Back in the 80s, Taiwanese folk would look forward to buying a cup of refreshing tea after a long, hard day of work or play. Tea stands were set up all over the city and would compete for business with the best selling tea. One concession owner became particularly popular when she started adding different fruit flavours to her tea. Soon, other concessions heard about the unique and popular tea, so they started to add flavouring to their teas.
In 1983 Liu Han-Chieh introduced Taiwan to adding juicy Tapioca 'pearls' into the cold fruit infused teas, which sat at the bottom of clear cups - thus creating Bubble Tea ! However, the name "Bubble Tea" doesn't actually refer to the Tapioca Pearls at the bottom, but instead to the tasty bubbly-foam at the top of the tea which is created when shaken. "Bubble Tea" is also known as "Boba" Tea.
Tapioca pearls are black, but can sometimes be found to be white or transparent. Depending on the ingredients of the pearl, the colour varies. The black pearl includes sweet potato, cassava root and brown sugar, which add the black colour. The consistency of tapioca pearls are like gummy bears. They are the size of a marble.
Bubble tea is also known as boba drink, pearl tea drink, boba ice tea, boba, boba nai cha, zhen zhou nai cha, pearl milk tea, pearl ice tea, black pearl tea, tapioca ball drink, BBT, PT, pearl shake, QQ (which means chewy in Chinese) and possible many others.