Top 20 Bubble Tea Recommendations & History of Boba


Bubble tea or boba milk tea is the first to come to mind when on the topic of Taiwan! It has been an indispensable part of Taiwanese victual for three consecutive years. Whether it be Taipei, London, New York, Singapore or Tokyo, Taiwanese bubble tea outlets can be seen all over the streets, proving that they have swept the world.

Invented in the 1980s, bubble tea comes in many different variations other than a beverage, including sandwiches, pizza, ramen, and cosmetics. Bubble tea is not only the favourite tea drink of Taiwanese, but also the new emoji of 2020. According to a recent study, the bubble tea industry is expected to reach a staggering $4.3 billion by 2027.

珍珠奶茶歷史 Bubble Tea history

What is Bubble Tea?

The History of Bubble Tea

The earliest origins of Taiwanese bubble tea can be traced back to the 1940s. There are two different versions, but either pick, they both definitely come from Taiwan.

The first is that after working as a bartender at a Japanese izakaya during World War II under Japanese domination, a Taiwanese chef opened a tea shop in 1949, specialising in unique hand-cranked teas made in cocktail shakers. This rich and silky tea is topped with tiny bubbles and is known as bubble tea in Taiwan.

In 1986, the founder of Hanlin Tea House saw the traditional Taiwanese snack – tapioca balls, in the Tainan market. On a whim, he put the tapioca balls into the bubble green tea. The white tapioca balls in the golden green tea looked almost translucent, but white in the centre, much like a pearl necklace.

Later, he tried to add larger black tapioca balls to the milk tea, which are rich, smooth and chewy. It was quickly loved by the public and pioneered what we know bubble tea or boba milk tea to be today.

Another founding story of bubble tea comes from the chain store Chun Shui Tang. At a staff meeting in 1988, just for fun, the first cup of bubble tea was made by pouring the tapioca balls into Assam tea.

The battle for bubble tea supremacy has intensified over the years. The founders of both stories even fought a 10-year lawsuit over the invention of bubble tea. The feud ultimately ended in a disappointing but amicable end in 2019. A Taiwanese court has ruled that bubble tea is a drink that anyone or any store can make.

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In the heart of bustling cities, where life’s rhythms whirl, there’s the enchantment of Bubble Tea. Pearls, like secrets, nestled in tea’s tender embrace, sips of dreams swirling amidst the symphony of flavors.


Tea Classroom – Bubble Tea

What are boba or pearls (tapioca balls)?

Bubble tea or boba milk tea is a beverage formula that originated in Taiwan, made by adding milk to various teas as the base, followed by adding the iconic “pearl”. The main ingredient of the pearls is tapioca, the appearance is glossy black and the size can vary. Later, many pearls of different colours were extended, but the most original is black, which makes it particularly conspicuous in milk tea.

Pearls or babos can be added to any drink, some people will add it directly to black tea, while others will add it to juice. Although they are all called pearls, there are different names for each size in Taiwan. For instance, larger pearls are called “boba” (in Taiwanese), but when combined with small pearls in the same cup, it is called “hùn zhū”.

Bubble tea has become such an important symbol of Taiwanese culture that the Taiwanese even celebrate April 30 every year as National Bubble Tea Day. The beverage’s outsized place in Taiwanese food culture has also spawned by-products like pearl tea ice cream and bubble tea ramen.

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珍珠奶茶Bubble Tea

Top 20 Must-Drink Bubble Tea in Taiwan

One must try all kinds of Bubble Tea in Taiwan! Taiwan’s bubble tea shops can be said to be the most densely populated country in the world. Although every bubble tea shop sells bubble tea, each has different characteristics. For example, some focus on brown sugar pearls, while others focus on white jade pearls, and even colourful pearls. Let’s take a look at some special Taiwanese hand-cranked bubble tea shops!

1.Wushiland – Boba Bubble Tea | 五十嵐 波霸珍珠奶茶

Wushiland is one of the oldest chain stores in Taiwan and the most famous drink is a mixture of boba and bubble tea. At Wushiland, you can choose your favourite tea base. The most popular in summer is definitely black tea with ice cream and boba.

2.TP TEA – Tieguanyin Bubble Tea | 茶湯會 鐵觀音珍珠奶茶

TP TEA is a bubble tea shop famous for Tieguanyin tea, and you can often see their stores in underground Department Stores in Taiwan. If you like strong tea flavour, then TP TEA’s signature Tieguanyin bubble tea will definitely be your number one!

