“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.
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!
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? 🙂