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Boba Bliss: Exploring The World of Boba Tea

Need a midday pick-me-up? A beverage to accompany studying? A sweet treat after dinner? Boba Tea covers all of the bases. 

History of Boba Tea

Bubble Tea, also known as boba tea, originated in Taiwan in the early 1980’s at a small tea stand.  Liu Han-Chieh came up with the idea of serving tea cold. It is said that this was influenced by iced coffee, but no one can say for sure.

However, the innovation in the form of tapioca pearls or “boba” did not come until 1988, stemming from the idea of combining a typical Taiwanese dessert called fen yuan, or sweetened tapioca pudding, with tea. Now, the tapioca pearls are a distinctive part of the drink. The result became an instant hit, and soon, other tea shops in Taiwan began to replicate the concept. The addition of tapioca pearls gave the drink its distinctive chewy texture, and eventually, different variations of boba tea with various flavors and toppings emerged. Boba Tea to Taiwan is what coffee or soda is to the U.S. 

Expansion of Boba Tea

However, it continued beyond Taiwan. The delectable and tasty beverage has become increasingly popular over the past few years in the United States. This is in part due to the expansion of consumers' horizons and willingness to try new things. In the place we call home, AKA Minneapolis, more than 20 cafes and restaurants serving boba tea have opened recently. The unique drink leaves consumers curious and craving new combinations. 

Supporting Local Businesses: Niko Niko Boba

The Fan Favorite among UMN students? Niko Niko Boba in Dinkytown. The menu ranges from fruity tea to milk tea to lemonade drinks, with options for adding inclusions like brown sugar pearls, popping boba, or jellies. There's something for everyone to get outside of their comfort zone and try a new combination, and your taste buds will thank you!

What goes into it?

1. Pick a base: tea, fruit juice, coffee

2. Pick a milk, if desired: milk, milk powder, soy milk, sweet cream

3. Pick flavoring: honey, taro, cocoa, brown sugar, sugar

4. Pick a texture: taro balls, popping boba, tapioca pearls, jellies 

And that is just the beginning!

Getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new can be intimidating. Feeling lost or don't know what to try? Here are some student’s favorite orders from Niko Niko Boba:

  • Signature Milk Tea

  • Roasted Hazelnut Milk Tea 

  • Tiger Latte

  • Honey Lemon Green Tea

  • Mango Dragon Sweet Cream

Boba tea captures the essence of culinary adventure, encouraging individuals to step outside their culinary boundaries and savor the diverse flavors of various cultures. As the craze for boba tea rises, it introduces enthusiasts to the rich and lively spectrum of Taiwanese cuisine. With every sip, enthusiasts embark on a flavorful expedition, uncovering new tastes and textures. Embracing boba tea isn't just about enjoying a refreshing drink; it's also about finding a deeper appreciation for the diversity of global cuisine.

92 views9 comments


Niko Niko is awesome


they actually called me the "Boba King" back in high school. True story!


I loved learning the history of boba! Great post!


Cool to learn the history of boba!


wocka wocka!

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