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Bubble Tea History
The U.S. is also now feeling the growth. Hundreds of locations serve Bubble Tea in California alone. You may be wondering, "What is Bubble Tea and how did this all begin"?
Bubble Tea originated in Taiwan in the early 1980's at a small tea stand.
Elementary school children would look forward to buying a cup of refreshing tea after a long, hard day of work and play. Tea stands were set up in front of the schools and would compete for business with the best selling tea. One concession owner became popular with her tea when she started adding different fruit flavoring to her tea. Because of the sweet and cool taste, children loved the taste. Soon, other concessions heard about the "unique" and popular tea, so they started to add flavoring to their teas. When adding flavor, the tea and flavoring needed to be shaken well for a good all around taste. This formed bubbles in the drink, which came to be known as "Bubble Tea."
In 1983 Liu Han-Chieh introduced Taiwan to tapioca pearls. The new fad was to add tapioca pearls into a favorite drink. Most of the time tapioca pearls were served in cold infused tea. After the tea and flavor were shaken well, it topped tapioca pearls that were sitting on the bottom of a clear cup. The tapioca pearls also looked like bubbles, thus also became to known as "Bubble Tea." Bubbles floated on the top your drink and bottom of your drink.
Tapioca pearls are black, but can sometimes be found to be white or transparent. Depending on the ingredients of the pearl, the color varies. I've been told that the white and translucent pearls are made of tapioca starch in it's natural form. The black pearl includes tapioca starch, sometimes cassava root, brown sugar and caramel which add the black color.
The consistency of tapioca pearls are somewhere between jell-o and chewing gum. In fact, many people think it's somewhat of a 'gummy bear' texture. Nonetheless, the way the tapioca feels when you chew it is absolutely unique. The tapioca pearls used in bubble tea are the size of a marble. The tapioca pearls are also known as the "boba" in the bubble tea drink. This is because it is described as having the same texture as the female breasts.