Talk Boba

Where Does Bubble Tea Come From?

Over the last few years, the U.S. has seen lots of bubble tea shops and as a result bubble tea is growing extremely popular amongst many. Thousands of bubble tea orders are made daily and new shops are popping up constantly. But how did this all come to be? Where does bubble tea come from? What is bubble tea’s origin? These are questions you’ve probably asked yourself before, and today we are going to answer these questions for you!


Where does Bubble Tea Come From?

If you’ve ever visited Taiwan you’ve probably noticed that there were a lot of bubble tea shops. One might even say that bubble tea to Taiwanese people is what coffee is to Americans. 

But why is that? Why are there so many bubble tea shops in Taiwan?

Well, that’s because bubble tea is from Taiwan! It originated in Taiwan in the early 1980s from a small tea stand.

Back then, tea stands were set up outside of elementary schools in Taiwan so that when the kids came out they could enjoy a refreshing cup of tea. There would be lots of different vendors all competing with one another selling essentially the same product. So in order to differentiate themselves, one tea stand owner decided to add different fruit flavorings to her tea and this was a major hit! The kids loved it and the competition followed suit. Next thing you know, lots of tea stands were now selling this unique fruity tea creation and this was the creation of “bubble tea”!

Why is it called Bubble Tea?

Well, it was called bubble tea because of the appearance of the tea. Adding fruit flavoring to tea meant that the tea and fruit mixture had to be shaken up very well in order to maintain a balanced taste. After being shaken so vigorously the tea would form bubbles in the drink, which is why people called it “bubble tea”.

So although many might think that bubble tea is called bubble tea because of the tapioca pearls, it was actually named bubble tea even before anyone added tapioca pearls to the tea!

So when was boba or tapioca pearls introduced to bubble tea?

Boba or tapioca pearls were put into bubble tea not too long after the creation of “bubble tea”. It was in the 1980s when Liu Han-Chieh introduced Taiwan to boba pearls in iced tea.

The addition of tapioca pearls to iced-tea was actually not done purposefully. It is said that Liu Han-Chieh’s product development manager poured tapioca pearls from a Taiwanese dessert, called fen yuan, into her Tea for fun and drank it. After doing so, others tried doing the same and loved it. This is when it became clear to Liu Han-Chieh that he had to start selling boba pearls with iced tea, and that was the creation of modern bubble tea!

That concludes this article! We hope that you enjoyed this article and learned something cool today about bubble tea’s origin! Now whenever someone asks where does bubble tea come from, you can tell them that bubble tea originated from Taiwan!

What was your favorite part of this article? Did you find anything particularly interesting? For the Talkboba team, we were mind blown to find out that bubble tea was called bubble tea way before tapioca pearls were added to the tea! Let us know what you thought was the most interesting thing down in the comments! 

Learn some recipes for home!

*Being a part of the Amazon Associates Program, Talk Boba may or may not receive support from the audience clicking the links listed on our site. Sponsor this article.

Talk Boba is the largest and most engaged boba community. With over thousands of readers and boba lovers engaging with us across many platforms, we strive to spread boba and the culture it’s brought with it. We’re here to just talk about boba, duh! And occasionally drink boba while doing so, join our newsletter below.

Braganza Tea

Located in Portland, Seattle and Olympia metro areas, Braganza is there. They’re the next level bubble tea you’ve been looking for. Milk tea, fruit tea,


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *