Bubble Tea: Everything You Need to Know (And How to Serve It Sustainably)
What Are the Bubbles in Bubble Tea

Bubble Tea

Bubble tea, boba tea, or simply “boba” — it’s a taste sensation that swept the nation in a tapioca-infused frenzy over the past few years. It’s only been sold en masse in the UK for a short time, yet it’s one of the most popular takeaway drinks on the market.

You might already know what it is, what it looks like and how it tastes, but we’ll be covering the basics of bubble tea, why it’s so popular and how to serve it with sustainability in mind.

What Is Bubble Tea?

Bubble tea is a drink made using tea, milk, ice and tapioca. It’s recently risen to popularity in the UK, but it’s been a favourite in Asian countries like Taiwan — where it originated — since the 1980s.

Boba tea, “boba” or pearl milk tea can be made in numerous ways to incorporate different flavours, making it an exciting beverage for consumers looking for something a bit different to their usual takeaway drink.

What Are the Bubbles in Bubble Tea

What Are the Bubbles in Bubble Tea

Bubble tea gets its name from the small spheres added to the drink — these are tapioca pearls. Typically dark in colour, although sometimes white or clear, they’re perfectly safe to eat and make the drink all the more interesting and flavoursome. They have a chewy consistency and range greatly in flavour.

Another reason for its name relates to the bubbles and froth that form on the surface of the tea when the drink is shaken — as is customary when serving boba.

Bubble tea is served in transparent cups with a large straw so that you get to enjoy the tasty tapioca balls as you drink. The pearls soak up the flavouring of your beverage, giving the bubble tea an intense taste of honeydew, lychee, mango, passion fruit, peach, plum or strawberry — whatever you fancy!

What Do You Need to Make Bubble Tea?

Thinking about selling bubble tea in the UK? You’re in the right place. We sell recyclable cups and lids and biodegradable cups perfect for bubble tea.

Bubble Tea Cups

Taking pride of place is a bubble tea cup. For this, you can use our eco clear cups made from PLA bioplastic, an eco-friendly and renewable material sourced from plants. Ingeo™ PLA has the same qualities and performance as plastic but can be commercially composted.

You must purchase a transparent cup for bubble tea so you can show off those flavoured pearls and ombre designs for the experts amongst us. That’s why bubble tea cups are commonly made from plastic. To avoid an environmental nightmare, we sell transparent cups without the use of plastic. They look and feel like plastic but are instead made from natural resources.

Note, as these are designed to be takeout cups, they aren’t reusable yet are still a perfect alternative to plastic cups.

Shop our eco clear cups here

Clear Cups

Bubble Tea Lid

To pair with your bubble tea cup, you’ll want to buy a matching lid. If possible, choose a domed lid rather than a flat lid or a lid with a sip hole. Our lids are made from the same sustainable material as our cups.

Shop our range of bubble tea lids

Bubble Tea Straw 

True bubble tea connoisseurs know that a suitable straw is key to serving the best bubble tea. Having a fat or a wide straw helps your customer retrieve those all-important pearls as well as to take sips of the delicious tea contents.

You’ll need to choose a straw with a wider diameter than on average. If an average straw is about 6mm in diameter, a bubble tea straw should be around 12mm.

You’ve guessed it — our straws are also biodegradable to help you build an environmental bubble tea package.

Shop our range of 12mm straws

Bubble Tea Cup Holder

As with any liquid product, you’ll need to offer a takeout cup holder to help customers transport several bubble teas at a time.

For this, you can use a classic carrier with space for either two or four drinks. Our version is made from cardboard completing your sustainable bubble tea vision.

Shop our cardboard cup holders

Want to create branded bubble tea cups? Check out our work.

How to Drink Bubble Tea

You can order bubble tea hot and cold — chilled bubble tea is by far the most popular.

If you opt for chilled bubble tea, the drink can be shaken or blended, much like an iced coffee. Like coffee, you should choose blended if you want a thicker consistency equivalent to a frappe. Most people will choose shaken as this is the authentic way to serve bubble tea. Remember, shaken bubble tea gives the drink its famous frothy bubbles and the tapioca pearls.

