The New Bubble Tea Trend Plays Nicely With Others

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Photo via Boba Guys/NPR.org

Whatever name you know it by, it’s likely you’ve seen Bubble (or Boba) tea offered in your major metropolitan area before. The Taiwanese beverage, which originated as a sweetened, milky tea with chewy balls of tapioca drunk through a wide straw, became popular in the United States in the early 2000s on college campuses and in Asian neighborhoods. That trend largely died down until recently, but seems to be coming back – and this time, it’s picking up steam by joining forces with other trends, from speakeasy bars to horchata (the sweetened Mexican beverage made from steeped rice or barley).

As Andrew Chau, co-founder of the popular chain Boba Guys explains, “If we’re going to bridge cultures, we want to bring the best of the West and the best of the East.” Boba Guys aims to win over coffee lovers and adventurous foodies with combinations like coffee mik tea, horchata boba tea, and Indian Chai.

For a more a adult version, there is Boba 7 – the “Boba Speakeasy” behind Los Angeles restaurant Soi 7. There, owner Elton Keung makes cocktails like the “bobagasm” with Irish Cream, Kahlua and honey boba, along with a number of nonalcoholic versions. It seems clear that it’s only a matter of time before the East Coast gets their own bubbly bar.

It can be hard to build long term success on a single trend, but flexibility and reinvention allow those trends to go farther – and expand some palates along the way.

To read more, click here.

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