bubble tea in singapore
Bubble tea has been popularly known as milk tea, tapioca milk tea, or boba tea. It is a tea-based drink served with ice and sweet tapioca pearls. The drink has been famous not only in Asian countries but also in Western countries, including the United States. In Singapore, bubble tea or milk tea has always been part of our lifestyle with the different types of tea leaves used, the variation of flavors, and toppings added. However, what is it about bubble tea that changed the aesthetic of the usual milkshake and iced coffee cups?
The Hard Truth about Bubble Tea
From the start of the pandemic, many stores including food chains had to mandate temporary store closing because of quarantine protocols. This led people to buy all necessary needs, especially essentials like food and water. Yet, for some, there are a few more important things to consider, and this includes bubble tea.
There are few stories of Singaporean residents who were alarmed after knowing that some food chains that sell bubble tea might close for a long time. The news has led the residents to rush into boba outlets to order bubble tea for them to store while lockdowns are ongoing. Because people are so drawn to bubble tea, it becomes a craving that is hard to stop. A go-to drink that turned into an “addiction”.
Addiction to Bubble Tea
Bubble tea started in Taiwan way back from 1624, when milk tea was first served with tapioca balls or “Pearl tea” as a Taiwanese drink. The history behind bubble tea in Taiwan is quite unclear. There are two different Taiwanese claiming to be its founder. Nevertheless, the craze started in Taiwan and eventually came into other countries like Hongkong, China, and then in Singapore in the 1980s.
The popularity of bubble tea in Singapore started in 1992 when a cafe, which they labeled as a “bubble tea hut”, served bubble tea mostly to Chinese speaking students who were then familiar with the drink from Taiwan. During those years, bubble tea was commonly served in a fancy glass for customers to dine in. Compared to bubble tea today, the drink doesn’t have as much variety of flavors and toppings. But sadly by 2003, the surge of bubble tea dropped in Singapore causing boba chains to permanently close.
A good story to relate this history is to a bubble tea shop owner Mr. Chua. He shared his story as he started selling bubble tea in Singapore. He mentioned how sales of bubble tea dropped by that year because of a lack of training and ideas about bubble tea.
He then shared how little they knew about making a quality bubble tea and how little they knew about a good strategy to market the drink.
It took years before the idea of bubble tea again rose in the market. After numerous innovative ideas to improve the quality of bubble tea, sales again began to rise in Singapore. The prices of Bubble teas changed after different developments depending on the customer’s appeal. For example, flavored bubble tea can be sold for SGD2 in some outlets, but can also be sold for SGD5 in other leading shops.
By 2018, the idea of bubble tea rose back into the market after adopting into modern society. With the help of social media, branding techniques, and product expansion, bubble tea once again caught the interest of Singaporean residents. An example of a Singaporean resident is Ms. Joyce Tan, a 48-year old woman who undeniably is a big fan of Bubble tea. Together with her husband Mr. Wong, both are frequent buyers of bubble tea. They mentioned that they purchase more than six cups of bubble tea to stock up for the week. Ms. Tan also mentioned how bubble tea helps her lessen her temper after she consumes the drink.
Another story is about Mr. Xavier Ng, after knowing that his long-time favorite bubble tea shop is about to close because of strict protocols, because of his worry, he immediately called the owner of the bubble tea shop he visits to make sure that the outlet would still be open when he got there.
Reason for the Craze of Bubble Tea
The bubble tea craze has once again swept across the country of Singapore. And the reason behind this craze is how convenient it is to purchase your desired cup of bubble tea with your favorite milk tea choice, among other things.
The convenience of ordering bubble tea online and delivery to the comfort of one’s home
Bubble Tea has also become a part of the available products that can be ordered online and be delivered at the comfort of your own home. Mostly now that dining in and ordering outside is restricted. Bubble tea containers are safe and durable for deliveries, especially now that some bubble tea shops have evolved into plastic lid cups that include plastic seals inside.
Choice of Sugar level available for people to choose can go to 100% or 150%.
Sugar levels are made to fit the taste of their customers. The more the merrier, as they say. This helps people pick the choice of their sweetness for their Bubble tea. The idea that people can customize for their personal touch to their drink, adds interest to people for them to purchase.
It is a convenient drink, easily available anywhere and everywhere.
At this moment, the number of bubble tea outlets has stretched around Singapore, making it accessible to everyone. Different brands and varieties of the product are currently being sold across the country, helping people not to miss their cravings for bubble tea.
Compared to the usual iced coffee, bubble teas are much cheaper. Considering, there are tons of flavors to pick on. Each cup of bubble tea costs as cheap as SGD2. Some outlets may cost more than other bubble tea outlets, yet are still considered cheap.
Various flavors to choose from
The original bubble tea is made from brewed tea leaves with milk, added with homemade tapioca pearls. Unlike now Bubble teas come in different available flavors of tea leaves like earl grey milk tea, Oolong milk tea, classic milk tea etc and toppings; flavors, which have become an all-time favorite. This includes oreo, matcha, cacao, burnt caramel, cheese, herbal jelly and so on.
Dangerous Health Risks from Bubble Tea
The fact is that regardless of how addicting bubble tea is, it can also take a toll on your health. Because of the number of sweeteners added to your drink, diabetes and a high amount of calories are not impossible.
People may think that bubble tea is a healthy choice to consume because it is obviously “milk tea”, however, the added syrups and flavors to the drink make it dangerous to your health. It can lead to several issues such as:
Drinking too much bubble tea may cause acne breakouts
Bubble tea is more than just sugar. It contains dairy, which is a common factor that can cause acne. Sugar has a high glycaemic index, resulting in increased insulin spikes, this also increases androgen secretion, inflammation, and oil production, which can result in severe acne conditions.
Tapioca pearls in bubble tea offer no benefits to skin and overall health
The boba or pearls that are used for sinkers on bubble teas are as bad for your health as usually sold candies. These are high in carbs and low in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fibers.
Breaks down collagen and elastin
Excessive sugar consumption results in an increase in insulin levels that triggers inflammation and oxidative stress. Too many carbs from bubble tea and tapioca pearls get attached to collagen proteins and fats in our skin in a process known as glycation.
Excess sugar in the bubble tea produces a huge spike of insulin, which helps stabilize your blood sugar levels. And as insulin spikes, so does inflammation. Inflammation also affects primary skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, and acne.
Weight Loss Issue: Obesity
Flavored syrup and sugar provide a high amount of carbohydrates. Bubble tea drinks contain a lot of sugar which can increase risks, such as overweight and obesity. According to Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB),the amount of calories in a cup of bubble tea will reach up to 350 calories. The pearls take up a third of the calories. Two cups of milk based bubble tea with pearls are about more than a quarter of the average recommended intake which is 1,800-2,000 calories for every person. Weight loss eventually will become an issue in Singapore.
To avoid the possible risks, there are a lot of alternative ways to still enjoy bubble tea without worrying.
- Ask for less or no sugar, including less flavored syrup and sweetened fruit purées.
- Ask for fresh milk as a substitute for non-dairy creamers.
- Ask for plain bubble tea without tapioca pearls or milk to reduce the calories.
- Avoid adding toppings that can add sweetness to the drink.
- Choose a specific day when you can enjoy bubble tea as a cheat day beverage
Bubble tea overall is now one of the comforting beverages people seek to remedy an awful day. It has been as popular as iced coffees that can be part of the circle while exchanging conversations with family and friends. On the other hand, too much of everything is wrong, even now. But then again, a cup of bubble tea won’t cause harm unless you are aware of your limitations. Hopefully, with the suggested alternative, it can help you to manage your weight loss journey and maintain a healthier weight.