Bubble tea should be served with a wide drinking straw so you can suck the pearls through the straw. So long as you’ve been served bubble tea in the right way, you should be able to enjoy your experience by doing the following:

  1. Shake your drink — If your bubble tea is pre-packaged with a sealed lid, shake the contents to create that classic foam effect. Fresh bubble tea is often served in transparent cups.

  2. Stir with your straw — Continually stir the drink using your straw in between sips. This encourages the boba to rise from the bottom of the cup — you don’t want it all getting stuck at the bottom!

  3. Enjoy! — The joy of bubble tea is in the experience. Relax, sip away and savour the incredible flavours the tapioca pearls have to offer.

Related: The Best Packaging Materials for Takeaway Food and Drinks in 2022

where to drink bubble tea

Where to Drink Bubble Tea (In the UK)

In Asia, where bubble tea originated, bubble tea stands are a regular sight. You can pick up bubble tea at a local market or small town, but bubble tea is a little more scarce in the UK. You’ll likely need to visit a large city to enjoy your favourite cup of bubble tea. We’ve compiled a list of bubble tea locations to help you find your boba fix. 

Biju Bubble Tea — Soho, Westfield, South Kensington, Camden

Biju Bubble Tea is a London-based bubble tea brand. Biju has four locations so far in very different areas of the UK’s capital. Its refined branding and simple menu appeal to many city-goers looking for a refreshing break. 

You can choose from a small selection of fruit teas, milk teas and toppings, including signature biodegradable cups such as Matcha Milk Tea and Iced Honey Green Tea.

Bubbleology — London, Essex, Kent, Leeds, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Oxford

If you’re a bubble tea fan, you might have already heard of Bubbleology. They have a huge following, with over 69 sites across the UK, Europe and the USA. Bubbleology has a loyalty card system and several standalone shops. Bubbleology has broken the mould by even offering alcohol-infused cocktail bubble teas and fruit and milk-based originals. Paired with their bubble waffle offering, you can snack on an indulgent sweet treat while slurping on your favourite bubble tea. 

Visit Bubbleology

Cuppacha — Soho, Sheffield

Despite Cuppacha’s selective locations, they’re a real hit with locals. The Golden Chopstick Awards recognised their bubble tea in 2019 and you can get it delivered right to your door via Deliveroo. Select from insta-worthy decadent Oreo milk teas and signature ombre drinks. Snap a pic of your bubble tea and tag them on Instagram

Visit Cuppacha

Bobo Tea — Manchester, Sheffield 

Bobo Tea also pairs its bubble tea with waffles and frozen yoghurt with an extensive menu. You can find the Manchester branch in the upper mall of Manchester Arndale shopping centre. Transport yourself to the streets of Taiwan with authentic flavours such as coconut, red bean and jasmine — or sweeter dessert flavours like cookies ‘n’ cream or chocolate. 

Visit BoboTea

Bubble Tea: The Disposable Cup Low-Down

Bubble tea has been rising in popularity since 2011. As the bubble tea market continually expands, you might as well get on side with eco-conscious consumers. In fact, 85% of consumers have become more eco-conscious in their purchasing habits in recent years. 

Bubble tea tastes that little bit nicer when your cups are biodegradable. It’s worth investing in our range of sustainable branded takeaway packaging to drive sales, encourage repeat purchases and solidify your brand’s reputation. Need convincing? Just check out our blog on the importance of branding in packaging.

Want to serve bubble tea sustainably? Buy eco-friendly bubble tea cups, lids, straws and more in our online shop. Free UK delivery on orders over £100.

5 Vegan Takeaways That Will Blow Your Mind
vegan gyros

You can’t fail to notice the huge surge in demand for vegan food over the last 3 years.

Whether it’s popup food markets, big-chain supermarkets or local cafés, vegan food and substitutes can be found everywhere.

This surging market is still extremely buoyant, and, arguably, the demand is still higher than the supply.

This is great news for food retailers as it means they can diversify their offerings if they’re not already catering to vegan customers.

