Photo via Dayseye
I have been in a mood for Asian things lately - food and decor especially - and when I saw a classmate drinking Boba Tea the other day it got me to thinking about the sweet drink with those chewy little treats at the bottom. If you are not familiar with Boba Tea, also known as Bubble Tea or simply Boba, now is the time to hightail it to your nearest Chinatown, Asian restaurant, or Lollicup Tea Zone.
Boba Tea, originally from Taiwan, typically comes in two varieties - snow bubble and slush. Slush is just as it sounds, generally a fruity, slushy drink, whereas snow bubble is a dairy free but creamy, cold drink. Both slush and snow bubble teas come in an endless flavor assortment. The Lollicup I've been known to frequent has a big blackboard listing a range of options including: melon, passion fruit, thai tea, avocado, strawberry, lavender, yogurt, peach, chocolate, coconut, almond, green apple, and more. My favorite is lemon, which I order "half as sweet" for an extra tangy, refreshing snow bubble tea.
Ok, so far we're talking a pretty standard mixed specialty drink, but there's more. What makes Boba Tea so special is the tapioca pearl balls that are added to the drink and create a distinct texture experience. The balls are made from tapioca and carrageenan, a seaweed extract, which form chewy, gelatinous black globules - also called pearls. Don't worry, despite the unappetizing ingredient combination the pearls are sweet and delicious. You use a special, extra wide straw accommodate the tapioca pearls, enabling you to enjoy a sweet drink and a chewy snack at once.
But don't take my word for it - just look how happy my mom is enjoying her first Boba Tea.
On a bit of an aside, does anyone else remember Orbitz? It was kind of a mass produced Western version of Boba in juice form.