Tuesday, 5 August 2014

What is bubble tea?

Four years ago bubble tea was relatively unknown in the UK, but the drinks are now ubiquitous on High Streets, from cities to small towns.

It is often brightly coloured, sometimes served with milk, with a layer of jelly-like globules - tapioca balls - that settle at the bottom of the cup. Drunk through an extra thick straw with a spoon-shaped tip, it is a mouthful of tea and chewiness - both a drink and a snack, Bubble tea hails from 1980s Taiwan. It was an evolution from the country's street tea vendors who began experimenting with fruity flavours and colour to entice customers.

The "bubble" actually refers to the froth on top of the drink which comes after it is violently shaken - some cafes use a machine especially for shaking.

How the tapioca balls arrived in the drink is a matter of debate - tho
ugh the most common story is that product development manager Lin Hsiu Hui was sitting in a staff meeting and poured the tapioca from her pudding into her Assam iced tea. The result was considered delicious.

While growing in the UK, it is even more popular in Germany, according to market research firm Mintel. Even McDonald's has started serving it.

Fancy making your own bubble tea? See: How do you make bubble tea? (recipe) and bubble tea recipe for more information.

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