You've heard about it and maybe you've already had the chance to try it, but have you ever wondered what that delicious-looking bubble tea actually tastes like? From how the drink is made to the ingredients that go in it, we discuss everything you need to know about this tasty treat. You’ll be wanting to head out to your local stall in no time, we promise.
A bit about its origins
The history of this tea dates back to the 1950s when Japanese immigrants brought the drink to Taiwan. The Taiwanese version was called 'yang mee', and was first sold in Taiwan in 1954. At that time, it was only available in Taiwanese-owned convenience stores. If you were to snatch up one of these originals, you could expect a formula featuring a blend of tapioca starch and condensed milk.
These days, the recipe has evolved, with many different types of bubble tea that consumers can enjoy across the globe, ranging from very sweet drinks to refreshing iced teas. Typically, though, it is made up of two main ingredients: milk and tapioca starch (much like the initial recipe). The former adds sweetness, while the latter is used as a thickening agent to make the beverage smooth and creamy. You'll usually find it in a tall glass or plastic cup.
Creating exciting bubble tea flavours
Once the base of bubble tea has been created, it can be infused with many different flavours. These are mostly made from fruit, including all your favourites from the smallest berries to the largest mangoes. Fear not, for those out there who aren't fruit lovers; there is no shortage of other classical flavours such as vanilla, chocolate or caramel to keep your palette thoroughly engaged. Finally, the last ingredient and possibly the most obvious is tea.
One of these blends' most exciting features is the little balls of sweetness, known as tapioca pearls. These expand when cold or hot liquids are added to the drink, and act as a natural air pump, giving the drink a light and frothy texture. Although it's not technically a dessert, people often order bubble tea with their meals to cleanse their palate.
How to choose the best bubble tea flavour for you
We understand that sometimes there are just too many options to choose from, especially when you're just getting into bubble tea itself.
To start, we recommend trying the original version and working your way up from there. This will allow you to experiment with the base recipe and then decide how you'd like to spice it up, depending on whether you're a sweet tooth or not.