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Bubble tea

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Bubble tea otherwise called Foam tea, is a sweetly flavored tea beverage invented in Taiwan. Drink recipes may vary, but most bubble teas contain a tea base mixed with fruit (or fruit syrup) and/or milk. Ice blended versions of the drink are also available, usually in fruit flavors. Bubble teas usually contain small tapioca balls or pearls called "boba". Pearls made of jelly are also available in many places. These teas are shaken to mix the ingredients, creating a foam on the top of some varieties, hence the name.

Bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the 1980s, first spread to nearby East Asian countries, migrated to Canada before spreading to Chinatowns throughout the United States, and then to various college towns along the West Coast. There are also bubble tea cafes in the UK.


There are many variants of the drink, depending on types of tea used and ingredients added. The most popular kinds are "bubble black tea" (traditional Chinese: 泡沫紅茶; pinyin: pào mò hóng chá; literally "foam red tea"), "bubble green tea" (traditional Chinese: 泡沫綠茶; pinyin: pào mò lǜ chá), and "pearl milk tea" (traditional Chinese: 珍珠奶茶; pinyin: zhēn zhū nǎi chá). The oldest known bubble tea consisted of a mixture of hot Taiwanese black tea, small tapioca pearls, condensed milk, and syrup or honey. According to the contested originator from Taichung, many variations were created, the most common of which is to serve the drink cold rather than hot, the tea type being frequently replaced. First was the bubble green tea, which uses jasmine-infused green tea instead of black tea; big tapioca pearls were adapted and quickly replaced the small pearls. Peach or plum flavoring appeared, then more fruit flavors were added until, in some variations, the tea was removed entirely in favor of real fruit. These fruit versions usually contain colored pearls (and/or "jelly cubes" as in the related drink taho), the color chosen to match whatever fruit juice is used. Flavors may be added in the form of powder, fruit juice, pulp, or syrup to hot black or green tea, which is then shaken in a cocktail shaker or mixed with ice in a blender until chilled. Cooked tapioca pearls and other mix-ins are added at the end. Different flavorings can be added to bubble tea like some widely available from fruits: strawberry, green apple, passion fruit, mango, lemon, watermelon, grape, lychee, peach, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, banana, avocado, coconut, kiwi, and jackfruit. Other popular non-fruit aromas include taro, pudding, chocolate, coffee, mocha, barley, sesame, almond, ginger, lavender, rose, caramel and violet. Today one can find shops entirely devoted to bubble tea, similar to the juice bars of the early 1990s. Some cafes use plastic dome-shaped lids, while other bubble tea bars serve it using a machine to seal the top of the cup with plastic cellophane. This allows the tea to be shaken in the serving cup. The cellophane is then pierced with an oversize straw large enough to allow the pearls to pass through.

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