“Coming to college, Noah found himself succumbing to a crippling bubble tea addiction,”
-Noah, a freshman
Typically, I’d consider myself fairly practical when it comes to saving and spending money. The exception? Bubble tea. As teenagers, we’re warned about drug and alcohol addictions, but no one cautions us about the fun, frequently boba-filled drink that allures so many. A few times a month, three or four dollars from my paycheck goes towards filling my belly with sweet tea and bubbles. With places like Bubble Island, Sweeting, and more conveniently within a short walk from the diag, it’s all too easy to stop by and grab a drink after class. According to their website, Bubble Island has been “serving bubble tea to Michigan college students since 2002.” Establishments such as these are well aware of their captive audiences and the rising demand/popularity of bubble tea.
But why is bubble tea so popular? Unlike juice or soft drinks, bubble tea is often customizable and has different textures. It is typically associated with chewy tapioca pearls, which provide a unique break from the typical boring consistency. Popping boba, jellies, and puddings are also popular additions that offer a change-up in consistency. In addition to the interesting textures of bubble tea, there is a great amount of flexibility in choosing flavors, toppings, and more. Essentially, you have a free range of creativity in creating your delicious, desired concoction. Do you want smooth, chewy tapioca pearls, or fun fruity jellies? Milk tea, or fruit tea? It’s interesting to mix and match flavors, and the vast variety is definitely appealing.
In Ann Arbor, the social aspect contributes to bubble tea’s popularity. Buying bubble tea is often a fast and convenient event, but it is also a great way to hang out or relax with friends. Whenever I get bubble tea, whether with friends or by myself, I see groups of people spending time together. People will talk, work on school projects, or play board games while sipping on their drinks. Besides simply enjoying the taste, this social aspect is probably one of the biggest reasons I have come to love bubble tea. Once or twice a month, my friends and I will treat ourselves to the delicious beverage. Going out for bubble tea is a fun outing we enjoy doing as a group, and a great time to sit and chat for awhile. Since coming to U of M, bubble tea outings have been an easy (and delicious) way to catch up with friends and form positive memories. I write this post a few hours after one of these said excursions, and I can’t wait for more!