Tea is easily one of the top beverages consumed all over the world. This mass popularity of tea can be due to the health benefits it provides, and it can be consumed hot or cold, anywhere, and anytime in the day. This has led to the creation of many variations in different regions of the world.
Another tea-based beverage that has been gaining a lot of attention, especially on social media platforms, is bubble tea. Its popularity has soared beyond its origin country, Taiwan. The global bubble tea market has experienced massive growth, majorly due to social media influencers.
Although bubble tea is made by blending tea with milk and all the other ingredients, it is not exactly considered tea. There are some significant differences between regular tea and bubble tea.
What is Tea?
Tea is an aromatic drink made by mixing the cured leaves of Camellia Sinensis in hot or boiling water. These plants grow in select countries like China, India, Japan, and Sri Lanka. They are beneficial to our health as they provide very small amounts of minerals, such as magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, potassium, and sodium.
They are available in multiple variants and the taste, color, and aroma of the tea may differ, depending on the region it was grown in. While one can find thousands of teas around the world, they can be put into six main categories: green, purple, black, oolong, white, and Pu-erh.
Green Tea is one of the most popular teas in the market as it is helpful in weight management. It has a light green color with a milder taste as compared to the other type of teas. They are made by harvesting the green tea leaves and immediately steaming or pan-frying them after the harvesting process.
The green tea market has been proliferating with the growing health conscious of people around the world.
Purple Tea is a relatively new kind of tea, and it has not been much time since this tea was launched in the market. They are rare as they are only available in Assam, India and Kenya, Africa. This tea is very low in caffeine but very high in antioxidants.
Black Tea is the tea most people will know about as this is one of the most popular breakfast blends in English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast. Black tea has the highest level of caffeine compared to other types of teas, around half of the level in coffee.
Black teas are produced by harvesting the tea leaves and wilting them then lightly crushing them into smaller pieces. The tea leaves are then turned brownish black in color by fully oxidizing them.
Oolong Tea is a partially oxidized version of tea. There are different types of oolong tea and are cultivated from a special variant of the tea plant which is cultivated for many years to give it different flavors. The oolong tea leaves under oxidation depending on the type, some might may undergo full oxidation like black tea.
White Tea goes through the least amount of processing before being dried and packaged. They contain very low levels of caffeine and have a mild flavor. They go through a minimal level of oxidation.
Pu-erh Tea is an aged and partially fermented type of tea, and they are quite similar to black tea as they contain a similar amount of caffeine. They are produced by ageing them for several years to bring the rich earthy flavor.
By now we can understand what makes tea and how the tea leaves are usually made.
On the other hand, bubble teas are made by blending tea, milk, fruits and fruit juices, and tapioca balls are added afterwards. They are not like our usual tea that are made by natural products and contain least amount of additive.
It is not exactly a healthy drink as it offers 300-400 calories and in terms of minerals and vitamins, they are close to zero. The tapioca pearls alone can contain over 100 calories. They are full of sugar and starch, which mainly comes from the pearls or tapioca balls.