Bubble tea shops are popping up all over the place - in malls, on corners, and anywhere else thirsty teens tend to gather. Bubble tea, also called pearl milk tea or boba tea, originated in Taiwan and has become a worldwide sipping - and chewing - phenomenon.
But what is bubble tea anyway? Take a cup, plop in a handful of round, gelatinous pearls of tapioca, top it with brewed black or green tea, mix in some milk, sugar, flavouring, and ice. Then shake it all up, and you've got yourself a bubble tea.
Bubble teas are generally of two distinct types: fruit-flavored teas, and milk teas. However, some shops offer a hybrid "fruit milk tea." Milk teas may use dairy or non-dairy creamers. Some healthier offers are 100% crushed fruit smoothies with pearls and signature ice cream shakes made from local ice cream sources. Some small cafes offer sweetener substitutes such as honey, agave, stevia, and aspartame upon special request.
The original bubble tea consisted of a hot mixture of Taiwanese black tea, brown large pearl tapioca, condensed milk, and honey. As this drink became more...