Food for Thought: A Short History of Bubble Tea 9 years ago

Food for Thought: A Short History of Bubble Tea

We need food and drink to survive, to nourish us and to keep us in tip-top shape. But did you ever wonder about the history behind certain foods and drinks?

This week we’re bringing you the history behind bubble tea.


If you ever visit Taiwan you can't help but notice the amount of bubble teashops that are located around corner - This unique tea first came into prominence in the 1980s.

Like many of foods and drinks out there, the official origin is debated but one possible origin is the Chun Shui Tang teahouse in Taichung.

It’s said that a product manager called Ms Lin Hsiu Hui, poured sweetened tapioca balls into tea during a meeting and was well received by its attendees. The new product was introduced and became one a top-selling product.

“Everyone at the meeting loved the drink and it quickly outsold all of our other iced teas within a couple of months - even after 20 years on the menu, bubble tea makes up 80-90 percent of our sales and Taiwanese are proud of this home-grown drink,” Lin told CNN.


However, another tale that suggests different, is that of Tu Tsong-he in the Hanlin teahouse in Tainan

It's said Tsong-he made tea using white tapioca, resulting in the alternative title of “pearl tea”. He soon changed in favour of the black tapioca beads, to the version that we see most commonly today. This grew in popularity throughout the 1990s.

Have you ever tried this unusual tea?



Image via Wikimedia Commons/Liwe-photos Photography