There’s no beverage quite like bubble tea: the chewy tapioca pearls, refreshing and thirst-quenching character, and seemingly endless flavours and variations are all part of what makes it so craveable.
Lately, we’ve been wondering what goes on behind the scenes of making bubble tea and what it would take to recreate our go-to orders at home.
Speaking to a bubble tea expert seemed like the first logical step, so we reached out to Tim Yang, the director of Van Cheong Tea. Yang’s company is a leading supplier of tea and bubble tea ingredients based in BC. Unsurprisingly, for him, making brag-worthy bubble tea comes down to sourcing the most authentic ingredients.
From November 8 to November 10, a virtual Taiwan Bubble Tea Industry Showcase hosted by the Taiwan Trade Centre in Vancouver will be taking place to connect bubble tea enthusiasts and prospective bubble tea owners with 18 top-tier Taiwanese suppliers of bubble tea products and accessories.
Whether you’re a bubble tea lover looking to stock your pantry with the most authentic bubble tea ingredients or considering launching your own shop, the event will provide access to all the tools you need to get going.
Taiwan is the birthplace of bubble tea, and today, it continues to be the origin of the world’s most high-quality appliances and supplies.
According to Yang, boba pearls were originally served as a hot dessert. Bubble tea, in turn, emerged during the hot summer months when, in search of some refreshment, the pearls were served in a cold tea drink. The rest, as they say, is history.
Despite it being a relatively new invention (it emerged in Taiwan in the ’80s), bubble tea has become an international sensation. Increasingly, people are endeavouring to make their own from home. Amid the surge in popularity, more and more bubble tea shops also continue to pop up on every corner to meet demands.
When we ask Yang why he thinks bubble tea has become so sought after, he tells us, “It’s a great combination.” The pearls make for a more stimulating, sensory experience than a regular drink, while its versatility keeps things fresh.
At the upcoming Industry Showcase, everything from jelly boba to milk tea powder, syrup, tapioca pearls, fruit syrups, coconut jelly, sugar cane fibres, and appliances like tea brewers and coffee machines will be on display.
The event is also geared towards helping local bubble tea shop owners address sustainability and the changing Canadian market. With the ban of single-use plastics in Canada at the end of this year, there will be an emphasis on eco-friendly packaging options, biomaterials, products made with minimum carbon emissions and resource waste, as well as plastic alternatives, like biodegradable straws.
“Taiwan is the birthplace of bubble tea. So whenever you want to source ingredients, you want them to come from the most authentic place. Authenticity is not something that can be easily copied,” says Kevin Ang, a project manager at Taiwan Trade Centre in Vancouver. “We make [bubble tea ingredients] with heart and with passion –and we really want to let the world know because food tells a story. I think through food, we can tell the story of Taiwan.”
To learn more about sourcing the best bubble tea ingredients, you can register for the Taiwan Bubble Tea Industry Showcase by clicking here.
If you can’t attend the Showcase, you can still browse quality bubble tea supplies, dried fruits, snacks, organic food, and noodles on Taiwan Trade Centre’s Taiwan Foods online platform and connect with suppliers at your convenience by applying here.