There are lots of ways to freshen up your fizz, but few are as futuristic as the strawberry PopaBalls our members found in their July Bubble Boxes.
They may look strange, but actually these little balls of explosive flavour have their origins in a well-established drink from the east: bubble tea.
Bubble tea – also called boba tea or pearl tea – isn’t a single beverage. Rather, the phrase encompasses a number of drinks, hot and cold alike. In fact, bubble teas don’t even have to be tea-based; an entire range of fruit-flavoured varieties have sprung up on menus across Asia and beyond.
What makes a bubble tea worthy of the name are the balls of tapioca – called ‘pearls’ or ‘boba’ – clustered together at the bottle of the cup. But, while it might be easy to think that these are the namesake bubbles, actually the drink is named after the bubbles that appear as a result of the vigorous shaking involved in making a cup of bubble tea.
So how was this unusual drink created?
There are a few competing origin stories for what has become Asia’s favourite drink, but the most commonly accepted begins in the Taiwanese city of Taichung.
Here, in Taiwan’s third-largest city, was a teashop called Chun Shui Tang. In the 1980s its owner, Lin Han-Chieh, had just returned from a trip to Tokyo, where he noticed the Japanese habit of serving coffee cold. He wondered why the same couldn’t be done with tea, and asked his team to chew on the problem.
At one fateful staff meeting, Lin Hsui Hui, the teahouse’s product manager, was experimenting with one of these cold tea creations. He put a sweetened tapioca pudding into the cold tea, shook vigorously and one of the world’s favourite drinks was born.
Since then bubble tea has exploded in popularity, and now it’s easy to find this sweetened tea from Asia to Australia to the USA – in some cities you can even have it delivered to your door! And, as the drink’s popularity spread, the innovation started coming.
The PopaBalls in your Bubble Box are part of that innovation. They’re what’s called ‘popping boba’, or little balls of flavour that burst in your mouth. You can find these delightful little balls in all kinds of fruit flavours, including the strawberry in your box, as well as peach, blueberry, kiwi and mango.
PopaBalls are as versatile as they are delightful. Add them directly to a flute of sparkling wine to give your fizz a fun little kick, or to surprise and delight the friends you’re sharing a bottle with. But you can also use PopaBalls in milkshakes, cocktails, cordials and even desserts.
Ready to get started? Try this amazing cocktail recipe, which brings together a bottle of bubbly and your box of PopaBalls for a stylish drink that will bring out your inner Carrie Bradshaw. And, if you want to stock up on more PopaBalls, get 10% off your next online order at popaball.co.uk with code: LOVELYBUBBLY.