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Getting to Know the Popular Refreshing Bubble Tea Drink

People's ears will perk up when you mention "bubble tea" or "boba drinks."

While the drink originated in Taiwan, where there are bubble tea shops on practically every corner, it quickly expanded to neighbouring nations such as Japan, South Korea, and China, and then to the rest of the globe, including the United States, in the mid-1990s.

While most Westerners are unfamiliar with bubble tea, it is getting more popular.

This article will run you through everything you should know about bubble tea.

Understanding Bubble Tea

Bubble tea is a Taiwanese iced tea with a layer of chewy tapioca balls on the bottom.

Bubble tea is a fun and tasty drink that consists of a tea base blended with milk, fruit, flavoured syrups, and tapioca pearls.

While some tea shops utilise the same plastic dome-shaped covers as Slurpees, many bubble tea places worldwide have begun to provide it in a sealed cup. A machine closes the top of the cup with plastic cellophane, allowing the tea in the serving cup to be rapidly shaken and spill-free until you're ready to drink it. Simply use your straw to puncture the cellophane seal.

Why Is It Called That?

This beverage is known by many other names, including bubble tea. It is also known as milk tea, pearl tea, tapioca tea, boba tea, boba nai cha, froth milk tea, momi milk tea, and various other names.

Contrary to popular belief, the moniker “bubble tea” does not refer to the ”bubble-like” tapioca pearls found at the bottom of the cup. Instead, it refers to the bubble foam on top of the drink. "Bubble tea" was created without the use of tapioca pearls initially.

This drink was often made in Taiwanese speciality restaurants by mixing the ice, milk, tea, and sugar in a cocktail shaker, resulting in a lot of frothy foam. The same procedure is used to make bubble tea, but with the addition of pearls/boba.

The Meaning behind Boba

In Chinese, the word boba is a mix of the words bubble and huge, which when combined means "big breasts" or "buxom lady." Their characters directly translate to "boba milk tea," which is loosely related to "bubble milk tea" when used to describe the drink. This typical English translation refers to the variation with the large, 1/4" tapioca pearls.

Where Do Tapioca Pearls Come From?

Tapioca pearls are most often found in tapioca pudding and are manufactured from cassava root starch. Cassava is a South American tuber with a nutty taste. This root vegetable has become popular as a major food staple in the developing world because it has approximately twice as many calories as potatoes (mainly from carbohydrates and sugar) and provides a lot of energy.

If you thought its lack of nutrition was terrible, consider this: raw cassava may be poisonous. Tapioca starch must be detoxified before consumption owing to high quantities of cyanide, a toxic chemical that can induce headaches, nausea, vomiting, and even paralysis when consumed.

Different Colours

The wet cassava starch is sieved to create the tapioca pearls. Once dried, it is rolled into little balls. The hue of the pearl changes depending on its constituents. White tapioca pearls are made entirely of cassava root. 

The brown ones include cassava root, brown sugar, and potentially harmful food colours such as caramel colouring—a colouring found in soda that contains an artificial type of phosphorous that has been shown to drain calcium from our bones.


Bubble tea is a refreshing and unique beverage that has recently become popular. It is made by combining tea with fruit or milk and then adding chewy tapioca pearls. Bubble tea can be enjoyed hot or cold and is an excellent choice for those looking for something different to drink.

Are you looking for bubble tea in London? Square Bubbles offers high-quality bubble tea and other refreshing beverages to the UK. Check out our menu today! 

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