Bubble tea is referred to by many names, such as pearl milk tea or Boba tea. The special tea originated from China; however, it is a Taiwanese bubble tea business that was discovered in tea shops in the 1980s in the region of Taichung.
Bubble tea usually comprises tea that is mixed or shaken with milk or fruit and, in most cases, some tapioca jelly or chewy fruits are also added. The tea also comes in an ice-blended version that has some elements of fresh fruit or sugar syrup, thus achieving a slushy consistency.
The wide range of ingredients that can be found in bubble tea can be diverse. However, the two most popular varieties are the bubble milk tea served with tapioca and the bubble green tea served with tapioca. This also means that we can classify the bubble tea into the fruit flavored teas and the milk teas.
Most bubble milk tea contains powdered dairy and non-dairy creamers, some varieties may contain 100% fruit varieties where the fruits are crushed to form fruit smoothies—these varieties also contain tapioca pearls.
It will be interesting to know that the original local bubble teas contain certain creamy shakes that are made from local sources. Some small cafes where bubble teas are sold around the world will offer sugar substitutes such as stevia, honey, agave, and aspartame, which are popular artificial sweeteners.
Bubble tea started out as a blend of tea with milk and tapioca. The oldest forms of this tea are known to originate from a mixture of Taiwanese black tea with some small pearls of tapioca. Sometimes, syrup and condensed milk were also added to create even more varieties.
As time went on, larger pearls of tapioca become more popular and quickly replaced the smaller tapioca pearls. As time went on, plums and peaches also became more popular and, eventually, fruit flavors were added. In the modern-day era, it seems artificial sweeteners such as stevia, honey, and aspartame will become more popular than other forms of bubble tea flavors, going by their increasing availability.
Fruit flavors added to bubble tea has gained so much popularity to the extent that pulps are now becoming the main bubble tea. Aside from pulps, different flavors of bubble tea can be added and then shaken in a cocktail shaker. Alternatively, they can be mixed with ice in a blender or a juice extractor to make the drink bubbly.
Variants of bubble tea
Each of the ingredients present in the bubble tea comes with variants. For instance, there is no limit to the type of teas that can be used in creating bubble tea—green tea, black tea, white tea, and even coffee, can be used to mention a few. The commonest bubble tea variations made with black tea are with Oolong and Earl Grey.
Most green tea comes with Jasmine variations. There is another variation of bubble tea referred to as Yuanyang and it originated from Hong Kong region—this type of bubble tea comprises 50% black tea and 50% coffee and many people who cannot stand the rich taste often add milk to it. For those who don’t like coffee, the de-caffeinated version of the Yuanyang seems to be pleasing to them.
The milk inside the bubble tea is always optional and some cafes even make use of non-dairy creamers to create the special bubbles and the reason being that there are many people in Eastern part of Asia who are lactose intolerant and such non-dairy creamers seem to easier to store than the easily perishable milk that spoils too rapidly. Variants of bubble tea also include diverse flavorings, including strawberries, watermelon, grape, lemon, mango, honeydew, Pineapple, sesame, almond, ginger, lavender, rose, violet, caramel, and Thai tea.
Bubble tea might have originated from Taiwan; however, new and different mash-ups are being created on daily basis these days from all around the world. The inspiration for the creation of new mash-ups actually comes from several other cuisines. For instance, Hibiscus flowers are now used to create certain bubble drinks in Mexico while small jelly cube stars are infused to some bubble teas in Asia and Europe.
New flavors such as Konjac, coconut jelly, lychee, and grass jelly are being used to create diverse variations of bubble tea, alongside coffee, chocolate, yogurt, kiwi, banana, peach, and guava to create slushy-like bubble teas.
The Instant Boba milk tea is another slush-like variation of bubble tea that has a mixture of powdered milk, sugar, and black tea and is very popular in Asia and South America. Once drawback with iced bubble tea is that it can be difficult for most people to suck the tea through a straw.
Types of Bubble milk tea
- The foam red tea is a special type of bubble tea that is common in mostly non-Chinese speaking countries. This type of bubble tea does not contain tapioca. In order to create this type of tea, the vendors normally create a mixture of warm or hot tea, with some syrup or sugar and then add ice cubes before mixing the whole ingredients inside the cocktail shaker. The mix is then shaken with the hand or machine. Before serving. It usually has a layer of froth at the top.
- The foam milk tea is similar to red foam tea, but it contains tapioca and it is shaken well before serving.
- The pearl milk tea which is also referred to as the bubble tea is common in English speaking countries and contains some small tapioca pearls added to the bubble tea. Many variations of this bubble tea now have larger tapioca pearls.
- The black pearl milk tea comes with the larger tapioca pearls and the tea is fast becoming more popular than the bubble tea with smaller tapioca pearls.
- The milk tea pearl is less common and it is mostly consumed in places like Singapore where it is interchangeably used with bubble tea. This tea is quite sweet and contains fruity flavors most of the time.