The History of Bubble Tea
A thick, milky, rich cup of tea filled with spheres of squishy, chewy pearls = bubble tea! Over the years, many people have wondered where this unique craze in tea originated. While stories of different varieties go back hundreds of years (sometimes thousands), the story of bubble tea dates way back to the ancient, mythical, and mysterious era... of the 1980s.
Bubble tea has mostly been known to have originated in Taipei, although other cities in Taiwan often claim ownership. As tea drinking was already a robust practice in East Asia, tea with milk was not something new in Taiwan.
During a blistering summer, an idea arrived in the mind of one sharp food stall owner. He thought to combine three popular elements into just one beverage: tapioca balls at the bottom, followed by a layer of shaved ice, and milk tea poured on top, filling up the rest of the drink. His invention became known as ‘boba’.
The term ‘boba’ is slang for ‘breasts’ in Chinese, a reference to the spherical shape of the tapioca balls (and definitely not what you were thinking it meant). Overtime, boba began to evolve. The milk in the tea was substituted for non-dairy creamer as it was more shelf-stable, and as a result, the drink we now all know and love became a worldwide craze for it’s incredibly sweet and creamy taste.
What Is Bubble Tea?
Colidascopic flavors, tiny planets bobbing around, bubble tea looks like a drink from some far-away galaxy.
Bubble tea, pearl milk tea, and boba tea - essentially three different names for the same thing. But what exactly is inside? Well, In its most basic form, the beverage consists of black tea, milk, ice, and chewy tapioca pearls. Once combined, they’re all shaken together like a 007 martini and served with a famously fat straw to accommodate the marbles of tapioca that cluster at the bottom of the cup.
Contrary to popular belief, there are no bubbles inside bubble tea, and there isn’t always tea either. Regardless, it doesn’t take away from the fact that people are obsessed. Bubble tea features a base that can be made from many things: tea, fruit, coffee, milk, and chewy ‘’pearls’’ that sit at the bottom of the cup. The word boba refers to a broad category of chunky drinks. It includes everything from iced tea with tapioca pearls, to fresh juice loaded with fruity bits.
What Does Bubble Tea Taste Like?
Bubble tea comes in a wide variety of flavors, however, there will always be a taste of the standard ingredients; milk and tea. The overall taste highly depends on the fruit and syrups that have been added to your chosen selection. The tapioca balls added to the bottom of your beverage may not change the flavor of the drink all that much, but they do give the fluid a special texture.
Your tastebuds will experience popping flavor anywhere from sweet earth and nutty, to saccharine. As bubble tea cafe’s around the world try to switch things up, you may even find some slightly sour and bitter flavors that you’ll either love, come to regret, or both.
The Health Benefits of Bubble Tea
As the standard ingredients of organic tea and milk are used in most bases, this allows consumers to reap the rewards of several health benefits, while still enjoying a delicious unique cup of tea. Over the years, organic and green tea has proven to be helpful when it comes to improved brain function and metabolism. However, the health benefits of bubble tea don’t end there.
In addition to grabbing the natural nutrients that come with green and organic tea, you could also benefit from intaking your daily dose of calories along the way. Research states that a single serving of bubble tea with tapioca balls on average contains around 300 calories, this serving also includes a healthy 38 grams of sugar. As an adult’s daily calorie intake is around 2400, bubble tea could be a not so guilty pleasure in addition to your healthy daily intake.
In order for you to take full advantage of the health benefits of bubble tea, you’ll have to choose the right ingredients, and avoid adding excess sugar. When done correctly, boba can be great for you! Check out just some of the health benefits that it can provide:
Strengthens the Immune System
One of the most popular flavors on sale within the boba market is green tea. It’s known to contain a wide range of antioxidants like catechins for example. This allows your immune system to flourish through the prevention of oxidative stress. Furthermore, when you add fresh fruit to the drink like strawberries or mangos, you receive a substantial dose of vitamin C, which in turn, even further boosts your immune system.
The sugar along with the caffeine found in green, black, or white tea make this incredibly famous Taiwanese beverage an excellent source of energy. While it’s best to not overdo it when it comes to this drink, a healthier version with much less sugar can enhance your metabolism.
When you take good care of your sugar and calorie intake, and choose the right ingredients when creating your bubble tea, your cardiovascular well-being stays on top. When ordering or creating a healthy version of boba, the anti-inflammatory compounds, along with the antioxidants in the drink can strengthen your blood vessel wall, and prevent your arteries from forming plaque.
Something to keep in mind is that the health benefits of bubble tea mentioned are widely negated if you choose to go for a rich in sugar bubble tea. If you consume this beverage on a daily basis, the best thing you can do for yourself is to prepare your very own healthy version at home. This smoothly brings us onto our next topic, and a surprise for all you readers!
SURPRISE: Three Homemade Bubble Tea Recipes!
Although bubble tea is healthy, as we now know, in typical boba cafes, you might not find the healthiest version of this insanely delicious drink. Some cafes may add condensed milk and sugar which increase the calories of your drink overall, thus throwing it into the unhealthy range. However, there are so many other healthy alternatives when it comes time to prepare this drink, especially if you are making it at home.
Coming up next - THREE unique boba tea recipes, to make from the comfort of your very own kitchen!
- Strawberry PB&J Bubble Tea Recipe
Mango Green Tea Bubble Tea Recipe
- Iced Coffee Bubble Tea Recipe
So, there you have it! Bubble tea IS healthy, but only when consumed correctly.
Here at Subtle Asian Treats, we thrive in producing comfort or all of our valuable customers. Whether that comes from providing you with recipes so you’re able to try a variety of delicious tastes of boba, or from cuddling up with one of our many amazing plushies - your comfort is our priority!
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