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Other varieties of the drink can include blended tea drinks. Some may be blended with ice cream.

There are also smoothies that contain both tea and fruit. Although bubble tea originated in Taiwan, some bubble tea shops are starting to add in flavors which originate from other countries. For example, hibiscus flowers, saffron, cardamom, and rosewater are becoming popular. Tapioca balls boba are the prevailing chewy spheres in bubble tea, but a wide range of other options can be used to add similar texture to the drink. These are usually black due to the brown sugar mixed in with the tapioca.

Green pearls have a small hint of green tea flavor and are chewier than the traditional tapioca balls. Jelly comes in different shapes: small cubes, stars, or rectangular strips, and flavors such as coconut jelly , konjac , lychee , grass jelly , mango , coffee and green tea available at some shops. Azuki bean or mung bean paste, typical toppings for Taiwanese shaved ice desserts, give the drinks an added subtle flavor as well as texture.


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Aloe , egg pudding custard , and sago can be found in most tea houses. Popping Boba are spheres and have fruit juices or syrups inside of them. They are also popular toppings.


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The many flavors include mango, lychee, strawberry, green apple, passion fruit, pomegranate, orange, cantaloupe, blueberry, coffee, chocolate, yogurt, kiwi, peach, banana, lime, cherry, pineapple, red guava, etc. Some shops offer milk or cheese foam top off the drink too, which has a thicker consistency similar to that of whipped cream. The dairy base for these drinks is flavoring blended with ice, often called snow bubble. All mix-ins that can be added to the bubble tea can be added to these slushie -like drinks.

KIDS vs. FOOD - BOBA TEA (BUBBLE TEA)

One drawback is that the coldness of the iced drink may cause the tapioca balls to harden, making them difficult to suck up through a straw and chew. To prevent this from happening, these slushies must be consumed more quickly than bubble tea. Bubble tea stores often give customers the option of choosing the amount of ice or sugar, usually using percentages.

Bubble tea is also offered in some restaurants, like the Michelin-awarded Din Tai Fung.

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There are two competing stories for the origin of bubble tea. He then made tea using the tapioca balls, resulting in the so-called "pearl tea". Shortly after, Hanlin changed the white tapioca balls to the black version, mixed with brown sugar or honey, that is seen today.


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At many locations, one can purchase both black tapioca balls and white tapioca balls. Its founder, Liu Han-Chieh, [1] observed how the Japanese served cold coffee while on a visit in the s and applied this method to tea. This expansion began the rapid expansion of bubble tea. It ultimately became the franchise's top-selling product. The drink became popular in most parts of East and Southeast Asia during the s, [4] especially Vietnam. Notably, in the Bay Area of California, bubble tea is very popular and is consumed by many consumers from various backgrounds.

Bubble tea has a very large presence in the city of San Jose, California which is populated by many of those from Chinese and Vietnamese backgrounds.

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It is one of the cities with the most bubble tea shops in the United States. In contemporary times, bubble tea has achieved cultural significance outside of Taiwan in some areas for major East Asian diaspora populations. In May , a food scandal occurred in Taiwan when DEHP a chemical plasticizer and potential carcinogen used to make plastic was found as a stabilizer in drinks and juice syrups.

Boba tea also called pearl tea or bubble tea is a sweet drink that combines milk, flavored tea and tapioca pearls that are sucked up through an extra-large straw and chewed. The pearls have a soft, chewy consistency similar to that of gummy candy.

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Boba tea was introduced in Taiwan in the s, quickly spread through Southeast Asia and has become very popular among young people in the U. The tapioca pearls usually are black and are made from cassava starch, sweet potato and brown sugar. Sometimes, white tapioca pearls are used — these are made from cassava starch, caramel and chamomile root and have a different flavor.

A ounce serving may have as many as calories, with more than of those from fat. Worse, a study published in reported that a 32 ounce serving of boba milk tea that includes jelly and egg pudding supplies between percent and percent of the recommended maximum daily intake of sugar for men and women, respectively. The texture is similar to a fluffy mousse and provides an awesome foam mustache when enjoyed correctly.

When your boba drink is ordered -- customized with ice levels, sweetness, and toppings galore -- your creation typically goes through a special sealing machine.

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Boba straws are larger than typical straws to accommodate the chunks of tapioca, fruit chunks, or whatever else you have in your beverage, and come with a pointed tip to pierce through the sealed top of your drink just make sure you have your thumb pressed firmly over the top hole of your straw before you drive it through the film of plastic covering your drink, or else your drink will explode everywhere.

These days, there are even metal and glass boba straws available for purchase to reduce the need for single-use plastic boba straws. Other shops skip the sealing machine and serve their drinks with plastic tops similar to those of drinks at Starbucks. Hot drinks usually come in your typical to-go coffee cups, with an attached spoon if your hot beverage contains toppings. Regardless of what container your beverage arrives in, the next best thing at boba shops are the snacks. Boba shops usually serve up traditional Taiwanese snacks, which includes salty and spicy Taiwanese popcorn chicken, spiced french fries, minced pork with rice, and tea eggs.

Larger boba shops may have expanded menus and additional seating that can change your boba outing from a snack run to a proper meal. Boba milk teas will generally set you back a couple of dollars, depending on where you go for your drink.

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Toppings usually cost an additional 50 cents per topping, but they also range from place to place. Kat Thompson is a staff food writer at Thrillist and a boba connoisseur. Her go-to order is jasmine green milk tea with honey boba. Tweet her your favorite combination katthompsonn. Share on Facebook Tweet this article Pin it Email. What is boba? Share on Facebook Pin it. Bases The tea base for boba drinks is usually black or green tea and can be customized with an array of syrups like peach, strawberry, and lychee. Toppings maybe the most important part Boba This is the quintessential topping at any tea parlor.

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