Bubble tea has become a popular drink worldwide, thanks to its unique texture, refreshing taste, and customizable flavors. It's a drink, a snack, and a dessert all rolled into one. However, ordering bubble tea can be a bit intimidating for first-timers, especially with the vast array of options and choices available. Here are some tips and tricks to help you order bubble tea like a pro.
Understand the Different Types of Bubble Tea
Bubble tea comes in various forms, including milk tea, fruit tea, and smoothies. Milk tea is the traditional Taiwanese drink that includes black tea, milk, and sugar, while fruit tea uses a fruit-infused tea base. Smoothies are made with fresh fruit and ice, and may or may not contain tea. Today, some stores may offer innovative options like coffee, flavored milks, slushies, juice, soda, or even yogurts. If you're looking for caffeine free options, many stores offer alternatives now!
Know the Bubble Tea Vocabulary
When ordering bubble tea, it's important to understand the vocabulary that comes with it. Here are some common terms you might encounter:
- Pearl or Boba: The small, chewy tapioca balls that give bubble tea its signature texture.
- Topping: Any additional ingredient added to the drink, such as fruit jelly, grass jelly, or pudding.
- Sugar Level: The amount of sugar added to the drink, which can range from 0% to 100% sweetness.
- Ice Level: The amount of ice added to the drink, which can range from no ice to extra ice.
- Size: The size of the drink, which can range from small to large.
Choose Your Tea Base
When ordering bubble tea, you'll need to choose your tea base. Most stores will offer green tea, black tea, oolong tea, or even matcha with milk or no milk options. If you prefer a non-tea option, you can choose fruit tea or a smoothie.
Choose Your Toppings
The toppings are what make bubble tea unique and fun. Some popular options include tapioca pearls, fruit jelly, grass jelly, pudding, aloe vera, and coconut jelly. You can choose one topping or mix and match several for a more customized drink. Some stores may let you choose your own topping, while others may have set drinks with tea and topping combinations that can't be altered.
Decide on Your Sweetness and Ice Level
Bubble tea can be customized to suit your preferences, and sweetness and ice levels are no exception. You can choose from 0% to 100% sweetness, and no ice to extra ice. Some stores may even offer higher than 100% for sugar levels. If you're not sure what to choose, I suggest starting with 50% sugar and default ice. Some drinks may have set sugar and ice levels, as decided by the store for the "optimal drink." Keep in mind, some toppings are typically stored in a sugar syrup, which may also add some sweetness to your drink!
Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Recommendations
If you're new to bubble tea and not sure where to start, don't be afraid to ask the staff for recommendations. They can suggest popular flavor combinations or give you advice on what might suit your taste buds. Some stores may have drink combination recommendations already on their menu that you can use as a starting point.
Try Something New
One of the best things about bubble tea is the endless possibilities for customization. Don't be afraid to try something new and experiment with different flavor combinations. You might discover a new favorite drink that you never knew existed.
Ordering bubble tea can be a bit overwhelming for first-timers, but with this beginner's guide, you'll be well on your way to ordering like a pro. Remember to understand the different types of bubble tea, learn the vocabulary, choose your tea base and toppings, and customize your sweetness and ice levels. And most importantly, don't be afraid to try something new and have fun with your bubble tea experience.