Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#476 Try Bubble Tea

On a recent trip to State College to visit my son, I had the opportunity to try Bubble Tea. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to like it but I felt that way about many foods at first. I thought I would hate sushi, Brussel sprouts, asparagus, mussels, Pad Thai, rice pudding, Easter pie, Chicago dogs and chow mei fun. They are actually some of my favorite foods now. I still hate calamari though. Breaded rubber bands are not tasty to me but a lot of people love it so I do not judge.

Bubble Tea
Bubble Tea from Cafe WOW in State College
Anyways, this quest for bubble tea began back in December of 2016. My son wanted to treat my daughter to a Bubble Tea for her birthday. Three times we went to the Bubble Tea place and three times they were closed. It was holiday break and spring break so we understood why they were closed. No students equals no business. It made sense but at the same time, we began to believe we were never going to try this elusive Bubble Tea.

Then finally, on my most recent visit to State College, the Bubble Tea place was open. Hooray!!! Let's do this. We entered into the cute little Bubble Tea cafe called Cafe WOW. They offered tasty looking Taiwanese pastries, smoothies, milk teas and fruit teas. You could select either a clear based tea or a milk based tea for your Bubble tea. The kiddos picked their teas. They chose milk based teas. I also wanted to try a milk based tea. As they were waiting for their beverages, I studied the menu a little longer. They offered delicious flavors such as Honeydew, Vanilla, Banana, Peach, Strawberry, Papaya, and Pineapple.

However, I wanted to try a unique flavor. A few listed flavors definitely intrigued me. What did Taro taste like? What was Red Date Longan? How would Lavender or Jasmine taste in a Bubble milk tea? Red Date Longan and Taro just kept jumping out at me for some reason. The barista at the counter was waiting patiently for me to decide. I was struggling to make a decision so I went with Red Date Longan because that was the first one to really jump out at me.

Once we all had our beverages, we took a seat outside at a little metal bistro table. Nervously I studied my drink. The bubbles in the tea were black. I pictured them being translucent, like real bubbles. Why were they black? They were also a lot bigger than I was expecting. I am not a fan of tapioca but for whatever reason, I was expecting clear, tiny tapioca bubbles in my tea. These were large, tapioca, jelly like bubbles. There was a slightly red, beige tint to my tea as well. It looked a little like chocolate milk to be honest. Unfortunately, it did not taste like chocolate milk.

The kiddos enjoying their tea.

I stabbed my wide purple straw through the plastic covering of my tea and nervously took a sip. A bunch of "bubbles" came through the straw. Slowly I began to chew them, expecting them to taste like squid ink or something. The texture was definitely a little weird, but not horrible. It was a starchy texture. To be honest, they really didn't have much flavor to them at all. If anything their flavor reminded me of the little Japanese dough covered ice creams called Mochi.

Turns out, I didn't mind the bubbles at all. The taste of the red date longan was just okay though. There was date pulp in the drink along with the bubbles and the flavor just wasn't sitting well with me. For whatever reason it did not dawn on me when I ordered my drink that red date longan was a type of date. Why did it not occur to me? I mean the word date was included in the name of the flavor right? Right. That will go down as one of the world's great mysteries along with all the other idiosyncrasies I have made in my lifetime.

Anyways, I am not a big fan of  dates. They aren't terrible or anything but I don't really prefer to eat them. My daughter allowed me to sample her vanilla bubble tea and I really enjoyed that flavor a lot more. It was really creamy and they definitely used some real vanilla bean in her Bubble tea. One of my most favorite flavors is vanilla with real vanilla bean. It's heavenly. I am also still curious about Taro. A good friend of mine highly recommends that flavor. She said it is her favorite. She has good taste so next time, I will definitely give Taro a try.

In closing, Bubble tea is a fun drink that you have to sip slowly in order to avoid choking on the bubbles.


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