3.KEBUKE Tea Co. White Bubble Tea | 可不可紅茶 白玉珍珠奶茶

KEBUKE Tea Co. is a specialty store based on black tea. The pearls paired with black tea, which can relieve tiredness, are white. White pearls are more viscous than black and have a softer texture when chewed.

4.Truedan – Brown Sugar Boba Fresh Milk Tea | 珍煮丹 黑糖波霸鮮奶茶

The specialty of Truedan is the brown sugar boba flavour with fresh milk. The drink has the aroma of brown sugar and the elastic taste of pearls. It is a choice for those who do not drink tea but want to eat pearls! However, there is no sugar level adjustment for this drink.

5.Milksha Pearl Black Tea Latte | 迷客夏 珍珠紅茶拿鐵

Milksha is famous for its Pearl Black Tea Latte, which is like a poem of pearls, blending honey-scented pearls with a unique fresh milk tea latte. This beverage is highly popular, with a rich tea flavor and silky milk fragrance, like savoring a poem of texture and taste.

6.Chun Shui Tang Bubble Milk Tea | 春水堂 珍珠奶茶

Chun Shui Tang is renowned as the originator of bubble milk tea, known for its high-quality pearls. This cup of bubble milk tea brings a fresh feeling, reminiscent of first love, and focuses on making high-quality tea beverages, each sip being a unique interpretation of bubble milk tea, leaving you enchanted.

7.Gong Cha Black Sugar Pudding Pearl Latte | 貢茶 黑糖布丁珍珠拿鐵

Gong Cha’s Pearl Latte achieves a harmonious blend of tea and milk, with dense pudding and flavorful pearls, all brewed in rich black sugar. It offers a unique taste experience, like attending a magical concert.

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8.DaYung’s Bubble Tea | 大苑子 珍珠奶茶

Dayuan is known for its fresh fruit teas, but don’t forget its exquisite bubble milk tea, seamlessly combining milk tea with chewy bubbles. This tea surprises with every sip, like embarking on a journey of texture; it’s a must-try delicacy.

9.Chatime Taiji Bubble Tea | 日出茶太 太極珍珠奶茶

Chatime’s signature Taiji Bubble Tea is meticulously crafted with black pearls and taro balls. This tea is full of layers, like a unique movie, offering different flavor experiences with every sip, leaving you in rapture.

10.Presotea Panda Bubble Tea | 鮮茶道 熊貓珍珠奶茶

Presotea’s Panda Bubble Tea is a feast for the eyes and taste buds, with caramel pearls and white jade pearls creatively combined. Besides the delicious tea, this beverage is a delightful visual treat, as if attending a captivating performance.

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11.CoCo Fresh Milk Pearl | Coco都可 鮮乳珍珠

Coco Fresh Tea & Juice is known for its fresh milk tea and chewy pearls, offering various flavors of pearl milk tea, including classic milk tea and rich cocoa. The silky texture of fresh milk tea and the rich milk aroma combined with pearls are like a gentle melody.

12.Tiger Sugar Black Sugar Pearl Milk Tea | 老虎堂 黑糖珍珠厚鮮乳

Tiger Sugar is famous for its rich black sugar series of drinks, with a slightly mild but rich aroma. The pearls are soaked in the sweetness of black sugar. This tea, like a poem, perfectly interprets the sweetness of black sugar.

13.JOHN TEA COMPANY White Pearl Brewed Latte | 約翰紅茶公司 白珍珠煮濃那堤

JOHN TEA COMPANY is known for its high-quality black tea, offering a variety of black tea options, with the White Pearl Brewed Latte being a recommended choice. Each sip is full of black tea flavor, paired with rich pearls, like savoring a precious artwork.

14.Sharetea QQ Taro Milk Tea | 歇腳亭 QQ手搗芋頭奶

Looking for a different kind of milk tea? Sharetea’s QQ Hand-Mashed Taro Milk is based on a rich hand-mashed taro paste, combined with fresh milk and honeyed pearls, offering an ultimate fusion of aroma and texture. Taro enthusiasts must not miss this unique delight.

15.Heytea Black Sugar Jade Pearl Fresh Milk | 喜茶 黑糖翡翠珍珠鮮奶

Heytea is renowned for its specially crafted black sugar sauce and fresh jade milk tea. This tea is like a beautiful poem, with rich black sugar flavor and fresh tea aroma, creating a landscape with every sip.

