Free Press Journal

Bubble Tea: This Taiwanese twist to the beverage is a treat for tea lovers

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Bubble tea is infused in flavours with tapioca pearls or balls

The tea loving nation is never afraid to welcome millennial trends and a Taiwanese specialty is getting thumbs up with fair amount of business inclination, writes Tapapriya Lahiri

Tea is a quintessential beverage which has umpteen layers of health, goodness and wellness and Indians can never imagine starting a day without a cuppa. This indispensable energy booster beverage is following some vigorous trends in diverse flavours in hot and cold category. And one of them is bubble tea — Taiwanese specialty infused in flavours with tapioca pearls or balls. Unlike other distinct options or flavours, bubble tea is never stirred, it’s always shaken in a cocktail shaker to form air bubbles and allows you to adjust sugar according to your taste, ranges from 0-80 per cent.

The term bubble refers not to these additions but to the tiny bubbles in a tea that are formed due to strong movement in a cocktail shaker. This Taiwanese street staple specialty is made with varied base — green tea, masala tea, black tea and also milk variants. When bubble tea bars or cafes are garnering heaps of interest, young entrepreneurs are also getting hooked to this new aroma of freshly brewed beverage. Similarly, to draw attention of the Indian consumers, introduction of local flavours in bubble teas are calling the shots frequently. Tea being an incredible de-stressing beverage, it will be not out of place to mention that dynamic business persons are choosing it as a de-stressing business opportunity, too.


Feast of flavours

In bubble tea, natural flavours add a dash of distinct aroma which makes the beverage heady to some extent. Adnan Sarkar, founder, Dr Bubbles Chai Specialist, in Mumbai, says, “Especially in South East Asia, bubble tea is the most applauded and appreciated beverage and people enjoy it to the core in their daily lives. Therefore, I considered bubble tea as a healthy option and introduced Dr Bubbles here. India is immensely diversified when it comes to flavours and even expats pay a visit to India, just to research and put forth their finding on multitude of tangs and essences. Though, Dr. Bubbles is a concept borrowed from South East Asia, we have worked hard to introduce local flavours as well as make it appealing to the local palates and must-try is, passion fruit bubble tea with mango jellies.”

Similarly, to bring back the essence of tea when people are going overboard with coffee, Uday Mathur, Co-founder, Tea Trails says, “Gourmet teas from around the world is creating a buzz in Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad and bubble tea is one of them which offers exquisite range of piping hot and cold variants in mango, lychee and tapioca flavours. Interestingly, the Asian signature brew, tapioca bubble teas’ can be paired with various tea infused preparations like Burmese tea salad, tea marbled eggs and many more.”

“Bubble Teas’ at Dr Bubbles are made with a ‘base’ of green tea or black tea — rich in antioxidants — brewed and infused with natural fruit flavourings and frothy milk teas which is serving as a great alternative to milkshakes, and people described it as an impetus in an evolutionary scale towards a milkshake. We have made the flavours of bubble teas very approachable and palatable to the Indian consumers, keeping the authentic feel and the trend is already a rage in Mumbai and is considered much sought-after beverage which gripped almost all corners of the country,” says Adnan.

Syrup bubbles that add flavours to the teas

Brewing business

Before being introduced at bubble tea café, bars and lounges, Taiwanese street staple had undergone several researches and tasting sessions to woo local patrons. Some entrepreneurs have shifted their business inclination to introduce tea lounges and tearooms to give the beverage, a twist.

Mathur seconds that, “These tearoom lounges often engage consumers and tea enthusiasts in tea appreciation conversations to spread the word and to catch the fancy of this delectable and frothy infusion.”

While asking about the competition with traditional Darjeeling and Assam teas, Sarkar says, “We do not want to compete with the universally accepted and much-loved Darjeeling and Assam teas, but we want to make tea consuming, fun and approachable. And as per the market demand, we have aggressive expansion plans in pipeline in other cities and six more stores were launched in Mumbai.”

AK Srikanth, CEO of Alchemist Foods, introduced the largest chain of Asian Brand, Chatime in Delhi/NCR way back in 2012, to make people indulge in the aroma of bubble teas’. While acquainting with specialty bubble tea chain, Srikanth was quite affirmed about the growth of business and tea lovers interest will also grow at a same pace to try something different. Hence, he says, “We are constantly on our toes to experiment with flavours to draw tea-lovers’ attention and it is an enterprising business opportunity in recent times.”

Tea-appreciation

Enjoying a conversation over a cup of coffee is taking a tad back seat, when young and urbane tea lovers got to know the taste of Taiwanese street staple tea. They found it interesting, to indulge in private dates or a friendly chit-chat. Ishani Ray, a young and dynamic advertising professional from Mumbai, says, “Bubble teas are the most refreshing drink I had ever sipped. Its natural and seasonal flavours infused with green or black as a base, gives me energy re-start my evening after a daylong exhaustion.”