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What's the latest in the beverage category?


Boba has been an increasingly popular ingredient in iced tea and related beverages in the U.S. for close to a decade. The tapioca pearls usually the size of small marbles are plopped into beverages and then drunk through an oversized straw, providing a chewy textural treat that is particularly popular among young people. But boba is now being accompanied by related items such as popping bubbles, wiggly jellies, and pudding to add extra fun, different flavors, and increasingly important visual appeal.

Boba tea-focused chains such as Kung Fu Tea and Gong Cha continue to add variety to their offerings (both have peach drinks this summer, for example), while other beverage specialists are catching on to the trend.

Boba tea, also called bubble tea, originated in Taiwan in the 1980s. It’s most frequently seen as part of milk tea, which true to its name is chilled tea with either condensed milk or powdered non-dairy creamer added — appropriate for Asian countries where many people are lactose intolerant, but also on-trend in the U.S. where many people are avoiding dairy.

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