Tea with Bubbles!

14 Nov

Bubble tea has always been a popular drink in Asian countries but it wasn’t until recently that it was introduced to North American countries and now it has gained quite a lot of publicity and its popularity is increasing. It is such a fun and colorful drink it’s no wonder more and more people are drinking it!

Originating from Taiwan, legend has it that fruit juices were combined with chilled tea to attract young customers and in order to mix the drink you would shake it which resulted in “bubbles” forming and from that moment on, bubble tea was born! Bubble tea comes in an unbelievable array of flavors; pretty much any fruit you can think of as well as non-fruit flavors such as sesame, honey, chocolate, peanut, coffee, or even taro. Both black and green teas are commonly used for bubble tea and these teas contain antioxidants that have healthy effects on our body.

As the years went on, people continued to make changes and additions to this refreshing drink such as adding milk and black tapioca pearls. Tapioca pearls are made of mostly tapioca starch that is processed from the cassava plant and are generally black in color and around the size of a marble with a soft, yet chewy texture. It is important to cook the black tapioca pearl thoroughly or else the center of it will be quite hard and when chewing the tapioca, this can be quite unpleasant. If black tapioca pearls are not your thing, coconut jellies are also a popular addition to bubble teas. Coconut jellies are produced by the fermentation of coconut water which gels through the production of microbial cellulose. Coconut jellies are available in a variety of flavors as well such as lychee, green apple, strawberry, mango, or pineapple.

black tapioca pearls

Colored coconut jellies

 

As you can see, because of the unlimited possibilities of flavor and texture combinations, bubble tea can become very personalized and if you’d like you could get a different flavor every time! Because of the diverse nature of bubble tea, it is easy to accommodate different people who enjoy different flavors.

In terms of nutrition, black tapioca pearls contain quite a substantial amount of calories which is understandable since it is made of starch. For 1/3 of a cup of cooked tapioca pearls, which is a little less than the usual serving in a bubble tea, it contains 110 calories and 0 grams of fat (the good news!). The coconut jellies are generally seen as a healthier alternative to tapioca if you are concerned about ingesting those extra calories. Another modification you can make to your bubble tea to lower the calories and fat would be to opt for the bubble tea flavors that don’t use milk, milk power, or cream in them.

bubble tea 101

It is possible to make your own bubble tea as the bubble tea flavor powders and dry black tapioca pearls are available for purchase at certain Asian supermarkets. I’ve tried to do this before, but find it time consuming and would rather just go out and buy one. It is also difficult to cook the tapioca pearls to the perfect consistency and somehow homemade bubble tea just doesn’t taste the same to me!

Bubble teas can be made hot or cold although I’ve never tried a hot bubble tea before. I suppose it would be great to have a hot bubble tea in the winter but I’ve always just felt that bubble tea is meant to be cold and tastes best at this temperature 😀 . Personally, I don’t have a favorite flavor or combination. For bubble tea and coconut jelly flavors, I definitely go through phases and when I get sick of a particular one, I just move on to another flavor combination I’ve never tried before! This is what’s so great about it, you always get to try something new!

Hot bubble tea

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References:

http://www.bubbletea.ca/bbt_info/index.html   
http://www.bruceandclark.com/FAQ/The-Nature-of-Tapioca-Pearls
http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/e-fa-tapioca-pearl-2263083
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nata_de_coco
http://altmedicine.about.com/od/greentea/a/green_tea_benefits.htm

Pictures:
http://www.homestayglobal.com/View/NewsView.aspxID=390
http://www.bubbletea.ca/bbt_products/special01.html
http://www.lelong.com.my/tapioca-black-pearls-77922454-2011-03-Sale-P.htm
http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/330571836/nata_de_coco_coconut_jelly_green.html
http://www.steepery.com/whatis
http://www.blogto.com/toronto/the_best_bubble_tea_in_toronto/
http://skullbrain.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=40578&start=0

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2 Responses to “Tea with Bubbles!”

  1. theotherveggies November 17, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    I’ve had a bubble tea before! A cold one!
    Never new anything about it really. Very interesting post!

    – Amanda Woods

  2. healthierseason November 18, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    mmmm! I love Bubble Tea! Great Blog Fiona
    -Emily F. 🙂

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