Bubble tea, also called boba, is an immensely popular beverage among Asian-American communities and in its homelands back in Asia as well. But where did it come from? Who invented it? In this blog we’ll explore the history of bubble tea. Another common name for it is pearl milk tea, or in Mandarin Chinese, boba nai cha.
Where Did Bubble Tea Come From?
Taiwan in the late 1980s was a happening place. This is the birthplace of bubble tea. Specifically speaking, the actual birthplace was the city of Taichung. Taiwan was already renowned for its tea culture, and Taichung in particular boasted even more well-known teahouses. One of those famous teahouses? It was called Chun Shai Tung.
In 1988, at a meeting for an upcoming staff party, bubble tea’s inventor, Ms. Lin, was struck with a brilliant idea. She was drinking iced milk tea while also eating a dessert made of tapioca balls. Her frustration boiling over at the lack of action in the meeting (to pick tea-related songs) she added the tapioca balls (the pearls) to her iced milk tea, and thus, bubble tea was born.
What Happened Next?
Although Ms. Lin and her coworkers could have easily gone to the patent office, they didn’t. This hot new idea could have made them all extremely rich. But the true and generous spirit of the people of Taiwan prevailed: they never went to the patent office. As a result, bubble tea spread to street corners all over Asia and into the West, as well. It has become a global phenomenon, because in Germany in 2012, bubble tea exploded with up to 250 possible flavors.
How Are You Supposed to Drink Bubble Tea?
Believe it or not, there are some rules to the ways you are supposed to drink bubble tea. Enjoy them properly by doing the following:
- Shake up the tea to distribute the bubbles.
- Use a plastic container with a tight lid stretched over it.
- Use an oversized plastic straw. This is the key to properly enjoy bubble tea. Normal straws won’t be able to accommodate the tapioca pearls.
- Make sure to drink even amounts of tea and bubble at the same time. If you drink too much of the tea, the bubbles will be left alone and soggy and not very enjoyable.
- Figure out your preferred amounts of ice and sugar. One of the steps to order a bubble tea is to decided how much ice and sugar you want, if any.
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