Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House Cold pearl milk tea—also known in the U.S. as bubble or boba tea--originated in the early 1980s. To be precise, Mr. Liu Han-Chieh invented bubble tea here in his Taiwan tea house. He came up with the idea of serving tea cold during a visit to Japan where he saw coffee served cold. In Taiwan, bubble tea is a foamy, cold black Chinese tea mixed with ice and sometimes milk. It does not include tapioca balls. Another guy in this shop invented pearl tea, which mixes tea with fresh tapioca balls and sometimes include milk. Tapioca balls can be added to any cold drink in this tea house for a small additional charge.
|ad for DIY Boba Tea at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan|
|entry at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan|
I found myself here for the do-it-yourself workshop that teaches you how to make both types of cold tea. My lesson began with making bubble black tea—the original cold Chinese tea. Using a precise recipe, we started with 70 cubic centimeters of strong-brewed black tea from Sri Lanka. To the shaker, we added ice over the top, so it was like a mountain, then poured 20 cubic centimeters of liquid cane sugar over the ice, added the tea, and closed the shaker. We then shook it forcefully, out and away from our bodies, for 33 shakes. The collision of liquid with ice creates bubbles--thus the name. We poured our liquid in a drinking cup and compared the foam with the other participants, then drank.
The second part of the lesson taught us how to prepare pearl milk tea, the shop’s best seller and my personal favorite. I adore pearl tea. First we compared the powdery, fresh grey pearls that this shop uses (they last only a few days in the refrigerator) with the hard, dried-out, toasted-looking pearls that many other shops use (they can last unrefrigerated for 2 or 3 years!). (It was interesting to learn that tapioca grows underground on the root of a tree. About the size of a yam, it is often called a tree potato.) For this concoction, an even stronger black tea is used so that the pearls don’t overpower the taste of the tea. The recipe is the same, except that 1 spoon of dried milk is added into the shaker with the tea and whisked until dissolved. After shaking the shakers like they are maracas, we pour the liquid over 2 teaspoons of tapioca balls and stir. Yum.
|set-up for DIY boba tea at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan|
|instructor Dora Cheng for DIY boba tea at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan|
|fresh tapioca pearls for DIY boba tea at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan|
|finished pearl tea at DIY workshop at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan|
After, we had the option of staying on for lunch, which we did. I ordered the #279 vegetarian handmade thin noodles, which were delicious and just the right amount of food. The most popular lunch item on the menu is #198, Kung-Fu noodles with minced pork and mushrooms. I accompanied my noodles with the #819 chocolate milk tea with pearls. The medium portion was huge and chocolatey, with chocolate shavings floating on top, and could easily have passed for a dessert. I shared it with others and still wasn’t able to finish it. The most popular tea here is the #6 pearl milk tea.
|#279 vegetarian handmade thin noodles at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan|
|#819 chocolate milk tea with pearls at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan|
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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers