Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bursting the bubble on tea!

Every now and then something new pops up and it just explodes. It could be anything from gourmet burger joints, all-you-can-eat sushi shops, salad eateries, poutine places etc... One of these trends is Bubble Tea. They've been around for years, and they are everywhere!

First time I had bubble tea was about a decade ago. I thought the name was strange. What was the reference to bubble anyway? The actual product didn't even look like tea as I knew it. Well, first a little history. Apparently, bubble tea was first made in the 80’s in Taiwan. Like anything new, there are different stories with a claim on its invention. The two versions I found during my research was nothing more than a couple of tea shop owners taking a chance and dropping balls of tapioca into tea. The drink was so well received by their customers that it went on to becoming the most popular item on the menu. 

My bubble tea!

Along with the many styles offered, bubble tea also has many names. I've always know it as Bubble Tea, but depending on where you live, it can be referred to as Pearl Milk Tea, Boba Milk Tea, Momi Tea, Tapioca Tea, and so many other names. The basic ingredients in bubble tea is milk, brewed tea, sugar, and tapioca balls. However, there are many variations that include both natural fresh fruit of many kinds and artificial flavourings of syrup or powder, with or without milk, different types of milk, hot or cold, green, red (black), or oolong tea, coffee and so on. Even the pearls come in different sizes and flavours too. Plus there are other items you can add such as adzuki beans, seaweed, jelly cubes etc… Really, the list is endless. The “bubble” refers to the bubbles that appear when the drink is shaken, kind of like a milkshake, and not the actual tapioca balls sitting at the bottom. Strange.

Great balls of tapioca!

I went to enjoy a bubble tea at a new shop that opened up in my neighbourhood not too long ago. I pretty much sat at the counter going over the endless list of options on the menu board and even discussed favourites and what the more popular items were with the very patient and friendly salesperson. I wanted something different, but something basic and not too drastic that I may not like it. I opted for the jasmine green tea with coconut milk and tapioca balls on ice. My love of coconut continues!

My bubble tea was yummy! The coconut went very well with the jasmine green tea. The tapioca pearls were soft, chewy and sweet. Fun to drink too! Was a little worried I might need the Heimlich maneuver from the possibility of choking on the pearls. Hey, I'm sure it’s happened along with a lawsuit! 

A choking hazard?

Definitely not something I could or would drink every day. Bubble tea is not exactly a health food, though I'm sure there are healthier versions available. You can make bubble tea at home. I might fiddle around with some recipes and create some crazy concoction of my own.

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