Where Would We Be Without Bubble Tea?
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Where Would We Be Without Bubble Tea?

What I learned from my experiential tea time.

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Where Would We Be Without Bubble Tea?
The Hoya

It was only recently that I had the opportunity to experience the bubble tea craze for the first time. Friends were insisting that “it would change my life” and that I hadn’t lived until I tried a peach green tea with passionfruit poppers. At 21-years-old I was under the assumption that I had, in fact, “lived,” so I begrudgingly made my way to a bubble tea house to check out all the fuss. Here’s what I learned.

1. There are so many flavors and combinations that you’ll never end up ordering the same thing.

You can’t miss it. Right when you walk in you’re reminded about how poor of a decision maker you really are. You ask yourself if you should try something new while you already know the answer. Somehow, despite the inner monologue berating you for falling into yet another routine, you justify your monotony and order your favorite bubble tea concoction because, gosh darn it, what would I be without my bubble tea?

2. If you don’t know what bubble tea is, pretend that you do.

For your own sake, don’t tell people you haven’t heard of bubble tea before. I made that mistake and didn’t hear the end of it until I was practically dragged against my will into the tea house. Smile and nod if you’re surrounded by bubble tea enthusiasts and you just might be able to keep the little bit of independence that you have left.

3. Don’t ask the people working what you should order.

One of two things will happen. Either the person working the register will happily recommend something that you know you’d never order but that you’d feel bad for asking about and then disregarding their advice so you order it anyways, or they’ll judge you silently.

4. When in doubt, order a small.

By all means, order the biggest cup of tea they offer. Guess what happens if you don’t like it? Exactly—anarchy, a wasted drink, embarrassment, and banishment from your local tea house. Need I continue?

5. Want to enjoy your drink immediately? Get it cold.

You know when you order that cup of coffee in the morning and then make the horrible choice to consume scalding hot liquid just for the caffeine rush? They offer cold options for a reason. My record for drinking a small, cold bubble tea is one and a half minutes. It was quick, it was cold, and my tongue was spared.

6. If marble-sized rocks in your mouth don’t sound pleasing, stay away from the bubbles and poppers.

Maybe they’re not that big. Maybe I’m overreacting because the first time that I drank poppers I sent myself into a horribly traumatic coughing fit. Maybe I'm not meant to contribute anything to the world. Maybe I'll just stay in my room forever. Do you see what the poppers do to me?

7. If marble-sized rocks in your mouth do sound pleasing, still consider staying away from the bubbles and poppers.

I’m serious. Bubble tea scares me.

8. If you don’t order bubbles or poppers, then you aren’t really drinking bubble tea.

This is me. This might be you, too. Sure, we might not really be drinking bubble tea, but at least we can say that we’re trying to be like the cool kids. I’ll take my participation trophy and be on my way, thank you very much.

9. Don’t say “bubble tea” in the presence of overworked college students after 10 p.m.

Like a group of grazing deer disturbed by the slightest snapping of a branch, every head will snap up from textbooks, out of sleepy dream hazes, and look to the source of the utterance. Do you remember that scene with the seagulls from "Finding Nemo?" You’ve been warned.

10. Do not keep track of how many times a week you venture out for bubble tea.


This will just make you sad. The money that I’ve spent on bubble tea this semester could have supported my latest Amazon binge. Either way the money would have been spent, I just wish that I had more self-control.

11. Plain [insert any food/drink] isn’t “cool” any more.

Call me old fashioned, but I happen to love plain things. Unfortunately, everything nowadays needs more sauce, more pizzazz, more imagination. Walk into a bubble tea house and try to order a black coffee or a cup of plain green tea and you can feel the room get colder.


So let’s recap: take something like black tea and mix it with some almond milk and some tapioca poppers and, like magic, you’ll have booming business with a line out the door. Perhaps I’ve been too cynical towards the booming bubble tea craze. So let me take a moment and say that I appreciate the constant push for innovation. It’s not about the tea. It’s about the re-imagination. Clearly it worked because I keep going back. Well played, bubble tea. Well played.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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