So I have to admit that from the first time that I ever visited San Diego (Back in 2002) I had my first Boba Bubble Tea. It was in the Asian section that I was taken to by a guy that I was dating at the time. I was immediately hooked and had to have it several times before we left and missed it desperately. I had my mom order the stuff and we made some at home for awhile, but then I hadn't had it for years until a little shop started selling it here in Texas. This reawakened my addiction and recently I decided that I needed to start making my own at home again. As I rave about bubble tea I get a lot of people inquiring about it, so I decided to do a blog on some of the background of bubble tea to inform everyone who has been deprived of the awesomeness that it bubble tea.
Bubble Tea, Pearl Milk Tea, Boba Milk Tea, Boba Tea, Momi, Momi Milk Tea, etc Originated in Taichung Taiwan in the 1980s and has become so rampant that it is like going to get a soda here in the US. Boba is slang for large breasts in Taiwan and that is what the large Tapioca pearls were referred to as and how it started being called Bubble Tea (In addition to the bubbles on the surface of the tea caused by shaking of the ingredients). You may also hear the pearls referred to as ZhenZhu Chinese for Pearl. In June 2012, even McDonald's started offering Bubble tea in Germany and Austria.
The teas contain a tea base usually green or black tea, they are then mixed with fruit or a type of milk. There are also ice-blended variations that are closer to a slushie as well as many powdered or syrup flavors to add a multitude of flavors. You can use fruit and natural ingredients for a healthier way to make your own flavoring.
There are hundreds of variations to the flavors and the ways that they can be served, but there is always tapioca and always tea if you want to go traditional. There are powdered creamers, actual milks, such as dairy, soy, rice, almond, etc. Flavors can come from syrups, from fruit, from powdered mixes. Most shops will sweeten their tapioca pearls with simple sugar or honey but I have made it without sweetening many times and it tastes just as delicious.
The oldest known bubble tea consisted of hot black tea, small tapioca, condensed milk and syrup or honey. Usually the bubble is a chilled drink but you can have it warm or hot as well and it tastes just as delicious! The small tapioca was also replaced with the large tapioca. I have even seen some recipes that called for cubes of coconut jelly to replace the tapioca and for coffee instead of tea. Essentially the possibilities are endless with over 250 variations readily available.
I have gotten quite a few recipes for flavors from scratch that we will be trying out and I will post a blog in the near future about how to make certain Boba/Bubble Teas and the recipes that we tried and approved of. Now you know a little bit about Bubble Tea and if you like tapioca pudding and you like tea, I think you will most likely enjoy Bubble Tea. Some people find it weird to "chew their drink" but if you can get over that, I think that it is awesome and fun and delicious! I hope that you will at least give bubble tea a try sometime if you ever get the chance. If you are ever in my area let me know and I will make some up for you!
My three favorite flavors right now are HoneyDew, Cantaloupe, and Hibiscus, but the possibilities are indeed endless!