This article was originally published in Reader’s Digest Magazine.
What is Bubble Tea, Exactly?, February 22, 2022
When bubble tea was first introduced to the West, you could get it only in cheery mom-and-pop shops in big-city Chinatowns and Koreatowns. And while Asians and Asian Americans have been drinking bubble tea (aka boba) for decades, this beloved Taiwanese drink has been steadily garnering global popularity. A bit of food facts trivia: The bubble tea market was valued at just over $2 billion in 2019 and is estimated to surpass $3 or $4 billion by 2027. But what is bubble tea? (You know, aside from your soon-to-be-favorite drink.)
Classic bubble tea is black tea brewed with milk and sugar, then poured over ice and tapioca balls. But it can come in an array of other delicious flavors, using a base of everything from green tea, chai tea or other loose-leaf teas, to fresh fruit juice, and featuring fun toppings like mochi.
With the added fun of slurping up sweet and chewy tapioca balls through a colorful fat straw, bubble tea is like a beverage and dessert combined into one aesthetically pleasing treat. For those who haven’t been inducted into the bubble tea fan club yet, it’s an absolute must-try.
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