By William Baldie
For the last year or so the appearance of bubble tea has been increasing on social media platforms and the availability of the actual product has also escalated. It’s an intriguing concept that’s by all means not new to the world. The emergence of bubble tea in South Africa and its accessibility is fairly recent, but bubble tea has been around since the 1980’s. Originating in Taiwan, it can now be found all over the world and it seems its popularity is ever increasing.
So what exactly is bubble tea? Essentially it’s a tea based drink, but can also be a milk based drink that is most likely to be served chilled. Fruit flavours are incorporated in the form of fruit juice or fruit syrup and the gimmick behind the beverage is the flavour bubbles that are added. These “bubbles” are tapioca pearls that are often fruit flavoured. It adds an interesting texture and fun dimension to the tea drinking experience.
The Bubble Tea Company is fast becoming the place to grab your fix of bubble tea. They are situated in 6 venues around Cape Town, one store in Durban and one store at the Valley of Waves in Sun City. The Cape Town stores are always pumping as loads of people queue to satisfy their bubble tea cravings. Friendly and efficient staff assists by explaining how bubble tea works and how to match flavours.
The Bubble Tea Company offers an extensive variety of flavours that can be added to either rooibos tea, jasmine green tea, Ceylon black tea or oolong tea. There’s also a variety of flavour toppings to choose from – the toppings are the “bubbles” that make the beverage so unique. Once a selection has be made, your bubble tea is prepared right in front of you and then it’s sealed to minimise spillage while enjoying the refreshing drink. A large straw is used to sip the tea which allows the bubbles to pop into your mouth and release even more flavour during the drinking process.
Bubble tea is definitely an experience not to miss! The comprehensive flavour list makes for an interactive and fun experience – selecting first the tea variety, then matching the flavour with the topping you’re in the mood for. It’s easy to see what the craze is all about.
The Bubble Tea Company, n.d., What Is Bubble Tea?, viewed on 15 March 2014, from http://www.thebubbleteacompany.co.za/bubble.html
Tapioca image: Westend61, n.d., Tapioca sago pouring from wooden scoop, close up, viewed on 15 March 2014, from http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?contractUrl=2&language=en-US&family=creative&assetType=image&excludenudity=false&p=tapioca