What is Bubble Tea?
Bubble Tea is a Taiwanese drink invented in the 1980s that can be consumed hot or cold. Typically there are two types of bubble tea- milky or fruity. Most bubble tea recipes contain a tea base that is mixed/shaken with milk or fruit flavouring to which chewy tapioca balls (known as bubbles, pearls, or boba), popping pearls or fruit jelly are often added. These add a chewy contrast to the texture and sweetness of the drink depending on which “topping” is selected. The only way to eat these yummy treats is to slurp them up through a fat straw, as unlike their name suggests, they actually sit at the base of the drink. A good description of the drink is to call it a dessert drink.
What’s in it?
Using our gourmet loose leaf teas we brew our base for the drink, our preferred flavours are black, green and earl grey tea. To that we add sweetener (fructose syrup) and flavours (we use fruit syrups and powders). If it’s a Milk Tea, a creamy component is added such as regular or lactose free milk or alternatives such as almond or soy milk and non-dairy creamers. There are many flavours to add to our milky teas, the sweetness and coldness are also chosen by the customer. The tea base, milk, sweetener, ice and flavour are all added to a cocktail shaker cup and shaken vigorously to combine. The resulting drink becomes frothy with lots of bubbles on top- hence the name Bubble Tea and it is poured into a plastic cup to which the boba, pearls or jellies have been added. The cup is then sealed with plastic film before being given to the customer who then needs to pierce it with the fat plastic straw to drink and enjoy it. The same process applies to the fruity teas, minus the addition of the milk or creamers.
The fun of bubble tea comes from the small chewy tapioca pearls (aka boba) which we cook fresh daily, sometimes twice a day and the other “toppings.”
More on the Toppings that live at the bottom
Tapioca pearls are made from the tapioca starch that is extracted from the cassava root. Tapioca contains significant amounts of vitamins and minerals including calcium, folate, iron and manganese. A major health benefit is that it is free of allergens being GLUTEN, nut and grain FREE so can be consumed safely by people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance and nut allergies. It’s cholesterol free, easy to digest, a source of fibre, is low in sodium and supports people with weight gain (good for those that don’t have a problem in this area) but also helps to keep you feeling full for longer.
Popping Pearls “pop” when bitten into and are made during a chemical process called spherification. During the process little spheres are created with a thin flexible skin and fruit juice inside. Once you suck them through your straw you can roll them around your tongue, apply some pressure and they burst with a squirt! They really are fun to drink, recommended for the fruity teas and are great for children. We have a variety of flavours to choose from- green apple, mango, blueberry, orange, lychee and passionfruit.
Contrary to popular belief these are not made out of gelatin. They are actually made from coconut meat, or konjar, a vegetable by product. The jellies are submerged in flavoured liquids or juices, hence the different choices available. We have Green Apple, Coffee, Lychee, Grape, Rainbow, Strawberry.
Aloe vera jellies are made from the aloe vera pulp, they are soaked in tailor made syrups to remove the bitterness (that’s where the calories come from) but they are are a source of protein, calcium and iron.