“What is bubble tea?” you ask.
Bubble tea (also known as boba tea) originates from Taiwan and is very popular in the Far East. Despite its popularity, many people in the UK are still unfamiliar with this beverage. So if you’re new to the craze, you may be wondering, what is bubble tea?
Bubble tea, a Taiwanese drink that originated in the 1980s, is a combination of tea, milk, and fruit flavours mixed with chewy tapioca balls known as boba. It’s become a popular drink in South East Asia due to its unique texture and flavour. However, in the UK, it’s still not as well-known and popular. One possible reason is that bubble tea shops were slow to expand outside of London, where it first gained popularity. Additionally, some people may not be familiar with the concept of adding tapioca balls to their drink, making it a less familiar choice.
biju bubble tea, london bubble tea
What Is Bubble Tea?
I was recently invited to Biju, a bubble tea cafe located on Old Compton Street in the bustling area of Soho, London.
During the visit, we participated in a bubble tea tasting session and gained valuable insights into the challenges of running a small indepdent business in one of the busiest areas in the country. Nick, the founder of Biju, entertained us with humorous anecdotes and stories about his experiences in Soho, keeping us laughing throughout the session.
The independently run bubble tea room offers a range of unique and tasty bubble tea flavours that are sure to satisfy any bubble tea enthusiast. From the classics such as jasmine and taro, to the more innovative blends like honeydew melon and yuzu, Biju has something to suit every taste preference.

Biju’s commitment to using freshly brewed tea and organic ingredients makes them stand out from their competitors. Their bubble tea has a controlled sweetness and is not as overpowering as most bubble teas, which are made from artificial powders filled with E-numbers. However, many people in the UK are still apprehensive about trying bubble tea.
Biju offers a great opportunity to try it out, with a buzzing atmosphere, friendly customer service, and a fun, quirky vibe. It’s not an intimidating place to try something new, so if you haven’t had bubble tea before, Biju is the perfect place to start.

How To Order


Firstly, you pick the tea and then the type of ‘topping’ such as tapioca pearls, jellies, popping bobas, chia seeds and even caramel pudding (the flan type).
They will accommodate to your taste so don’t be afraid to ask the Biji staff to help you create a bubble tea that suits your taste buds, or if you’re a bit more adventurous, pop in and ask for something off-the-menu.
There are actually no ‘bubbles’ in bubble tea. Classically, it’s Assam tea with a topping of black tapioca pearls which are is like a sweet, chewy jelly. Or you can try the new style boba which lightly bursts in your mouth. They contain fruit juices and syrups, and are quite the novelty to begin with! Biju also offer a range of flavoured jellies and even caramel egg custard pudding – it’s so yum!

The classic is Assam which is what I always go for – but only because I get overwhelmed with the menu and out of panic, I end up ordering what I am most familiar with. Which is why I accepting this invite to taste bubble tea because I wanted to learn more and taste different flavours. I met with a group of lovely food bloggers and we had a really good time at Biju. I woke up the next morning craving it, and to be honest, I’ve been craving a Biju bubble tea ever since!We were given a huge selection of hot and cold drinks to try including coconut water with lychee popping bobas and chia seeds, pistachio tea, honeydew, mango milk, Hong Kong style tea, taro milk, matcha, and black mousse tea which was my FAVE. It was sweet with a slightly savoury taste – very unusual and contains a secret ingredient but if you like flavours such as salted caramel, I recommend the the mousse teas, they’re great!

Biju is located at 45 Old Compton Street and the nearest tube stations are Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. See more on their website, including the menu, or follow them on Instagram.
The friendly and knowledgeable staff are happy to help customers navigate the extensive menu and make recommendations based on their preferences. Overall, my experience at Biju was delightful, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a refreshing and unique bubble tea experience in the heart of Soho.
Now you know what bubble tea is, will you give it a try? 🙂
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17 thoughts on “What Is Bubble Tea? | Bubble Tea Tasting at Biju

  1. This sounds like absolute heaven!! I've only ever had Bubbleology tea, so it would be great to try a new place that is maybe a bit healthier! I've got my eye on that Earl Grey milk tea and the Jasmine tea – mmmmm 🙂

  2. I've never tried bubble tea but we have quite a few places that sell it here in Nottingham, I definitely need to check it out!
    sirensandbells.co.uk x

  3. Bubble tea has been big here for a few years – I think it's actually on the decline now haha. I usually get aloe vera pieces instead of pearls!

  4. Apparently it's called bubble tea because it's supposed to be made in shakers, which incorporate air into the drink as it's shaken! But personally, I can't taste the difference between shaken and stirred. It's so strange to me when people aren't familiar with bubble teas, you can find a handful on every block downtown where I live!

    becky ♡ star violet

  5. i LOVE bubble tea!! Every winter I go back to Taiwan to visit my relatives, and I insist on having one cup every day. Probably not the best thing for my body, but where else can I get bubble tea this delicious?! Gotta have 'em while I can! Despite my love for bubble tea, I usually stick to the same flavors (rotating between original/black tea, almond, taro, matcha), and I always have tapioca pearls. asfdghjkl going to a bubble tea tasting event is my dream! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

  6. I had bubble tea for he first time last weekend. I went for a safe, fruity option with popping bobas and now really want to try the tapioca. I'm bookmarking this post so I don't forget to drop in here next time I'm nearby!
    Megan x
    London Callings

  7. I tried bubble tea for the first time when I was in college and I fell in love!! Outside of college areas, it's pretty hard to find in the US too, but I think there more places that sell bubble tea slowly popping up.

  8. I tried my first bubble tea at Biju and I absolutely loved it! I chose the cold earl grey with tapioca. I quickly went back a few days after because I was craving for it! I'm living in Geneva and I think that there's only one place that sells bubble tea, but I haven't gone yet.

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