The Rise Of Boba Milk Tea

The Rise Of Boba Milk Tea

A love story of East and West culture.
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Oh, man. Where do I even begin? Those who know me know my love for boba is pure and eternal.

But of course, I’m not talking about own personal love story with my beloved. I want to talk about the love story of Eastern and Western culture.

For those of you who may not know the gift that is boba milk tea, allow me to introduce the two of you.

1. What is it?

Boba milk tea (or “bubble tea,” or “pearl milk tea”) is an up and coming star within the world of drinks in the US. It is a sweet, iced, tea drink with tapioca pearls in it. There is another variation of this drink that uses non-tea ingredients such as fruits, but we’re going to stick with the OG tea plus milk drink.

2. Where did it come from?

Supposedly boba milk tea came about through the genius of a man named Liu Han-Chieh at his tea shop called Chun Shui Tang in Taichung, Taiwan starting in 1980. He introduced it to the public in 1987. It slowly gained popularity with the locals and was even introduced on a Japanese TV show, which caused its name to become more widely known around Asia. Through the immigration of many Asian people, boba milk tea along with other Asian foods made its debut appearance in the US.

3. So where does the love story come in?

One could say the West has finally noticed the beautiful and modest East.

The drink has gotten more attention these few years. Though this drink was mostly invisible and unknown to non-Asian Americans, it seems to be on their radar now.

One reason for this may be Asia has truly influenced California. According to the 2010 US Census, Asian Americans made up 13.6 percent of California’s population; this percentage is still increasing. We are exposed to people, food and experiences we otherwise would not have been exposed to if we did not live in this diverse place.

Another reason may be that the perception of this drink has somewhat changed. Boba milk tea was mostly available cheaply at small, Taiwanese- or Chinese-owned tea shops or restaurants, places that aren’t attractive to non-Asian people.

Now, it has become more “artisanal” because of changes to traditional packaging, ingredients, and décor within the tea shops. Because of this new aesthetic, it appeals not only to those familiar to Asian foods but also attracts others who aren’t familiar to try it.

For example, according to an article done by NBC Asian America, the co-founders of Boba Guys made “the design and aesthetics of Boba Buys intentionally [to null] any prejudice of what an Asian tea shop should look like.” By making drinks with truly great ingredients such as real brewed tea and organic milk and charging a slightly higher price than at smaller tea shops, modern tea shops present themselves as hip tea joints.

Some have criticized Boba Guys for making hipster boba that “is not real [boba],” but the fact that most ingredients are the same (tea, milk, tapioca pearls) and that makes me think it is still “real.”

4. Western culture seems more inclined and enthusiastic to pull inspiration from the East now more than ever.

And the East is more eager to expose those of the West to its traditions. East truly meets West here in California and the mainstream is beginning to see the unique beauty and tastes of the West.

In the future, boba milk tea will become even more well-known and will probably undergo transformations, but it will always remain an East-inspired gift.

Cover Image Credit: anthrsnday.com

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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12 Items That Prove Fast Food Is A Gift From The Heavens

Stop pretending like you're too good for McDonald's fries.

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It is no secret that fast food is a controversial topic. Many people have critiqued fast food for its high level in calories and lowness in nutritional value, and recent stories of how the food is prepared has not helped its cause. But let's be real. Fast food is always delicious, and hits the spot at any day and anytime. Stop lying to yourself and pretending like you don't like it, because we all know you do. Easy, convenient, and tasty...what could be better? Well, if you're not convinced, maybe I need to jog your memory a little bit...

1. Chick-fil-A's waffle fries

chick fil a

Lmk why I'm always craving them the most on Sundays.

2. In-N-Out Burger's double-double cheeseburger

in and out

If you don't get animal style, we can't be friends.

3. Chipotle's burrito bowl

chipotle

One day, I hope to live in a world where guac isn't extra.

4. McDonald's chicken nuggets

mcdonalds

These may be the greatest things to ever exist (along with pretty much every other menu item at McDonald's). Pair these nugs with some sweet and sour sauce and you're good to go.

5. Wendy's frosty

milkshake

If you don't dip your fries in milkshakes, can we even be friends?

6. Culver's cheese curds

The best is playing the game to guess whether you're going to get a yellow or orange cheese curd.

7. Auntie Anne's cinnamon sugar sticks

auntie annes

I still have flashbacks to forcing my mom to buy these for me each time I went to the mall...my childhood weakness.

8. Portillo's baked mostacholi

The most delicious cheesy goodness you've ever tasted. Chicago knows what's up.

9. Potbelly's sugar cookie

Pro tip: Never check how many calories these are.

10. Panda Express' orange chicken

orange chicken

UGH. Does this one even need an explanation?

11. Krispy Kreme's glazed donuts

krispy kreme

Literally the best donuts in the whole wide world, don't fight me on that.

12. Papa John's pizza

papa johns

The best of the worst.

Drooling yet? I will always admit that fast food is delicious and definitely the best bang for your buck. Those who say it's gross, greasy, and dirty are clearly mistaken. It's time to stop lying to yourself and go hit the drive-thru. Treat yourself! Your stomach and heart will be its happiest, and the diet can wait until tomorrow. But of course, everything in moderation.

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