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Bubble tea brings a taste of Taiwan to Brockport

by Sarah Morris - Copy Editor
Tue, Feb 27th 2018 11:00 pm

The College at Brockport’s International Student Organisation (ISO) hosted its first Bubble Tea Social on Thursday, Feb. 22, in hopes of helping students become more aware of the organization and future activities it plans on hosting in honor of holidays and traditions  from all over the world. 

The International Student Organisation focuses on celebrating different cultures, and its last event, the Lunar New Year Celebration, focused on Asian food, crafts, games and horoscopes. 

The event saw far more people than there was room for. There were so many that the ice breaker at the start of the event, which took at least 10 minutes, had to be cut short for time reasons, leaving half the room unintroduced. Regardless, everyone stayed for the bubble tea, which some had to share.

The drink is made with hot or cold tea and milk, other sweet flavors, like fruit, complete with colorful “balls” at the bottom that give it its name. The said “balls” are actually tapioca pearls, which are cooked in boiling water and soaked in a syrup mixture to give it its chewy exterior and sweet taste. This “hip” drink is taking the world by storm, making it a mass growing food trend, not just in Asia, but over the world.

Bubble tea, or boba tea, is a drink invented by the Chun Shui Tang teahouse in Taichung, Taiwan, and became huge on college campuses across Asia during the 1980s. During the time it was invented, tapioca balls were a popular dessert, along with shaved ice, which was in the original bubble tea recipe. The term boba, which is a Chinese slang for breasts, caught on across Asia because of the spherical shape of the tapioca balls. The trend would be sold in food stalls, where groceries were sold. 

Bin Chen, co-founder of Boba Guys, which is known for selling bubble tea, believes the drink became popular because of the appealing colors and sweet taste. 

“There was always this joy growing up that every time you go to a boba shop, you can try something new,” Chen said. “When you are walking from stall to stall, if you look around, everyone is carrying some variation of boba, whether that’s a fruit drink or a milk tea.”

Brockport Junior Kellie Panek, who attended the event, was pleasantly surprised, saying it started out rocky, but took off smoothly shortly after, which the rest of the people there seemed to enjoy. Panek herself drinks bubble tea on occasion, so she was excited when her friend told her about the social event. Her and her friends shared the hot, sweet beverage during the slideshow ISO presented.

“I knew it came hot,” Panek said. “I’ve never had it that way before, just cold. It turns out I enjoy it both ways. If other events include delicious things like bubble tea, I’ll be there.” 

The International Student Organistion also conducts activities like Chinese calligraphy, Korean tea appreciation and many more that’ll celebrate cultures around the world.


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