Australians are going ga-ga for bubble tea, says Chatime, the largest bubble tea franchise in country, currently celebrating 10 years since it brought the addictive bubbly beverage Down Under. With 128 breweries now located in every mainland state across this wide brown land (sorry Tassie), and with plans to hit 150 by year’s end, Chatime is taking the wild and whacky world of bubble tea, which emerged in Taiwan in the 1980s, and making it mainstream.
Already a rip-roaring success in more than 30 countries, Chatime’s Aussie breweries are going off like a frog in a sock, located everywhere from shopping malls to University campuses, train stations to airports and on delivery platforms like Uber Eats and Deliveroo. But despite Chatime’s exponential growth in recent years, driven largely by millennials, 1 in 2 Australians remain in the dark about this tea-riffic trendi. While they may have walked past a bubble tea vendor or 20, exactly half of the Australian population still don’t know what bubble tea is.
1. The birth of bubble tea
Bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the late 1980’s, when a savvy food stall owner decided to combine tapioca balls or pearls (a common dessert at the time), with milky tea and shaved ice. It evolved from there as stall owners started introducing fruit teas, using syrups to add new flavour and expanding toppings beyond tapioca balls to include things like jellies, custard and red beans.
2. It has a bazillion names
Bubble tea is also commonly known as Boba Tea. (Boba being slang for “big-breasted” in Taiwan – referring to the round shape of the tapioca balls!) It is also referred to as Pearl Tea, Tapioca Tea, Boba Nai Cha, Black Pearl Tea, Momi Milk Tea and more.
3. The ‘bubble’ in bubble tea actually refers to the bubbles you get from shaking it, NOT the infamous tapioca pearls
Few people know that the ‘bubble’ in bubble tea comes from the act of shaking the tea during the drink-making process and the froth that forms at the top of beverage, rather than the spherical tapioca balls that have made the drink famous. If you watch a Chatime T-rista making a bubble tea, you’ll see them actually shaking the tea in a cocktail style shaker!
4. What-CHA talkin’ bout?
Chatime gets its name because “Cha” means tea in Taiwan. Despite the raft of ways you can enjoy bubble tea – milky, fruity, hot, cold, frozen or sparkling, the base of every bubble tea is, you guessed it, tea! At Chatime, loose leaf green and black teas are freshly brewed in store daily and include varieties like Jasmine, Assam, Oolong and Earl Grey.
5. Goodness gracious, great balls of tapioca
A bubble tea can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, but the traditional bubble tea is a milky tea with tapioca balls, or pearls in the bottom. As you slurp your tea through an extra wide straw, so too, do you delight in the chewy, slightly sweet little balls of tapioca. Tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava root that is naturally gluten-free and made into a flour that is rolled into edible, marble sized pearls. They are then cooked in boiling water until they become soft and kept in a simple syrup mixture to give them a slightly sweet flavour and remain chewy and ready for use. Chatime’s tapioca pearls are cooked in store every 4 hours to ensure the freshest, bubbliest balls ever.
6. There is no one, single way to enjoy bubble tea
From fruity and frozen, hot and cold, milky or fresh, there are more than 50 varieties to enjoy at Chatime and an array of “mix ins” to further individualise your bubble tea. In addition to the traditional tapioca pearls, you can add flavoured popping pearls (that burst in your mouth), jellies, custard, mousses, red beans and even aloe vera. And because bubble tea lovers tend to be a fun- loving, experiential bunch, Chatime also releases regular limited-edition flavours and mix-ins each year for Aussies to burst their bubble with. If that’s not enough, you can customise your bubble tea even further at Chatime. You can tailor your sweetness level from the ‘regular’ sugar level, to half the amount of sugar, 30 percent or no added sugar at all. You can also choose how much ice you want in your cup!
7. You don’t have to add boba to your boba tea!
Though the mix ins are what make bubble tea such a taste sensation, they are strictly optional. You may prefer your bubble tea to be a simple fruity iced tea, or a milky hot tea with not a mix in to be seen! There’s no right or wrong with bubble tea, though the whole idea is to experiment and go where your mood takes you.
8. Vegans and other dietary requirements are sorted
All fruity iced teas are vegan friendly, as well as several of the frozen iced tea flavours including Mango, Passionfruit, Strawberry, Guava and Grapefruit. Chatime toppings are vegan-friendly too with the exception of the egg custard, aloe vera and mousse. All Chatime drinks and mix ins including tapioca pearls are also free from gluten and gelatin.
9. Feeling stabby?
One of the most oddly satisfying parts of the bubble tea experience is the straw stabbing ritual. Your bubble tea straw will be wide enough to slurp up your mix ins, with a pointy end on one end that you “stab” through the plastic seal that keeps your drink hygienically off limits to others. It will also ensure you remain spill-free should you choose to shake and sip later. (Prior to piercing with the straw, your sealed Chatime will remain water tight, even if you throw it in your bag and run!)
10. Bubble tea is a global phenomenon
Bubble tea is big business around the world. The global bubble tea market was estimated to be worth USD $1.89 Billion in 2018 and is predicted to almost double in size by 2026
So make the time to check out Chatime. Visit www.chatime.com.au to find your nearest outlet