Bubble Tea Blows Up

Examining the rise in popularity over the past few years of bubble tea

Kathryn Rekas, Contributing Writer

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Over the past few years, bubble (boba) tea has become a popular staple in the food industry. From traditional black milk tea with tapioca pearls to extravagantly-flavored syrups and multi-flavored tapioca mixes, bubble tea has become a crowd pleaser in the food industry. This Asian beverage has even earned its own national holiday which is celebrated on April 30. Although bubble tea was invented in Taiwan in the 80s, it has recently become more popular in the US, and the Blake community.  

 Whether this Bubble Tea phenomenon is due to the delicious flavor of the drink or its aesthetic and “Instagram-worthy” looks, Arlina Shen ‘20 is all too familiar with the online craze. Shen created her own Instagram account (@mnbobaqueen) with pictures of her unconventional bubble tea orders. 

The most unusual combination that she has tried is “watermelon and caramel” bubble tea. Shen is a frequent customer at Sencha Tea Bar. She enjoys Sencha because of “the different variations [and] 40+ flavors.” Shen’s goal is to “promote boba within Blake’s community, wanting [and] encouraging others to try new things. In fact, Shen’s goal may be achieved soon. 

One of the most popular tea bars, Sencha, has a very busy, yet focused atmosphere that can come from being located in the heart of Uptown. The atmosphere is ideal for both studying and socializing, many people can be found stopping by for a drink to go, while other customers sip and study for hours. The menu at Sencha is extensive, and customers have the option of customizing their drinks to their liking. You can choose the level of sweetness, type of tea, flavor concentrate (usually fruits)  tapioca pearls or jellies, drink size, and style (warm, blended, or iced). I ordered an iced green tea with peach concentrate, less sweetness and tapioca pearls. The regular pearls were just the right firmness but still chewy, and the tea was perfectly flavored and sweet. Additionally, I studied there for a few hours, and focusing proved to be very easy. Although Sencha takes a less traditional approach to bubble tea, they seem to have plenty of customers who enjoy the variety that is offered. 

Some may say that Bubble Tea is only popular because of its instagram appeal, or its difference to standard American drinks, but many love Bubble Tea simply because of its endless possibilities. Sencha, mnbobaqueen, and bubble tea itself, serve as great reminders to try new things and get out of your comfort zone. Perhaps Blake will soon incorporate bubble tea into its bake sales, so we can all try something a little different.

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