16.Ching Shin Fu Chuan Pearl Milk Tea | 清心福全 珍珠奶茶

Ching Shin Fu Chuan is an old-school bubble tea shop, loved by both young and old. Apart from pearls, it offers a variety of different toppings like grass jelly, pudding, and more, catering to your diverse beverage preferences. It’s a drink that you won’t forget after trying.

17.Huada Milk Tea Huada Milk Tea with Pearls | 樺達奶茶 樺達奶茶加珍珠

Huada Milk Tea originated from Kaohsiung and has become an ubiquitous representative of milk tea. They use carefully selected black tea, oolong tea, and pu-erh tea, mixed with natural cane sugar and milk for three different flavors of Huada Milk Tea. It’s a delightful and rich milk tea that’s hard to surpass.

18.Wanpo Tea Shop Black Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk | 萬波島嶼紅茶 黑糖珍珠鮮奶

Wanpo Tea Shop’s black sugar pearl fresh milk is exceptionally delicious, with the rich aroma of black sugar blending with sweet fresh milk and soft, chewy black sugar pearls. It’s like a passionate love story filled with sweet memories. The only regret is that this cup of black sugar pearl fresh milk is only available in medium size, leaving you wanting more.

19.Ten Ren Tea 913 Milk Tea | 天仁茗茶 913奶茶

Among Ten Ren Tea’s beverages, 913 Milk Tea, Golden Fragrance Milk Tea, and Exquisite Tapioca Milk Tea are all popular choices. Among them, Exquisite Tapioca Milk Tea, made from heavily roasted oolong tea, stands out with its rich and delightful taste, leaving a refreshing aftertaste.

20.Guiji Pearl Red Oolong Fresh Milk | 龜記茗品 珍珠紅烏鮮乳

Guiji specializes in classic-style beverages, a rare find in Taipei. Their Sho-Sui Wang Li Chun, Starfruit Thunder Dream, and Red Pomelo Jade are treasures in the shop! The unique tea flavor of red oolong tea, combined with fresh milk and honeyed golden pearls, offers a refreshing and pleasant taste experience, like savoring a journey of fresh tea fragrance.

More Tea Shops in Taiwan:

Top 5 Recommended Tea Shops in Taipei
Top 5 Tea Shops in Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli
Top 5 Tea Shops in Central Taiwan
Top 5 Recommended Tainan Tea Shops
Top 5 Tea Shops in Southern Taiwan

Amidst the city’s bustling symphony, the first sip of velvety Bubble Tea is a voyage to serenity. Each tapioca pearl is a stolen moment, and as you sip, it’s like stardust dancing on your tongue.

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Hot Foreign Bubble Tea Phenomenon

The popularity of bubble tea has flowed from Taiwan to numerous nations. You must have never thought that drinks could be transformed into the following combinations. It can only be said that the popularity of bubble tea has made the world crazy.

  • Bubble Tea Turned Into a Meal

The Japanese add pearls to their ramen, and the combination of sweet and savoury can be said to be refreshing! Not only that, but the Japanese also add pearls to salads, and even make beer-flavoured bubble tea. “Pearl Omurice”, “Pearl Curry”, “Pearl Mapo Tofu” and “Pearl Cooked Rice” are some of the experimental dishes on offer from the Japanese.

  • Bubble Tea Cosmetics

The beauty brand COSMETIC PRESS and the bubble tea shop – THE ALLEY launched a joint cosmetics product “ARTISTARMAKE”, which is a bubble tea eyeliner and eyeshadow; Mistine, the No. 1 makeup brand in Thailand, launched bubble tea lotion, which has a faint fragrance of bubble tea on the body and a whitening effect. Taiwan’s Annie’s Way launched a bubble tea mask.

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Bubble tea is popular all over the world! ABoxTik products also goes to the world

The charm of bubble tea is popular all over the world. People from many countries know Taiwan and Taiwan’s tea drinking culture because of bubble tea. ABoxTik not only strives to launch impeccably presented boutique tea products, but also to provide knowledge-packed articles in Chinese and English about the fine tea products of Taiwan, and the history of tea in general.

ABoxTik strictly selects local teas and herbal teas from Taiwan, including Green Jade Oolong Tea, Dongding Oolong, Jinxuan Oolong, Dongpian Sijichun, Honey Red Oolong Tea and Yingxiang Oolong Tea etc. Welcome to ABoxTik’s official website to discover our range of Taiwanese tea and gift boxes on offer Now!