Bubble Tea Whats it all about
If you’re like us and spend a lot of time keeping an eye on the next big things in Leeds, you may have noticed a new trend emerge. A Taiwanese import that began in the 1980s and has become a staple part of South-East Asian cuisine, Bubble Tea is a fluorescent or pastel curiosity with many varieties and options to choose from. Naturally, we wanted to see what all the buzz is about.
Seeing some of the luminous liquids that jump onto my computer screen when I google ‘Bubble Tea’, I figured I’d dip my toe in with a familiar sounding drink. I’m in the mood for something sweet so Vanilla seemed like a safe start. I’m handed the drink and there’s a plastic seal on the top for me to pierce with an extra thick straw, designed to suck up some of the black chewy tapioca balls that are lurking about the bottom.
Mainly because of the combination of vanilla, milk and chewy spheres, it reminds me a lot of eating Golden Nuggets after they’ve been left to soak in your bowl for a good half hour – by no means a bad thing.
Mango with Passion Fruit Boba
My next sampling comes from Bubbleology on the ground floor of the Trinity Centre. It’s bright, clean, neon branding looks slick and I actually have to queue for 20 minutes before making it to the front.
I had thought that a fruit-based drink might draw out the tea flavour a bit more but still not sensing much of it. The boba is a fun sensation. Essentially, they’re little balls of floating juice which pop in your mouth and give you a different flavour to mix in. Mango and Passion Fruit make for a very sweet and sickly combination but the mix isn’t half bad in small doses.
Taro with Litchi
Disclaimer: At this point, it’s pretty clear that if you’re a big fan of a traditional, hot cup of Yorkshire tea, stick to that. Bubble tea won’t give you that hit of bitter herbiness you’re craving for. However, for readers looking for an interesting, warm weather alternative, then keep reading.
My third attempt was a Taro tea with Litchi boba, and this was great.
Taro looks a bit like a cross between a sweet potato and a coconut and comes out as a bizarre violet coloured concoction. It has a soft sweetness that really suits the milky blend. I’m very pleased with the Litchi boba mix too that gives the beverage an almost herbal quality.
What's becoming apparent, though, is that finishing these beverages isn't quite as easy it looks. A regular sized cup (500ml) is more than enough to fill you up and the abundant tapioca spheres soon give your stomach the impression you're about done. Not a drink to accompany a Sunday lunch, for sure.
Want to try it out for yourself? Here’s a list of the places you can get hold of Bubble Tea in Leeds City Centre:
- Iocha – Central Arcade
- Bubbleology – Trinity Centre
- Wasabi – Trinity Centre
- Café JoJo – Woodhouse Lane, next to the Unipol offices
- Sing Kee Supermarket and Café – Woodhouse Lane
- MooBoo – The Core
If you’re not convinced and think you’d be more at home with a strong cup of tea or coffee, you can pick some up from any of our Food Courts and coffee shops between lectures. Find out more about what’s on offer here.