Why is Bubble Tea So Popular?

by Jadeeyah Abang

A photo of three bubble tea cups in one tray.

Have you ever wondered why bubble tea is so popular around the world?

Other drinks like coffee, beer, and soda may just be as popular, but there’s no craze quite like the bubble tea craze. Bubble tea has really captured the hearts—and taste buds—of many people across the globe. In fact, the unique drink is super in-demand that the world’s leading boba tea shop chain (it’s not Bubblish in Zürich, so we can’t name it!) has over 1,500 store locations in several countries including the USA and the UK! 

The beverage’s popularity seem to grow continuously, as studies show that the bubble tea global market size in 2021 was already as huge as USD 2.17 billion, making it bigger than the cold brew coffee’s global market size (USD 1.2 billion) in that same year.

But why is bubble tea so popular? Is it the way it taste? The way it looks? Let’s explore the possible answers together.

Why is bubble tea so popular?

Bubble tea or boba tea has become quite a trend. Unlike soda and fruit juice that are only popular among kids, and coffee and alcoholic drinks that are mainly drank by young adults and older, bubble tea seems to be liked by all ages.

According to an article, boba tea lovers are almost evenly divided into three age groups: children (36%), young adults 15-25 (32%), and adults +25 (32%). This may explain why bubble tea is so popular. Boba tea normally has no alcohol (or the extra strong caffeine buzz that coffee has) so kids can enjoy it—at the same time, it doesn’t taste and look like a “for kids only” drink so it tends to appeal to teens and grown ups.

Of course, there are other reasons why bubble tea is so popular. These reasons may include:

  • It has a very unique look and taste
  • There are so many flavors to choose from
  • It is vegan-friendly (even the ones with milk can be vegan-friendly)
  • It has so many customizable options
  • Modern technology may have played a part in its popularity

It has a very unique look and taste

The things that make bubble tea stand out the most is its unique look and taste. Because of its chewy tapiocas, popping bobas, coconut jelly, bubble tea can sometime taste like a solid snack and drink in one cup. There’s also the creamy goodness of milk, or the natural sweetness of the real fruit slices or fruit syrups included in the tea.

The drink is also very colorful and lively. Its milk tea versions can sometimes look like cakes in a cup with their creamy milk and syrup drippings, while the fruit tea versions can produce captivating two or three-color gradient patterns. Its look is so aesthetically pleasing that it’s probably one of the most photogenic drinks in the world!

There are so many flavors to choose from

Another reason why bubble tea is so popular is the range of flavors it can offer, and how it does not seem to stop as more and more new bubble tea shops pop up and create their own recipes.
This is because just having 10 fruit-flavored syrups and 10 popping boba flavors, one can make at least 100 flavors of bubble tea—our Bubblish tea shop menu alone already has more than 20 flavors available!

With a wide range of flavor to offer, boba tea can cater to almost every drinking preference: there’s always something for someone. 

It has so many customizable options

As mentioned above, when it comes to creating bubble tea flavors, there is always something for everyone. You like to try Bubblish’s Favorit Taro but you don’t like ice cold drinks? No worries, Favorit Taro can be served hot too! 

Boba tea can be customized because it is made of ingredients that you can mix and match. You can add or remove a popping flavor, or switch a syrup flavor with a different one. And if you are making the drink at home using our DIY bubble tea kits you can buy online, you can even add real fruit slices into your boba tea.

It is vegan-friendly

Being a special type of vegan-friendly drink may be one of the biggest reasons why bubble tea is so popular. There are drinks that are liked by non-vegans, but cannot be taken by vegans. And there are drinks that are made especially for vegans, so many non-vegans don’t like them. But bubble tea is like the “in-between” space in a Venn diagram—it’s vegan-friendly but is still loved by non-vegans!

All bubble fruit tea drinks are vegan-friendly, but their fruity goodness can be enjoyed by non-vegans just as much. Moreover, even bubble milk tea drinks can be vegan-friendly too just by using plant milk instead of traditional milk.

Modern technology may have played a part

Coffee and traditional brewed tea that have been both around since ancient times. Soda or soft drinks was invented way back in 1767. Being older than bubble tea, shouldn’t these drinks have more time and more chance to increase their popularity?

Why bubble tea became so popular so fast may lie on the era that the drink tea was born. Bubble tea began in the 1980s, when there is technology to speed up the process for Taiwanese entrepreneurs to move their goods or set up bubble tea shops in different parts of the world. And, even though bubble tea is still fairly young compared to coffee, soda, and beer, its market growth coincided with the social media boom of the 21st century. So, by 2010s, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok were filled with viral pictures and videos of boba tea.

How about you? Do you have other ideas why bubble tea is so popular aside from the theories we have given? Or maybe you have other questions about boba tea or our Bubblish tea shop? If you do, feel free to contact us!

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