For National Bubble Tea Day, we're celebrating the sweet, iconic Taiwanese drink made famous by its dark tapioca balls, wide, colorful straws, and its seemingly endless variety of adorable tea lid designs. Also known as pearl milk tea, bubble milk tea, boba juice, boba tea, or just boba, this flavorful tea has become one of Taiwan’s most famous culinary exports. Its history is as colorful as its variety of flavors (our favorite at Ikeda tea World being, of course, matcha!)
Boba's origins are traced back to Taichung, Taiwan in the 80’s when the product development manager for Chun Shui Tang teahouse, Lin Hsiu Hui, was eating Fen Yuan, a sweetened tapioca pudding. She poured the tapioca balls into her Assam Iced tea (a.k.a. Thai Iced Tea) and, boom!, history was made. According to Lin, everyone in the meeting fell in love with this creative combination and, within a few months, Boba became the most popular item on their menu, outselling all of their previous teas. Twenty years later, National Bubble Tea Day is now a beloved holiday around the world, and boba tea has exploded in popularity across the globe.
While bubble tea varies from place to place, there are infinite combinations to the traditional boba milk tea that you can try this National Bubble Tea Day! Boba tea continues to expand outside of its familiar flavors, like black tea, oolong, jasmine, and coffee -- there are even a plethora of matcha tea drink options, too! Some of the newer tea recipes include ingredients popular in other parts of the world like hibiscus flowers from Mexico, saffron, cardamom, and condensed milk for Indian bubble tea and Persian rosewater flavored tea.
There is also an extensive range of boba alternatives you can try this National Bubble Tea Day that have a similar texture to boba, like green pearls, which are chewier and have a hint of green tea flavoring. Aloe, taro balls, and jelly are also popular alternatives and come in flavors like coconut jelly, lychee, strawberry, mango, passion fruit, and green tea.
For this National Bubble Tea Day, check out popular tea spots, like Kung Fu Tea, which offer other variations on this classic drink like Matcha Red Bean Slush, Winter Melon Milk Green Tea, and a classic green tea with boba. The Chun Shui Tang teahouse, which started the boba craze, offers their boba beverages both hot and cold, and as a traditional milk tea or as a refreshing blended ice drink.
You can still visit the Chun Shui Tang tea house today, and you can even order that Fen Yuan that started it all! Happy National Bubble Tea Day!