A Brief History of Bubble Tea

Bubble tea, or “boba” tea as it is always known, has come a very long way since its humble beginnings at a Taipei food stall. It’s easy to see why: bubble tea is a super fun and delicious mix of milky tea and chewy tapioca balls that are a hit from Sydney to Shanghai and all the way across to the States.


If you love bubble tea as much as we do (duh, we are the Bubble Tea Club), you might be interested in learning a little more about the delightful drink and how it came to be so popular today. 


We won’t let you brew on it any longer - here is a brief history of bubble tea and our favourites for making at home. 


The Taipei tee lover’s dream creation


Bubble tea was created in the late 1980s. Whilst many people cite Taipei as its city of origin, other Taiwanese cities claim ownership (we don’t blame them!). Milky tea was already incredibly popular in Taiwan as tea drinking is such a common practice throughout Asia. 


Legend has it that during one steamy, super hot summer (temperatures often hit 35 °C in Taipei in summer), a clever food stall owner decided to combine three common Taiwan products. Tapioca balls and shaved ice were already common desserts in Taiwan, and the steamy heat beckoned the food stall owner to combine the two with the much-loved milky tea. 


The man placed the tapioca balls on the bottom, covered them in a layer of shaved ice, and filled out the cup with tea - the rest is delicious, refreshing history. The beverage soon became known as “boba” - Chinese slang for breasts - because of the tapioca balls’ curved form. 


Word soon began to spread throughout Taiwan about the delightful drink that was becoming a roadside hit for Taipei residents. Stall owners would use fruit powders instead of actual fruit as it was too expensive and wouldn’t keep well in the heat. Soon, the drink became more extravagant, with toppings including red beans, egg pudding, almond jelly and glass jelly all being added to the sensational concoction. 


Soon, non-dairy creamer replaced the milk as even the milk would go off, and creamer is typically used today to add to the incredibly sweet and creamy flavour the drink is known for.  


One of the world’s favourite drinks


Bubble tea has become incredibly popular since its creation some 30 years ago. Today, bubble tea shops can be found all over the world, with all kinds of wonderful flavours and concoctions being used to create new and exciting variations. 


Bubble Tea Club is for people who love their boba so much that they can even make it home. We have awesome flavours like honeydew milk, taro milk, coconut milk and more, as well as a range of fruity flavours including mango lychee and peach. Each concoction comes with all the ingredients you need to make your own boba, as well as reusable cup sets and more. 


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