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Boba Tea Flavors You Simply Must Try!


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Boba tea, bubble tea, pearl milk tea, tapioca tea, or whatever you want to call it, is a new craze from Taiwan that has been steadily skyrocketing in popularity here in the United States. We are sure that by now, most of you have at least heard of it, but we’re willing to bet that a lot of you still have yet to try this fascinating, milky tea with sweet and chewy tapioca pearls at the bottom.

Hopefully this article will spark your taste buds’ interest in trying this extremely popular new drink craze.

What is the difference between boba tea and bubble tea?

Let’s start with getting some of the basic terminology out of the way. Bubble tea, boba and pearl milk tea are three different names for essentially the same thing. Technically, the term ‘boba’ refers to the jelly-like balls or tapioca pearls that are found mixed into the tea.

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Semantics aside, whatever you want to call it is up to your own personal (and sometimes regional) preferences. For instance in the United States, the East Coast seems to prefer “bubble tea” while shops and consumers on the West Coast tend to lean more heavily on calling it “boba tea”.

Regardless, it doesn’t matter if you’re sipping boba tea in Taipei, Hong Kong, or Boise, Idaho – there sure is a lot to love about this unique, sweet drink!

What is boba tea?

Originating in Taiwan in the early 1980’s, bubble tea (or boba tea) can refer to a variety of different chunky drinks with a chewy texture. The drink in its most basic iteration typically consists of black tea, milk, tapioca pearls and ice. These are mixed together and served in a wide-mouth cup, or more commonly with a distinguishably large straw.

While this explains the most basic form of bubble tea, numerous varieties and flavor variations can be purchased today. Bubble tea can be made with vastly different ingredients, such as green tea powder, fruit juices, matcha, or even coffee.

Boba is typically creamy, but a variety of dairy free milk alternatives are also commonly used. Many of the most popular bubble tea recipes will include either cow’s milk, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, heavy cream, and even condensed milk.

The most important piece of the puzzle is of course, the tapioca pearls. These squishy, rubbery jelly-like round balls explode in your mouth when you bite down on them and create a one-of-a-kind mouthfeel that is perhaps the most uniquely characteristic aspect of this beverage.

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The history of bubble tea

The boba pearls are made from tapioca starch that is cultivated from the South American cassava plant. This plant was imported to Taiwan from Brazil during the time of Japanese colonial rule (1895-1945). The boba pearls are boiled and then steeped in sweet, sugary syrup for a long time to create the dark, springy boba pearls everyone loves to slurp.

Up until the 1980s tapioca balls were a highly sought after topping for deserts like pudding, or shaved ice. Sometimes these would simply be eaten as a dish all by themselves when served with sweet simple syrup or creamer.

While the entire backstory of bubble tea is somewhat unclear, there are numerous urban legends surrounding the topic. The simplest, and perhaps most likely one involves a small tea shop owner, Liu Han Chieh who began experimenting with putting the rubbery pearls in milk tea. This quickly became popular with young people in Taiwan as it spread through street vendors and tea shops across the island.

Bubble tea is particularly notable for its signature texture. What the local Taiwanese people describe as “Q” or “QQ” ( meaning very Q) is an almost untranslatable term that is used to describe the texture of things like mochi, fish cakes, noodles and tapioca pearls.

The perceived quality of boba is strongly tied to its “Q” factor. This explains the soft, springy, rebounding texture of the beads that’s somewhat similar to the Italian term for cooking pasta, al dente. Q is not too soft, but not too firm and is somewhat difficult to perfect.

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The popularity of bubble tea quickly spread all throughout Southeast Asia in the 1990s. In the early 2000’s, the often picturesque, colorful beverage forged a strong presence for itself on social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. The social media clout of bubble tea soon began sparking the interest of people in Europe and North America.

Nowadays, it’s hard to walk down any street in a major U.S. city without running into a boba tea shop. With the seemingly endless variety of boba flavors available on the market today, it may cause a boba newbie to feel somewhat overwhelmed.

The various boba tea flavors available from Redstone Foods

Rico Bubble Tea

Now you can indulge in the sweetness of bubble tea, anytime at home or on the go with Rico Bubble Tea from Family Foods. These products bring the portable convenience of can to the world of boba teas.

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With flavors including milk, brown sugar, Thai tea, honey dew and matcha, these offer the best and most popular flavors that your customers will be searching for. These are all made in Taiwan and available to order in 24 count cases from our website here.

BobaVida Popping Boba

Next up are a brand new craze in the world of bubble teas. These popping boba drinks replace the tapioca pearls with juice-filled balls that explode, or “pop” with flavor when you bite into them. Containing sweet juice inside, the balls are made from an all-natural seaweed extract. This thin, gelatinous coating is easy to bite into and has more of a bursting texture than traditional tapioca boba pearls.

BobaVida makes popping boba in single-serve pouches that are incredibly easy to make. Just tear open the pouch, and pour it into your favorite drink. Each pouch contains a wide-mouth straw so you can suck up all of the tasty popping boba beads!

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BobaVida products are made in the USA and come in a variety of flavors, including: dark cherry, summer strawberry, blue Hawaiian coconut, super blue raspberry, juicy watermelon, pineapple orange, pink lemonade, mango passion fruit, super grape, all natural fruit punch, and my new personal favorite, super cotton candy!

These popping boba pouch mixes are the perfect addition to any candy shop, especially if you carry any fruit juices, teas or craft sodas. Now you and your customers can experiment with your own flavor combinations and see what you can come up with. One of our favorite discoveries was mixing the all-natural summer strawberry popping boba pouch with an ice cold vanilla cream soda. It makes for pure, creamy, fruity, fizzy bliss!

The popping boba pouches are served best with an ice-cold glass of any light colored soda, like a simple club soda. This will help you get the pure flavors of the popping boba by itself. They can also be a fun, fruity flavored addition to any type of sparkling wine or spritzer.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our look at boba tea and at least sparked some interest for you to try them someday. At Redstone Foods, we’re always searching for fun, creative and exciting new products to include in our extensive offering.

Contact us today, or sign up for an account with us online. Redstone Foods is your one-stop shop for all of your candy, snack, soda and bubble tea needs!