From Taiwan to Australia – the story behind the bubble tea craze

Updated: September 2022

Unless you have been living under a rock, it is hard to miss how quickly this insanely popular drink has taken Australia by storm in recent years, with many international bubble tea chains setting up shop in every major Australian city.

Bubble tea, also known affectionately as “Boba” by its legion of fans, has exploded over the past decade, spurred on by cities like Melbourne’s significant Asian populations. Hundreds of bubble tea outlets from across the world have sprouted all over our capital cities, spoiling fans by choice.

DIY bubble tea

The History of Boba Tea

While the origin of Bubble Tea is hotly debated, it is widely agreed that the Boba culture started in the late '80s. Milk tea was already well-known beverage in Taiwan, as tea was the most popular drink in East Asia.

Shaved ice and tapioca balls were considered common desserts in Taiwan at the time. At some point, someone thought to combine all these three popular ingredients into one drink, which gave us the iconic milk tea as we know it!

The “classic” Taiwanese bubble tea is made up of tapioca balls on the bottom, followed by a layer of shaved ice, and milk tea to fill out the rest of the drink.

Bubble tea evolved over time as it grew more popular throughout Taiwan. Night market stall owners started introducing boba with fruit powders and syrups (the actual fruits were too expensive and went bad quickly).

The topping choices expanded beyond tapioca balls to include elements like grass and almond jelly, red beans and pudding. Eventually, the milk in the milk tea was swapped out for non-dairy creamer, giving the drink its smooth, sweet and creamy taste.

DIY bubble tea

These days, bubble tea continues to evolve in both taste and texture- the most recent trend that blew up in Asia is brown sugar bubble tea, which uses natural brown sugar and fresh milk instead of plain sugar and creamer.

The consistency of tapioca pearls is super addictive. When prepared correctly, the pearls should not stick together. The texture should not be too hard or too soft. In fact, the perfect texture of tapioca pearls is almost similar to fresh gummy bear!

Tapioca pearls served in stores are usually black but can sometimes be white or transparent depending on the ingredient used to make it. White and translucent pearls are made of tapioca starch in its natural form. The black pearl is made of tapioca starch or cassava root, brown sugar and caramel which lends it its colour.

DIY bubble tea

How to make bubble tea at home (it is actually really easy!)

When the cravings hit at home, ordering bubble tea via food delivery services can really add up! Why don’t you try to make your own bubble tea to enjoy from the comfort of your home?

Asian Pantry’s easy bubble tea starter kit contains everything you need to create your own bespoke bubble tea. This DIY bubble tea set has all you need to make the original milk tea with pearls - a CLASSIC, the one that started it all!

It is so easy and convenient to prepare the tea base with the delicious DeDe instant Boba Milk Tea packs. Our DIY pack comes with a choice of pearls and a selection of mixed flavours jelly cubes too. So, it is really up to you to mix and match your favourite flavours and toppings! Our bubble tea set also comes together with the extra-wide bubble tea straws.


Cook Tapioca Pearls

  1. Prepare water to boil in a pot.
  2. Put pearls into the boiling water.
  3. Cook over a low flame and stir until you reached the preferred chewiness. Drain the water.

Putting it all together

  1. Mix contents of DeDe instant Boba Milk Tea in hot water according to measurements on the packet.
  2. Place desired amount of ice into a cup.
  3. Pour in cooked tapioca pearls.
  4. Add toppings and choice of sugar to your desired sweetness. Stir until dissolved.

Grab one of these DIY Bubble Tea sets here and get started on this journey of making your own bubble tea at home. The best thing about our bubble tea kit is that you can tailor everything from the sweetness level to the amount of pearls and toppings according to your preference.

DIY bubble tea

We are keen to see your creations, so don’t forget to tag us on Instagram or facebook!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Featured products

Save 4%
AFCL Whole Abalone 425g FrontAFCL Whole Abalone 425g - (BBF: 17/01/2028)
Save 6%
Golden Ocean Dry Abalone in XO Sauce 170g FrontGolden Ocean Dry Abalone in XO Sauce 170g Back
Save 52%
Amoy Abalone XO Sauce 80g FrontAmoy Abalone XO Sauce 80g Back
Amoy Abalone XO Sauce 80g
$12.40 $25.99
Sold out