Bubble tea is a Taiwanese national treasure. If you’ve ever tried it, you know why. It’s sweet, it’s unique, and most importantly it’s delicious.
If you’ve ever wondered how bubble tea got started, keep reading for a little history lesson.
Chun Shui Tang Teahouse
Bubble tea hasn’t been around that long.
It was created in the 1980s at Chun Shui Tang Teahouse. They had recently started selling iced milk tea, and it was a hit. Then one eager and curious employee, Lin Hsui Hui, changed the game forever.
The company was having a meeting and Lin Hsui Hui was getting bored. This boredom brought a crazy idea to their head.
The employee took a bowl of fen yuan (a Taiwanese tapioca ball pudding) and mixed it into their iced milk tea. It was delicious. Hsui Hui wasn’t the only one who thought so, either — the whole meeting enjoyed it!
From that moment on, the teahouse started selling this mixture as bubble tea. It was the Chun Shui Tang’s best selling product soon after.
At least, that’s what some people believe…
The Hanlin Tea Room
There’s actually a second possible origin story for bubble tea.
This one takes place at The Hanlin Tea Room in Taiwan. In 1986, teahouse owner Tu Tsong-he saw white tapioca balls at the market and found inspiration. He decided to invest in some and throw them in his tea, which he would then call “pearl tea”.
At some point, he decided black tapioca balls, honey, and brown sugar made for a better mix. Both variations still exist to this day, but the black tapioca balls seem to be the most popular.
Bubble Tea Takes Over
Bubble tea spread across Asia throughout the 80s and 90s. It came to North America with Taiwanese immigrants. They started including it in their restaurant menus and brewing it at home.
Los Angeles saw its first bubble tea restaurant open in the late 90s. It must have been popular, because soon bubble tea spread across the East and West coast, all the way to New York City. There are now many places to buy bubble tea in North America, especially in California.
Like a cup of coffee or a can of soda, bubble tea is a go-to drink for many. Restaurants love adding it to their menu and tend to go all out for it. They order custom plastic cups for it, and signature wide-tunnel straws perfect for slurping tapioca balls.
If you’ve never tried bubble tea, do yourself a favor. It might just change your life.
Cultural Boundaries Crossed
Bubble tea is a perfect example of why we need to be open to other cultures’ food and drink. Bubble tea is one of the most unique and amazing drinks of all time. Many people can’t imagine their lives without it!
It doesn’t matter where it came from, but it’s important to be thankful that we’ve been blessed with such an amazing beverage from such a far off place.
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