There has been much buzz recently about the health benefits that come from drinking green tea. David Sandoval, who wrote The Green Foods Bible, says that whenever he does radio call-in shows or speaks at conferences, he inevitably gets asked a lot of questions about green tea.
Green tea comes from the same source as ordinary black tea, but is different in that its leaves are either steamed or pan-fried rather than fermented. It contains less caffeine than black tea and also some vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants known as polyphenois.
Green tea is touted as being a great addition to any diet but is especially powerful in warding against cardiovascular disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. It is even credited with breaking down fat and thus assisting with weight loss.
So how much of this wonder tea should one drink per day? Some say from two to 10 cups per day with most studies saying that five or more cups a day will achieve the greatest benefit.
It occurred to me that one good way to consume more green tea is to drink at least some of it in Bubble Tea. Therefore, for your health benefit, I am re-posting this Bubble Tea article!
What’s sweet, fruity, bubbly, and destined to rival your neighborhood double-tall-non-fat-no-whip-cream-mocha? Bubble Tea (also called boba tea, tapioca tea, boba nai cha, pearl tea, milk tea, bubble drink, zhen zhu nai cha, tapioca pearl drink, momi, momi milk tea, QQ or any combination of the above)! It’s a tea-infused milky or fruit-flavored cold drink that’s a drink you can eat.
Bubble Tea originated in Taiwan in the 1980s where legend has it that a local tea establishment attracted customers by combining fruit juices with chilled tea. According to Bubble Tea Supply, a Hawaiian company, elementary school children would look forward to buying a cup of refreshing tea after a long, hard day of work and play. Tea stands were set up in front of the schools and would compete for business with the best selling tea. Today, Bubble Tea is spreading quickly from Taiwan to other parts of Asia and to North America.
The bubble in Bubble Tea refers to two things. First, small bubbles are created since the drink is shaken in the ever-trendy martini shaker before serving. In addition, bubbles in the form of tapioca balls can be added to the drink. These chewy tapioca balls (or pearls or Boba) are derived from the starch of the cassava root, and they taste like a grown-up gummy bear. They are about the size of a marble and are high in fiber and full of minerals. They are generally translucent brown with a darker brown center, although you can get rainbow, green, and coffee pearls to spice up your tea. As you sip your drink, these bubbles travel up the wide straw. The texture, taste, and chewy sensation makes you want more!
There are a myriad of choices when you order a Bubble Tea. Do you want green or black tea? What flavor of Bubble Tea do you want? Some places offer up to 27 different choices. Do you want tapioca balls, and if so, do you want green, rainbow, or the regular black pearls? How about extra pearls? Do you want a slush, a sherbet, or an ice cream float version? Do you want to add small cubes of jelly, such as coconut or lychee jelly, for a different combination? You can even have it hot or cold. From university campuses to neighborhood cafés and upscale restaurants, bubble beverages have become the trendiest drinks on the menu.
Making Bubble Tea at Home
Once you're addicted, you may not want to venture out every time a craving hits. With a little preparation, you can make it in the comfort of your home. You will need tea, sugar syrup or honey, tapioca balls, flavoring (either in powder or syrup form) and creamer for the milky teas.
For the tea part of the experience, you can use green, oolong, or black tea, such as Darjeeling, Ceylon, or Orange Pekoe. (Black tea is commonly known in some Asian cultures as red tea.) Tea adds a depth, complexity, and smoothness to the Bubble Tea. Also, recent studies have credited tea for doing everything from preventing cancer to promoting a healthy heart and curbing arthritis. As well, green tea contains high amounts of powerful antioxidants called catechin polyphenols. All this healthiness offsets the calories, in my opinion!
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups water
Pour ingredients in a large pot. Cook (without stirring) at medium to high heat until the mixture boils. Remove from heat. Cool and store refrigerated.
You can buy the tapioca balls in several of the grocery stores in your local Chinatown. These stores also sell some of the more popular powdered flavoring (such as strawberry, mango, and lychee). You can also order the tapioca balls and flavorings from a Canadian online Bubble Tea website. As well, they sell the wide straws and cups if you need them.
7 cups water
1 cup tapioca balls
Bring water to boil. Once the water is boiling, pour in tapioca balls. Boil for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for another 30 minutes. Strain and rinse with water. Store in a container with 2 tablespoons of sugar syrup for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Now that you have the "mise en place" done for your Bubble Tea experience, you can put it together.
Recipe for Bubble Tea
¼ cup of hot water
¾ cup brewed tea, chilled
2 tablespoons sugar syrup
2 tablespoons tapioca balls, cooked
Shake the first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
Bring some water to a boil in a kettle. Measure 2 tablespoons of tapioca balls into a microwave-safe container. Pour boiling water on top of the tapioca balls to cover. Microwave for 1 minute.
Strain the tapioca balls and pour into cup.
Add some ice. Serve with a wide straw and enjoy.
For a bit of fun, add 1 ounce of rum.
You either love or hate Bubble Tea. The tapioca balls are delicious and chewy, and I always add more bubbles than I should since I love them so much. However, one friend I served it to passed it along to his wife since he found the texture of the bubbles disgusting. Send the bubbles my way ... I love them!
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