Updated: May 8
Boba or bubble tea has become a nationwide sensation across the United States. Bubble tea is a modern invention originating from Taiwan. Rumor has it that a project manager invented bubble tea at a tea house during a spell of boredom. Milk teas and tapioca desserts have long been enjoyed but the two weren’t put together until the 80s. Two tea houses, Chun Shui Tang Tea House and Hanlin Tea House, both claim bubble tea as their invention.
Boba is a slang term for “big breast” denoting the spherical shape of the tapioca pearls. Tapioca is made from the South American Cassava plant brought to Taiwan by the Portuguese. The pearls are known for their signature Q texture. Milk teas are commonly made with powdered creamer introduced to Taiwan through American foreign aid during the Cold War. There are some regional adaptations, with some countries making their teas with condensed milk.
After the United States changed its immigration law in 1965 there was a wave of Taiwanese immigrants. This influx brought with them a new understanding of Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine. Restaurants were no longer serving just American patrons but also creating menus for the immigrant populations who were missing home. Bubble Tea wasn’t introduced to the U.S. until the 90s but did not become popular until 2013 when the Fung Brothers created a music video called “Boba Life.”
Boba used to be sold in Chinese restaurants for one dollar as a side drink upon request. Now Bubble Tea is valued as a $1.9 billion dollar industry with $3.2 billion in projected sales by 2023. New bubble tea trends are constantly emerging like cheese foam tea and tiger tea. Bubble tea has become so popular that the United States expects a shortage this coming summer. So if you are a bubble tea lover start rationing now or celebrate with our Bubble Tea class today! It's the perfect team event!