This little teapot knows that you humans really love having tea your way! So, imagine the glee in our house when we saw a feature on the Tea Swan site that let’s you do just that by being able to select ingredients to add to your tea leaves and how much. Continue reading Have Tea Your Way – Tea Seller Tea Swan Helps You Do Just That!
Lots of you humans out there are enjoying tea more and more. And so more and more of you are getting into the business side and selling tea. This little teapot applauds you. And the creative way in which some of you approach this most serious endeavor has not escaped my attention. Time to bring them to your attention, dear tea loving readers. TOOOT! Continue reading Tea Sellers with a Theme
Every year tea vendors announce a line of teas chock full not only of tea goodness by some added flavors that are traditional for the season. Tea Punk Teas is no exception. As a site sponsor here, they are as much a part of this World tea party as I, your humble little yellow teapot, certainly is. Explore some of their fine teas as I play “Santa Teapot” and offer up suggestions not only for your palate but for the tea lovers on your gift list. Continue reading Little Yellow (Santa) Teapot Recommends: A Tea Punk Steampunk Christmas
We had the honor, my humans and I, a few years back to try a number of teas from the Boston Tea Company and thought that a review was in order. TOOOT! Continue reading Reviewing Our Reviews of Boston Tea Co. Teas
That time of year is at hand when those spiced teas, often simply called “chai” here in the U.S., appear in tea shops – both the brick-and-mortar and the online kind. We totally understand. There is something about these teas that appeals to us tea drinkers especially as the weather starts to turn cooler. At our house we have a favorite version of the many out there. We find it typifies the real appeal of this style of tea and so wanted to share our views with you here. Continue reading Our Favorite Version of Spiced Chai
There’s no wonder that at this time of year, people across the country are exuding harvest time hurrahs. Harvest is an important time in the lives of mankind. It means food, drink, clothing (cotton, etc.), and just about everything around us. Continue reading Harvest Time Hurrahs!
Pearl milk tea (some call it “bubble tea” or “boba tea”) is a sweet concoction that originated in Asian countries. The main feature is the layer of tapioca pearls lurking in the bottom of the glass, just waiting for you to suck them up through the straw and enjoy their chewy goodness. On Tapioca Day, therefore, it is fitting to prepare some of this style of tea beverage and enjoy it to the max. So, we have gathered here some great recipes found around the Internet. Enjoy! Continue reading Celebrating Tapioca Day with Pearl Milk Tea Recipes
by Little Yellow Teapot (a tea steeping marvel and occasional contributing author)
My humans are not aristocracy. In fact, here in the USA we have no aristocracy. So they had to imagine what tea time would be like for a lord of the manor. And they were sure that Lord Grantham’s tea time would certainly be special. The first step was the tea, and from there all seemed to fall into place.
Warmer weather in the U.S. usually means iced tea, sweet tea, and a tea drink that is growing in popularity here (as well as in Europe). It is sometimes called “bubble tea” and sometimes “pearl milk tea” (or “boba milk tea”). Having spent many years as a technical writer where the difference between “hit Enter” and “press the Enter key” were important (especially since some people take things rather literally), I’m going, just for the fun of it, to pick apart both names. Sit back, relax, sip your tea, and take a linguistic journey.
A bubble is a filmy substance or one that is fairly elastic but with good atomic bonds that forms a sphere around some air. Soap bubbles, chewing gum bubbles, and carbonation bubbles are some examples. So are those little bubbles on the top of your tea (hot or cold) when you pour it fast. Here’s the definition on Thefreedictionary.com. (I simplified things for this article.)
A pearl, in contrast, is solid. It is also spherical (sometimes). True pearls are those iridescent beauties created by clams when some irritant gets inside their shell. We call various things “pearls” since (a) they are spherical and usually about the size of a salt-water pearl (fresh-water pearls are more irregularly shaped), or (b) because it’s more poetic and/or colorful than saying “sphere” or “ball.” Would you like to drink a tea named “Dragon spheres” or named “Dragon pearls”? As is often the case with marketing, words matter.
Based on the above, I’m thinking that “pearl milk tea” is a more accurate term. But wait, there’s more to this.
My guess (and one supported by various online sources) is that the term “bubble tea” is a mispronunciation of “boba.” Of course, it could just be that someone thought it seemed more fun and whimsical to say “bubble” than “pearl.” Or it could possibly be another of those translation mix-ups. The English language has around 100,000 words, or so it is claimed by many linguists, and many of these words are subtly different to us but translate as meaning the same thing in other languages. When going from those languages to English, therefore, they are presented with a host of options and do their best to pick the right one. Not always successfully. Based on the mispronunciation theory, “bubble tea” is just as accurate as “pearl milk tea.” No easy answers, darn it!
What Those “Bubble Tea” Bubbles Really Are
Pretty simple here. They are chewy tapioca balls. The Chinese slang term for them is bōbà (波霸) meaning “large breasts.” Seriously! I couldn’t make up something like that if I tried. Tapioca is a starch from a plant that originated in Northern Brazil called Manioc (Manihot esculenta). It proved so popular, that the plant was soon being cultivated throughout South America. Traders and explorers brought some of these plants with them to other ports of call in the West Indies, Africa, Asia, the Philippines, and Taiwan. The Taiwanese were the ones to start using it in this tea-based drink (usually Taiwanese black tea). Milk, fruit, and ice are other common ingredients, with a wide variety of flavors available. Green tea versions have become popular, too, as people started touted green tea as healthier than black tea (the jury is still out on that, with some recent studies supporting the claim and others contradicting it).
No matter what you call it, give some a try as warm weather approaches. It’s sort of a drinkable tapioca pudding that has tea in it. Wow!
This is actually two articles in one. The first is Chai Tea at the Indian Restaurant, posted in April 2010. The second is Tea Terminology — “Chai Tea” vs. “Masala Chai”, posted in November 2012. I saw a post on Facebook on this topic and thought what the heck, time to revisit my take on this. The topic seems to be one of those that bears repeating. Again. And again. And again. Continue reading There’s No Such Thing as “Chai Tea”