In many cases, the food outlet doesn’t need to be specifically vegan or even vegetarian.

Most vegan dishes can be served up by subbing in tofu and subbing out meat.

The key message of this article is that vegans too can enjoy fast food to go, hangover food, comforting stodge, carb day, cheat day, whatever you want to call it!

If you’re considering of offering some vegan dishes but aren’t quite sure where to start, here’s 5 spots that we think are nailing it.

Check out the following list of scrummy vegan takeaway dishes.

We seriously encourage you to try them and use them to inspire your own dishes!

vegan takeaway

Vegan Seitan Gyros – The Athenian – Bristol, London

If you’re in London or Bristol you must make time to grab yourself a Vegan Gyros from The Athenian.

A gyros (pronounced ‘yeer-ross’) is a traditional Greek street food item.

Carefully wrapped inside a soft Greek pita, seitan, a chewy protein-rich meat substitute is marinated with herbs, lemon juice and olive oil and served with vegan mayo, paprika-dusted fries.

It will change your life and leave you wondering how it’s not meat – try it with a bottle of stout!

vegan gyros

Mexican “Fish” Tacos – Club Mexicana at Pamela – London

As claimed on their website, Club Mexicana “make 100% vegan and totally banging Mexican-inspired street food”.

Club Mexicana are no strangers to the vegan street food scene.

Check out their tofu “fish” tacos and also expect heavily ‘guaced’ nachos, sweet bbq sauces, “cheesey” fries, crispy chipotle potatoes and so much more!


vegan fish tacos

Vegan Pizza – Picky Wops – London

So you follow a plant-based diet and you’re craving that stringy mozzarella cheese pizza scenario that you just know nothing else can satisfy…

A real dilemma? No! Why?

Because Picky Wops!

Picky Wops, your new best friend, is a vegan pizza joint based out of Fulham.

What makes them special is that they have a whopping menu featuring no less than 8 different kinds of vegan cheese!

Whether it’s coconut mozzarella or cashew nut camembert you can expect a pizza with plenty of meat substitute, like seitan, and all the veg!

Two words: go there!

vegan pizza

Fresh Falafels – GoFalafel – Manchester

For the freshest tasting lunch ever, be sure to check out GoFalafel when you’re next in Manchester.

Serving super-fresh and seasonal salads with their falafel using generations-old Middle Eastern recipes, GoFalafel have been dubbed as Manchester’s best for falafel.

Everything on the premises is entirely vegan, couple your order with one of their freshly juiced fruit and veg smoothies and you will be smiling and glowing the whole day!

vegan falafel

Vegan Sushi Burritos – Happy Maki – Brighton

Heading to the coast for the weekend? Fancy a trip to a pier?

Well, make sure it’s Brighton that you go to and while you’re there, head to Happy Maki for what is probably one of the most original takeaway ideas we’ve come across: vegan sushi burritos!

Freshly prepared, these beauties are extremely popular.

Open Tuesday to Sunday, Happy Maki combine avocado with raw and cooked vegetables to create a multitude of different textures along with herbs, spicy coconut and teriyaki sauces.

You simply have to check this place out and devour something totally different that’s totally 100% vegan.

Happy Maki make being vegan an absolute breeze!

vegan sushi burrito
9 Quirky Coffee Shops in London
Attendant Coffee London

Coffee is always at the forefront of our minds at Takeaway Packaging. We are always trying out new and exciting places to get coffee, so check out some quirky coffee shops in London that we’ve grown to love!

#1 Attendant

Attendant Coffee
Attendant Coffee

Attendant is a tiny, quirky coffee bar, situated in a restored Victorian public convenience. They serve breakfast and light lunch along with some great coffee.

Three Branches 

Fitzrovia | Shoreditch | Clerkenwell

Visit Attendant

#2 Look mum no hands!

Look mum no hands! offer breakfast, cakes and meals in a bike workshop, coffee and wine bar, along with big-screen cycling events.

Three Branches

Old Street | Lmnh Kitchen | London Bridge

Visit Look mum no hands!

