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person holding a boba tea and wondering who invested bubble tea

Who Invented Bubble Tea?

Explore bubble tea's origins with Tea & Tea, from Taiwan's vibrant markets to global fame. Savor our Tiger Boba and TNT in Portland and Beaverton.

The Fascinating Tale Behind Your Favorite Drink

Welcome to the world of Tea & Tea, where every sip of bubble tea carries a story, a tradition, and a little bit of magic. Today, let’s embark on a delightful journey to uncover the origins of this unique beverage that has captured the hearts of many in Portland, Beaverton, and beyond. We’re not just a tea shop; we’re storytellers, narrating the tale of bubble tea’s inception.

The Birth of Bubble Tea: A Taiwanese Treasure

The story of bubble tea begins in the vibrant, bustling island of Taiwan in the early 1980s. Imagine the lively street markets, filled with the aroma of delicious foods and the sounds of chatter and laughter. It was here, in this energetic atmosphere, that bubble tea was born.

The traditional Taiwanese tea culture was already rich and deeply ingrained in the local lifestyle. However, it was the innovative spirit of this culture that led to the creation of bubble tea. But who exactly sparked this revolution?

The Two Pioneering Inventors

Chun Shui Tang (春水堂)

There are two main claims to the invention of bubble tea, each with its own charm and story. The first is associated with Chun Shui Tang (春水堂), a tea room in Taichung. Its founder, Liu Han-Chieh, was inspired by the Japanese practice of serving cold coffee and started serving cold tea. 

The idea was a hit, but the real game-changer came from Lin Hsiu Hui, the company’s product development manager. In a moment of playful innovation during a meeting in 1988, she poured tapioca balls into her tea, and the rest, as they say, is history.

first bubble tea shop Chun shui tang in Taiwain

Hanlin Tea Room (翰林茶館)

The second claim comes from Hanlin Tea Room (翰林茶館) in Tainan. The owner, Tu Tsong-he, saw white tapioca balls in the local market and was inspired to add them to his tea, leading to the creation of what he called “pearl tea.”

The Journey from Taiwan to the World

From these humble beginnings, bubble tea quickly spread throughout Taiwan and eventually made its way overseas. Taiwanese immigrants introduced this delightful beverage to the United States in the 1990s, first making waves in California. The drink’s popularity soared, and it wasn’t long before bubble tea became a global phenomenon.

The Evolution of Bubble Tea

Original bubble tea was a simple blend of black tea, tapioca pearls, milk, and syrup. Today, it has evolved into a diverse beverage with countless variations. At Tea & Tea, we celebrate this diversity with our wide range of flavors and toppings. From the classic Tiger Boba and TNT to our unique Oreo Taro Blend, we offer a modern twist to this traditional drink.

different varieties of bubble tea at Portland's top boba shop

The Cultural Impact of Bubble Tea

Bubble tea isn’t just a drink; it’s a cultural icon. It represents a blend of tradition and modern innovation, a symbol of culinary creativity. In places like Taiwan, it’s more than a beverage – it’s a piece of national pride and a symbol of cultural identity.

Why Tea & Tea Holds Bubble Tea Close to Our Hearts

At Tea & Tea, we are more than just a bubble tea shop. We are a part of a community that cherishes this drink’s rich history and cultural significance. Our stores in Portland and Beaverton aren’t just places to grab a drink; they are spaces where stories are shared, relationships are nurtured, and every cup of tea is a celebration of tradition and creativity.

Join Us in Celebrating the Legacy of Bubble Tea

We invite you to visit us at Tea & Tea, where every sip of bubble tea is a journey through history and culture. Whether you’re a long-time bubble tea lover or new to this delightful experience, there’s something here for everyone. So, come on in, choose your favorite from our extensive menu, and be a part of the ongoing story of bubble tea.