Bubble tea, also known as bubble milk tea, pearl milk tea, boba tea, bōbà nǎichá, or zhēnzhū nǎichá, has much disputed origins. In its most basic form, the drink is a blend of milk, black tea and sugar with a few spoonfuls of caramelised tapioca balls called 'pearls' or 'boba'.
A modern incarnation of a beverage said to be invented in the 1980s at Taichung tea house Chun Shui Tang, a brand that has since spread to other Taiwanese cities, as well as locations in Japan and Hong Kong.
A big part of bubble tea’s appeal comes from its versatility, as it can be served in a variety of flavours, both hot and iced, with chunks of fruit and jellies and most importantly, with different pearls.
In Taiwan, the pearls are described as QQ, which refers to the chewy/bouncy texture they create while you drink. Sipping on bubble tea is a unique sensation. For some, it feels weird at first. Often, it's described as feeling like eating and drinking at the same time.
What types of bubble tea are there?