#3 Coffee, Cake & Kisses | Fitzrovia

Coffee, Cakes & Kisses are an artisan coffee house, serving delicious food and drinks in a homely environment. Their mission is to help people have better relationships with themselves and others and to explore all aspects of them, however challenging or unusual.

Visit Coffee, Cake & Kisses

#4 Drink, Shop & Do | Kings Cross

Drink, Shop & Do is an eclectic, all-day café and designer store in an airy space that also stages evening classes. Some upcoming events include, ‘Pimp your Hipflask’, ‘Club Yoga’ and ‘Party Like It’s 1999’.

Visit Drink, Shop & Do

#5 Biscuiteers Boutique and Icing Café

Biscuiteers Boutique and Icing Café
Biscuiteers Boutique & Icing Café

Biscuiteers launched online in September 2007, with their mission statement ‘why send flowers when you can send biscuits instead? In October 2012, they opened the doors to their very first Biscuit Boutique & Icing Cafe in Notting Hill, followed by a second on Northcote Road in December 2014.

Two Branches

Notting Hill | Battersea

Visit Biscuiteers

#6 The Ship of Adventures | Hackney

This intriguing café is decorated like the inside of a pirate ship! Run by The Hackney Pirates, they offer light bites as well as children’s books and gifts.

Visit The Ship of Adventures

#7 Lion Coffee + Records London | Clapton

Lion Coffee + Records London | Clapton
Lion Coffee + Records London

Husband and Wife Chris & Mairead envisioned Lion not only as a place to hang out, drink the best coffee and browse vinyl, but also to capture the very essence of musicianship by hosting intimate performances and bespoke launch events. The shop interior was designed to create a relaxing and chilled atmosphere, it also doubles as a cocktail bar in the evenings.

Visit Lion Coffee Records

#8 Palm Vaults | Hackney

Palm Vaults is a unique coffee shop with heaps of character. Their décor incorporates hanging baskets an array of different plants. They offer light bites, vegan cuisine, cakes and great coffee. Please note – no laptops are allowed, and you can only pay by card!

Visit Palm Vaults

#9 Wilton Way Café | Hackney

Wilton Way Café | Hackney
Wilton Way Café

Wilton Way Café is a modest and contemporary coffee house serving breakfast and sandwiches, as well as hosting an on-site radio station!

Visit Wilton Way Cafe

Like this blog? Read all about our favourite coffee shops in Bristol here.

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Our Favourite Ice Cream Parlours in London 2018

We are really excited for Summer at Takeaway Packaging, so, here’s our rundown of ice cream parlours to visit in London over the Summer!

Marine Ices
Honey & Ginger ice cream, Forest Fruits sorbet? What’s not to love about Marine Ices! Marine Ices founder Gaetano Mansi opened his first ice cream parlour in Camden, 1931. He had a desire to bring the taste of real Italian Gelato to London.
Visit Marine Ices

Gelupo opened its first branch in 2010 and second in 2015. With creations like ricotta and sour cherry or saffron and vanilla ice cream, you’re sure to stumble across something new.
Visit Gelupo

Ruby Violet
Ruby Violet create bespoke ice cream & frozen treats in London. Their 2 branches in Tufnell Park and Kings Cross have proven a popular choice this year. Order their tasting menu to try six of their flavours.
Visit Ruby Violet

Chin Chin Labs
Chin Chin Labs are based in Camden, Soho and. They began in Camden, 2011 making ice cream with liquid nitrogen. Their classic flavours include Tonka Bean and Valrhrona Chocolate.
Visit Chin Chin Labs

Udderlicious Ice Cream
Raj & Raj, owners of Udderlicious Ice Cream have been in the ice cream business for over 35. Try their Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Sorbet or Espresso & Chocolate Biscotti ice creams, both very popular choices!
Visit Udderlicious Ice Cream

Bears Ice Cream Company
Bears Ice Cream Company is a family run ice cream parlour. They were inspired by traditional Icelandic ice cream, combined with English seasonal flavours.
Visit Bears Ice Cream

Like this blog? Check out our top juice & smoothie bars in London.

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@takeawaypackaging on Facebook
@takeawaypackaging on Instagram

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