Being a teenager can be very frustrating. I remember being sixteen and having nothing to do and no place to go after 9pm. My friends and I wanted a place to go and hang out at night but coffee was overrated and a lack of fake i.d. narrowed our choices slim to none.
That is until the bubble tea phenomena hit Ottawa virtually overnight. Suddenly there were brightly coloured venues lining Chinatown serving teenagers strange Taiwanese tea until 2am. My friends and I were so excited to have a late night spot where we could be parent free and claim our independence.
Our favourite bubble tea restaurant, Bubblicity, served a large variety of fruit based teas such as honeydew, lychee, and durian, all of which were served with black tapioca pearls lingering at the bottom. As the trend caught on more varieties were available including thicker milkshake teas and drinks with flavoured jelly replacing the traditional tapioca pearls. As it became more popular restaurants began installing karaoke machines and staying open 24 hours.
It wasn’t long until everybody and their grandmother was drinking bubble tea. When I moved to Toronto for college things were no different. We could even order bubble tea at our school’s cafeteria. When I first met Greg, fresh from NYC, he had never seen bubble tea and was amazed by its strange appearance and popularity.
The trend is beginning to catch on in America but there are very few bubble tea cafes in Dallas. Surprisingly it is quite easy to make at home so if you want to try this Taiwanese treat or have moved to a city lacking in bubble tea try making it yourself!
1 cup black tapioca pearls
2 green tea bags
½ honeydew melon
1 cup milk or plain soy milk
agave syrup to taste
In a large pot bring 10 cups of water to a boil. Add tapioca pearls and boil until plump; about 5 minutes. Cover and reduce heat to medium; simmer for 5 minutes. Drain tapioca pearls and set aside.
In the meantime, bring two cups of water to a boil and steep two bags of green tea. Place in the refrigerator until cool.
Peel and seed half a honeydew melon and chop into bite size pieces. Place in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Refrigerate until cool.
When tea and puree are cold, combine in a large jug. Add milk and sweeten to taste.
To serve place 2-3 tablespoons of tapioca pearls in a glass and top with honeydew tea. Drink with an extra large straw.