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The Kerala capital has many cafes promoting the Taiwanese drink with tapioca pearls

The Kerala capital has many cafes promoting the Taiwanese drink with tapioca pearls

It was the outsized straw within the drink that piqued my curiosity after which these chewy, small spheres that got here taking pictures by means of it into the mouth. That was my first tryst with bubble tea in Thiruvananthapuram. In the course of the pre-pandemic period, the Kerala capital had just a few cafes that offered the drink. However submit the second lockdown, extra have opened within the metropolis increasing the town’s bubble tea fanbase.

Bubble tea at BAO-TAO in Thiruvananthapuram

Bubble tea at BAO-TAO in Thiruvananthapuram
| Photograph Credit score: Particular Association

There may be Cafe Boba Queen close to Vellayambalam junction, Bumble Bee, the meals truck at Althara Junction and its sister concern, Cafe Membership De, close to Nanthancode and BAO-TAO at Kowdiar.

The spotlight of bubble tea, initially from Taiwan, is the tapioca pearls/balls or boba. These small spheres constituted of tapioca starch are the underside layer within the drink. Whereas the traditional bubble tea, also called pearl milk tea or boba tea worldwide, has black tea, milk/condensed milk and the bobas, now there are umpteen tweaked variations with no tea, whereby the bobas are put in smoothies, slushies and fruit-based or aerated drinks.

Cafe Boba Queen’s menu, for instance, has snow bubble which are milk-based drinks with the bobas in them. The flavours embrace mango, kesar, rose milk, fig and honey, and butterscotch… “The fizzy mint bubble varieties are fruit-flavoured aerated drinks with bobas, whereas there are additionally yogurt-based drinks in fruity flavours. We even have ‘exotica’ made with imported fruit-based syrups. As a substitute of tapioca pearls, they’ve ‘popping bobas’, that are fruity juice gels that burst in your mouth,” says Aswathy L Mohan, who runs the place along with her buddy, Ganesh S. The exotica varieties embrace watermelon, mango, guava, pineapple, orange, lychee and inexperienced apple.

The newest addition to their menu is spicy poppie twists, that are sweet-and-spicy drinks with bobas in them. The flavours embrace ardour fruit chilli, lemon candy and salt, mango inexperienced chilli, pineapple chaat and guava chilli. “Amongst our tea varieties are macha made with the Taiwanese inexperienced tea, traditional bubble tea that has the Indian tea flavour and totally different types of ‘fruit tea’, which have tea flavour and fruit syrups,” provides Ganesh.

Bubble tea varieties at Cafe Boba Queen in Thiruvananthapuram

Bubble tea varieties at Cafe Boba Queen in Thiruvananthapuram
| Photograph Credit score: Particular Association

Experimenting with flavours

Not all individuals desire the signature bubble tea with the tea base and that’s the reason new flavours hold getting launched, says Nandu Prasad, proprietor of BAO-TAO. “We now have over 60 varieties on the menu and extra shall be added. The drink has common attraction and we hold updating the flavours as and when the pattern modifications. Tiramisu, caramel popcorn and candy potato are a few of the new flavours which have hit the market,” he says.

Bumble Bee food truck at Althara Junction in Thiruvananthapuram serves bubble tea

Bumble Bee meals truck at Althara Junction in Thiruvananthapuram serves bubble tea
| Photograph Credit score: Particular Association

He provides that though the traditional iced bubble tea is made utilizing a shaker they like to make use of the blender since clients desire it that method in order that the drink has a smoothie-like consistency. BAO-TAO’s menu has bobas in milkshakes and popping bobas in fruit tea and slush. The boba-milkshake-cheese foam selection is a specialty and is available in flavours akin to mango, ardour fruit, raspberry, banoffee (banana, caramel, chocolate) and Oreo.

At Bumble Bee and Café Membership De run by Kiran Kulathinkara, a lot of the drinks are coffee-based. Among the many dozen flavours accessible are chocolate, guava, mango, strawberry, passionfruit, butterscotch and tender coconut. “Apart from fruit syrups/pulps, we use powders additionally within the drink, as within the case of taro (a kind of yam),” he says.

Popped up in the course of the lockdown

Apparently, all these ventures have been launched throughout and across the second lockdown in 2021. “I used to run two tuition centres that needed to be closed down because of the pandemic. I made a decision to put money into one thing new and that’s when the thought of bubble tea popped up. It is sort of a one-time meal and I’ve had it throughout my travels outdoors Kerala,” says Kiran, who launched the Bumble Bee meals truck in March 2021.

Aswathy L Mohan and Ganesh S who run Cafe Boba Queen

Aswathy L Mohan and Ganesh S who run Cafe Boba Queen
| Photograph Credit score: Particular Association

For Aswathy, who has been operating a profitable baking enterprise (Dancing Oven by Ash), bubble tea got here up as an possibility when she considered branching out to a brand new enterprise. “With so many bakers on the market I wished to do one thing else as effectively. That was when my sister who’s in Australia talked about bubble tea and I wished to offer it a strive. Ganesh, my batchmate from engineering faculty, was recreation for it and we went to Bengaluru to coach, “ says Aswathy.

Chew the drink

Bobas or tapioca spheres are normally black in color as they’ve brown sugar or caramel colouring added to them. If overcooked, they turn out to be mushy and if undercooked, they flip arduous. As soon as they’re cooked, run them beneath chilly water to take away the surplus starch. Hold it in brown sugar syrup to sweeten it.

They began as a cloud kitchen in March final 12 months. “We had our apprehensions about its success and so we now have delivered the drink personally on many events. There have been days after we received no more than 10 orders. However step by step individuals began warming as much as it and we began getting extra orders, because of our mates and social media. It was our clients who impressed us to open this store in December,” she provides.

Nandu Prasad K who runs BAO-TAO in Thiruvananthapuram

Nandu Prasad Ok who runs BAO-TAO in Thiruvananthapuram
| Photograph Credit score: Particular association

For Nandu, BAO-TAO is extra like an extension of his expertise in operating a building and inside designing agency. “We now have completed the interiors of some meals joints and food-related enterprises in Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru. Work-related journey had uncovered me to several types of delicacies and finally, I made a decision to step into the meals business with a novel product. That turned out to be bubble tea. With nothing a lot to do in the course of the lockdown, I learnt extra about it on-line. I began it as a takeaway enterprise in June as I had already imported large amount of components and couldn’t hold it for lengthy,” says Nandu.

Kiran Kulathinkara with chef Suresh Pillai at the inauguration of Bumble Bee

Kiran Kulathinkara with chef Suresh Pillai on the inauguration of Bumble Bee
| Photograph Credit score: Particular Association

Tapioca balls are imported from Taiwan. Indian firms are additionally manufacturing it. “We now have discovered that imported bobas are higher than the Indian ones. It applies to the syrups as effectively. The standard of the bobas and syrups decide the style of the tea,” Nandu provides.

The drink is available in 300 ml, 350 ml and 500 ml bottles/cups and are priced from ₹90 onwards.

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