Published on February 28, 2014 | by Kate Jackson

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Food and drink review: Bubbleology

★★★★★

Bubble tea counter with all the different flavours on display

Originating in Taiwan, where the herbal remedy was invented in the ’80s, Bubble tea can be served either hot or cold. [Tom Setterfield]

You’re never far away from a good brew in London; our streets are full to the brim with tea houses and coffee shops, offering caffeine fanatics a wide variety of the Nation’s favourite drink, from the classic mugs of builder’s tea to the more refined lapsang souchong.

Bubble tea is the new kid on the block and just about as far away as you could get from cosy tea traditions and conventional china cups. They’re calling the new phenomenon the ‘teavolution’.

Bubbleology is popping up all over west London, with shops luring in curious tea fans in Soho, Notting Hill and the newest one recently opening in the Topshop branch on Oxford Street.

Originating in Taiwan – where the herbal remedy was invented in the ’80s – Bubble tea can be served either hot or cold, and comes in a variety of fruity and milky flavours, with ‘bubbles’ of chewy tapioca balls at the bottom, referred to as pearls or ‘boba’, which give the drink it’s name.

“Since the early days of its inception, this delicious art has become a science with the kind of strict rules of preparation only usually found in university biology departments or in the ways of the samurai!” said Assad Khan, founder of Bubbleology.

Enticing

I visited Bubbleology in Soho, an inviting and alluring store with an enticing menu offering seven milk teas and six fruit teas – priced at £3.45 for a regular and £3.75 for a large. The tea itself may intimidate you at first, with bold colours of lurid orange, minty greens and shades of pastel, and you may be left worrying about the colour of your insides afterwards.

However, the Coconut Pearl tea is a definite winner – with a subtle sweet flavour and a light texture, it’s definitely a closer relative of the milkshake than the humble breakfast tea. Other flavours on offer include Vanilla Pearl, Ginger Red and White Peach.

The ‘bubbleologists’ consider the making of the unusual beverage a fine art, with strict rules in place for the creation. Dunking a tea bag in hot water simply won’t do in the lab of a bubbleologist. The pearls have to be soaked for hours before the flavours are combined to create the perfect concoction.

Be part of the teavolution.

Bubbleology is located in Soho, Knightsbridge, Notting Hill, Westfield Stratford, Oxford Circus and South Kensington.

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