From the Streets to the International Scene: The Humble Origins of MilkteaMarch 23 2022
Through the course of time, with special influence from the digital age and ongoing pandemic, we’ve seen the emergence of countless fads in the sphere of food. But just as soon as they rose to popularity, these crazes quickly lose their fire. In contrast though, there are those who have stood the test of time and proven to be more than just a scheme for quick glory. Case in point: Milktea/Bubble Tea/Boba Milktea/Pearl Milktea/Powdered Milk Tea. Whatever variant or moniker you prefer, you can’t deny how scrumptious it simply is.
There are many factors as to why milktea is still gaining much traction until this very day. First off, it is undeniably addictive. Each sip offers comfort with its saccharine flavors. Second, Boba’s versatility knows no bounds. Through the proliferation of Bubble Tea businesses, various iterations have already been introduced—creative flavors and combinations, toppings of all kinds, the use of different bases to cater to various markets and even changes in form like Chemag Milk Tea, a powdered milk tea version. Point is, there are many reasons to love this beloved drink. Which begs the question, who’s the genius behind this?
Genesis to Global Fame
The truth is, its exact origins are clear as mud. So, naturally, many theories revolve around the topic. Some say its the accidental creation of a tea house vendor who arbitrarily added tapioca balls to his iced tea merely because it resembled pearls. For others, its name alludes to the Chinese slang for breasts because of the boba’s spherical shape. Many countries and vendors have also claimed the innovation—from Hong Kong, China, to even Japan.
However, the most credible amongst all is Taiwan. It is theorized that the drink originated from a humble teahouse called Chun Shui Tang Teahouse* in Taichung with *Liu Han-Chieh at the helm and to thank. His invention dates all the way back to the early 80’s. Han-Chieh took inspiration from the way Japanese people enjoyed drinking cold coffee and started experimenting with cold tea. Driving his creative take on tea to be an even bigger hit, he added tapioca balls to his iced tea. The reception was massively positive and after that, the rest is history.
Despite it being an obvious innovation, it also comes as no surprise. This is because its home country is already well-versed with using shaved ice, tapioca balls and tea in their desserts and beverages. To a point that putting those together plus milk only made sense. It was a flawless combination that just worked. Eventually the streets and night markets were dotted with Taiwanese vendors who took on the lucrative business. It also became a mainstay in menus and a powerful influence in Taiwan’s food industries and pop culture.
Pretty soon, the concoction soon entered the international scene and effortlessly won the hearts of foreigners with its rich creamy flavors and bizarre yet delightful textures. In the Philippines, Pearl milktea took off when one of the major milktea players and the first milktea shop in the country opened up shop in San Juan City way back 2008. Since then, its legion of Filipino supporters have exponentially grown. Milktea has become a quiet yet strong staple. It has also become earned a spot in barkada hangouts, after-work meals, meriendas or days plagued with the scorching heat. Truth be told, milktea has become such a well-loved product that it can no longer be pinned to a specific event or occurrence, anytime and anywhere is relevant.
What came with the spread of milktea was not only the adoption of several titles but also countless evolutions—from fruit boba, to an expansion of toppings, swapping to healthier bases like oat or almond milk and like the aforementioned a change in form like powdered milk tea.
Surely devouring all that information must have gotten your mouth watering for some boba. Good thing with Chemag Milk Tea, you don’t have to go through the hassle of waiting and receiving your much awaited drink at an underwhelming, subpar temperature. Satisfy your cravings in a flash at home. Simply mix the powdered milk tea with cold or hot water and you’re good to go! You can utilize Chemag Milk Tea or you can also make it from scratch, too—whatever floats your boat!