more.
  • Happy Lemon: China, Japan, Philippines, United States, Canada, United Kingdom and more.
  • Ten Ren: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and more.
  • Bubble Queen: Vancouver, Canada.

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