Everything You Need to Know about Bubble Tea in the UK

Bubble tea has become increasingly popular in the UK over the last few years with dedicated bubble tea stores cropping up all over Britain. Most of these stores are in the capital, such as Biju Bubble Tea. As a result, you’ll no doubt have a vague idea of what bubble tea is already. Just in case you don’t, we’ll be covering the basics of bubble tea, as well as its origins and where to get it. As a takeaway packaging provider, we’ll also go into detail about bubble tea cups and other essential items. So, if you’re a seller of bubble tea, stay tuned until the end.

Does Bubble Tea Come from the UK?

Bubble tea didn’t originate in the UK, even though the scene in London is strong with plenty of places to try new bubble tea flavours.

The birth of bubble tea was actually in Taiwan. This tea-based drink has recently taken hold of the UK yet in Asia dates back to the 80s.

Bubble tea is still made in the original Taiwanese way. The drink usually consists of a type of tea — more often than not herbal — mixed with flavouring, tapioca balls, milk and sugar. The tea and tapioca balls are the key ingredients in the recipe — the tea allows this drink to qualify as a type of tea, while the tapioca balls give the tea that bubble effect. Tapioca balls are sometimes known as tapioca pearls or boba. These gel-like balls are made from a type of starch and appear black. When water, sugar and flavouring are added, they can sometimes turn white or clear.

The pearls soak up any flavouring, giving the bubble tea an intense taste with different varieties such as honeydew, lychee, mango, passion fruit, peach, plum and strawberry.

Plus, the tapioca pearls are fun to pop as you drink from a bubble tea cup. It’s this that has spread the craze for bubble tea across the globe as more of a beverage experience than a standard refreshment.

Yet the reason behind the bubble tea name is nothing to do with the tapioca pearls — that is a bit of a myth, understandably believed by many people. Instead, bubble tea is named after the bubbles and froth that form on the surface of the tea when shaken.

How to Drink Bubble Tea

You can order bubble tea hot and cold — but 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. Similar to coffee, you should choose blended if you want a thicker consistency equivalent to a frappe. Most people will choose shaken as this is the original way to serve bubble tea. Remember, shaken bubble tea gives the drink its famous frothy bubbles, as well as 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:

  • Shake your drink — If your bubble tea is pre-packaged with a sealed lid, you’ll want to shake the contents to create that classic foam effect. Shaking will also help the pearls to lift from the bottom of the cup and make it easier to consume.
  • Stir while drinking — For similar reasons, you’ll want to continually stir the drink using your straw in between sips to encourage the boba to rise from the bottom of the cup. Use a similar approach to drinking hot chocolate to stop the drink from congealing at the bottom.
  • Use your straw — Like drinking a slushy, you’ll want to move your straw up and down to drink the tea-like liquid and suck up the boba equally. You don’t want to be left with a pile of tapioca pearls at the bottom of your bubble tea cup.
  • Enjoy the experience — Above all, just enjoy the drink. Although there is a tradition for drinking bubble tea, you don’t have to take it too seriously. The joy of bubble tea is it’s an experience you can take your time over. So, devour those pearls, slurp that tea and relax.

Where to Drink Bubble Tea (In the UK)

In Asia, it’s common to see bubble tea stands on the street, at a local market or in a small town. However, in the UK, you’ll most likely have to visit a major city to enjoy this exciting delicacy.

Most bubble tea locations in the UK are in London, but we’ve also included a few Northern locations on this list.

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

This is the bubble tea brand that is killing the UK market right now with over fifteen locations nationwide. The brand has standalone shops and several retail concessions.

When visiting Bubbleology, you’ll find a wide variety of milk tea, fruit teas and alcohol-infused cocktail bubble teas.

While slurping on a bubble tea, you can also snack on an indulgent waffle since the brand has paired the two. Yes — this isn’t a traditional bubble tea accompaniment, but it’s a fun British equivalent.

Visit Bubbleology

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

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 quirky 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.

Visit Biju Bubble Tea

Cuppacha — Soho, Sheffield

Despite its selective locations, Cuppacha manages to create a real hype with locals and awarding bodies like the Golden Chopsticks Awards.

From here, you can get bubble tea delivered to your door via the Deliveroo app. Choose from decadent Oreo milk teas and signature ombre drinks — both of which are completely insta-worthy.

With a strong social presence, you might want to snap a picture of your bubble tea moment.

Visit Cuppacha

Bobo Tea — Manchester, Sheffield

Bobo tea also had the genius idea of pairing bubble tea with waffles as well as frozen yoghurt.

Their extensive menu is packed with imaginative and authentic flavours such as coconut, red bean and jasmine. Got a sweet tooth? You might enjoy a cookies ‘n’ cream, vanilla or chocolate variety even more.

Visit Bobo Tea

How to Package Bubble Tea

Thinking about selling bubble tea in the UK? You’ve landed in the right place.

We sell sustainable packaging products suitable for your very own biodegradable bubble tea.

Bubble Tea Cup

Taking pride of place is a bubble tea cup. For this, you can use our eco clear cups made from PLA bioplastic. You must purchase a transparent cup for bubble tea so you can show off those flavoured pearls and ombre design 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

Bubble Tea Lid

To pair with your bubble tea cup, you’ll want to buy a matching lid. If possible, you should 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 to 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 cardboard cup holders

Need something else for your sustainable store? Browse our online shop where you’ll find our entire range of products available for next day delivery.