Bubble tea, also called "Boba" tea, is a beverage containing gelatinous tapioca pearls. It originated in Taiwan in the 1980s, spread to nearby East Asian countries, and migrated to Canada before spreading to Chinatown in New York, then to various spots throughout the West Coast.The word "bubble" refers to "bubbling", the process by which certain types of bubble tea are made, and not the actual tapioca balls. The balls are often called "pearls." Drinks with large pearls are consumed along with the beverage through wide straws. The distinctive characteristic of bubble tea is the presence of chewy translucent balls of pearl tapioca (that sit at the bottom of the glass). Usually the pearls are "large pearl," larger than the "small pearl" that is customary in tapioca pudding.
The pearls are prepared by boiling for 25 minutes, until they are cooked thoroughly but have not lost pliancy, then cooled for 25 minutes. After cooking they last about 7 hours. The pearls have little taste, and are usually soaked in sugar or honey solutionsmal straws.
Most often in todays shops the drink is served chilled or with shaved ice added.