While Asia has enjoyed the variety and thirst-quenching taste of bubble tea for decades, London has gone without. Until now that is.
On a pedestrian street just north of Leicester Square in London’s Soho area, behind an unassuming facade is a cafe with a unique offering. Well, unique for London that is. Though bubble tea is massively popular across Asia, particularly Taiwan where it was conceived, ask most Britons what a tapioca pearl is and you’ll be met with a frown.
They, of course, don’t know what they’re missing. And if you’ve never had bubble tea, neither do you. Served either hot of cold, Bubble Tea consists of either a green or black tea base with shots of additional flavour. The list of flavours are endless and can be mixed together according to personal preference. Lying at the bottom of a cup of Bubble Tea are the things to which it owes its name. The bubbles. While even these come in a variety of forms, most commonly found are small black, chewy balls of tapioca that are sucked up the fatter-than-normal straw along with the tea.
The decor inside of Bubbleology is made out to look like a laboratory, while the staff all wear long white coats. The focus here is on experimenting by mixing the flavours together. On my most recent visit, I mixed vanilla with almond and added some lychee flavoured popping boba. Delicious! On previous visits, I’ve enjoyed mixing a variety of exotic fruit flavours together whilst adding pieces of fruit jelly. Fun and tasty!
Not everyone quite gets the concept. While I was chewing away on a mouthful of pearls last Sunday, a man walked in and asked for a latte. He was politely told they didn’t do coffee, though they did do a coffee flavoured bubble tea. He shrugged and gave it a go.
Next time you’re in London’s West End, do as he did and give Bubbleology a try. It’s the variety of flavours and the weirdness of having chewy lumps of stuff in the tea that keeps me going back.