What is bubble tea?

MamaLan London: Bubble tea has significantly grown in popularity, from its humble origins in a tea shop in Taiwan to a global craze today. After its invention in Taiwan, Bubble Teas quickly spread across Asia and later in America and Europe. Social media did play a part in making it famous, and if we are being honest, the drink does look very appealing in all those different social media posts. The bubble tea market is expected to grow to $1 billion but you are probably wondering, what is Bubble Tea and why does everyone like it so much?

Let’s start with the name, now there has been some debate over how it got its name. Some have the opinion that the association of “bubble” came from the bubbly foam on top of the bubble tea, that’s created by the vigorous shaking of the drink to blend all the ingredients together. While others say, the distinctive tapioca pearls clustered at the bottom of the beverage look like large bubbles and hence that’s where the bubble in Bubble Tea came from.

However, in Taiwan it’s called, Boba Tea and Pearl Milk Tea, the word “boba” can refer to everything from iced tea with tapioca pearls or fresh juice loaded with fruity bits, the tapioca pearls are also referred to as boba.

Whatever you choose to call it, the drink in its basic form is black tea, milk, ice, chewy tapioca pearls all shaken together and served in a transparent cup. A fat straw is poked into the drink from the top, to accommodate the tapioca pearls grouped at the bottom of the cup.

The most interesting aspect of the drink are undoubtedly the tapioca pearls, they are made of tapioca starch. They start off as white and hard but once they are boiled and soaked into a caramelized syrup for hours, they are completely transformed into the black springy tapioca pearls that you see in your drink.

The taste of bubble teas and the texture of boba are addictive, they have a chewy consistency and are bouncy and fun to eat. In London, the Chinese Restaurant called MamaLan serves Bubble Teas too, they have a variety of flavours on their menu. The quality of MamaLan’s Bubble Teas can be measured by not just the taste but also by the texture of the tapioca pearls. The texture is difficult to capture but they get it just right, the boba isn’t too soft or too bouncy but has just the right amount of toothiness. In their Fruit Bubble Teas their popular flavours include mango, lychee, strawberry and peach and many more, all come with Jasmine Green Tea as the base tea and yes, they are loaded with bobas! You can grab your bubble teas at MamaLan Restaurant at Brixton Village and Clapham Common or their Kiosk in Canary Wharf.