June 14, 2024


Travel Anywhere

Once scarce, finding bubble tea on LI is easier now

Powering the counter of The Bowl in Lynbrook, Olivia Lim operates a lab of sorts, a person lined by containers of powder — non-dairy creamer, powdered taro, coconut — as nicely as buckets of glistening jelly in neon hues. When someone areas an get for bubble tea, Lim grabs a plastic shaker and gets to work: She spoons in powdered flavors, splashes in water and a pile of ice, then shakes the entire matter for numerous noisy seconds.

Decanted into a slender cup of frosted plastic, one particular these blend is a research in layers: On base, inky black boba, or tapioca bubbles, are seen by the lavender movie of taro milk tea. On prime, Lim spoons shiny, jiggly squares of coffee jelly, which bristle towards the nutty taro for an earthy, smoothie-like practical experience that evokes dessert. Slithering by the additional-vast straw, like delicate sweet, are the tapioca bubbles named boba that you squish aside with your again teeth. (They are not born that way: Boba get started as difficult balls that require to be soaked and boiled to softness).

Bubble tea at The Bowl in Lynbrook.

Bubble tea at The Bowl in Lynbrook.
Credit history: Yvonne Albinowski

“I drink them all,” claimed Lim, 30, who has been nuts about bubble tea given that she was she was a kid rising up in China’s Fujian province. After Lim moved to New York with her loved ones, she invested her teen several years sampling bubble tea all more than the metropolis. “She could not stay without having bubble tea,” affirmed her spouse and enterprise partner, Eric Chen.

Just a few months just after opening The Bowl — a sunny haven with a handful of tables, a poke counter and ramen broth burbling in the back — Chen and Lim offer hundreds of bubble teas each working day, and Lim is normally the architect. “She’s a chef,” said Chen.


Just 5 many years back, finding bubble tea on Long Island wasn’t an uncomplicated endeavor — but the class has seen exponential advancement. A cheerful-searching generation of practically endless chance, bubble tea is served in two primary variations: Fruit, in flavors such as mango or grapefruit, or milk, with product (or non-dairy creamer, as at The Bowl) added to matcha, jasmine or oolong tea, with a foamy leading from time to time spooned in excess of at the end. And even though tapioca boba is the default., bubble and jelly alternatives run to popping fruit boba, which burst open in your mouth for very small explosions of sweetness, or jelly toppings designed from lychee, pineapple or even herbs.

Bubble tea’s roots extend again to Taiwan in the 1980s, when milky iced tea crammed with tapioca pearls was bought by avenue sellers. Bubble tea subsequently spilled across China and East Asia in the U.S., it initial ascended on the West Coast, in the late ’90s, adopted by New York and other towns. “We are absolutely not the most recent era for bubble tea,” mentioned Chen, who mentioned its elements are generally evolving in scope, as is its viewers. (The bubble tea industry is projected to develop by around 8 percent a 12 months right until hitting $3.23 billion in income a decade from now, according to Persistence Market Investigation). 

Is it the prosperity of alternative inherent in bubble tea that make it so popular, particularly with Technology Z? Buying grapefruit tea with tapioca balls and lychee jelly, or a milky taro tea with brown-sugar boba, or a peach tea with passionfruit popping boba can be, soon after all, an early foray into culinary preference and self-expression. 

Jin Park, who opened a bubble-tea store, The Early Chook Cafe, in an East Meadow buying plaza this spring, has yet another theory. “Kids glance at anime and they see bubble tea. That’s why it is trending now,” he said, referring to the Japanese animation that influences youth society, specifically garments.

Bubble tea at The Early Bird Cafe in East Meadow.

Bubble tea at The Early Bird Cafe in East Meadow.
Credit history: Yvonne Albinowski

Inside of the narrow, present day Early Fowl, hip hop blares as Park blends earl gray, honeydew, rose milk or creme-brûlée milk teas. He also would make iced fruit teas (this kind of as peach black tea with eco-friendly tea) and flavored latte bubble teas, like matcha or “Oreo dirt” lattes, to which Park could add an “original product cap”—  a layer of milk foam perfected all through his decades as a barista — or a salty “cream cheese cap.” The possible accoutrements are quite a few: Tiger brown-sugar boba, or mango popping boba, or aloe pulp. “[Bubble tea] could be an iced tea, it could be like a smoothie,” reported Park, who also will make slushes, a further bubble tea subcategory, and his personal glowing sodas.

Even though Park’s place and The Bowl are independently owned, bubble tea chains were some of the first to get bubble tea out of bakeries and dining establishments and middle the drink in its personal market. A single of the largest is Gong Cha, a Taiwan-centered enterprise that has much more than 1650 areas in 20 nations, which includes a kiosk in Roosevelt Subject. A continuous trickle of consumers, shopping mall keep workers and teens quit each individual day, studying  the menu to puzzle out dozens of combinations, which includes toppings these kinds of as grass jelly. Each bubble tea is, in convert, sealed in its cup by a layer of foil. To entry the boba within, you shove a straw via the best with a satisfying pop. (Gong Cha is also acknowledged for their silky milk-foam).

Milk foam dirty brown sugar milk tea at Gong Cha...

Milk foam dirty brown sugar milk tea at Gong Cha Tea in Mineola.
Credit rating: Gong Cha Global Ltd.

On a modern afternoon, Kaitlyn Vira picked up Gong Cha bubble teas for her and her mom. Vira, 23, claimed she’s been consuming bubble tea since she was a youngster in Valley Stream, when it was primarily absent from Prolonged Island and she experienced to journey into the metropolis to score some. “It’s a great deal more appropriate now,” she claimed, and to her delight, considerably less complicated to locate.

“There’s some thing distinct about it. You can not go to a typical cafe to get a milk tea,” mentioned Vira, clutching an icy strawberry-matcha milk tea with boba. (Her mom experienced taro milk tea). “When you consume it, it’s like an encounter.”

Exactly where TO GET BUBBLE TEA ON Prolonged ISLAND

There are exponentially extra bubble tea spots on Extended Island than there were even 3 yrs in the past. Listed here are a several sites to find it.

The Bowl (88a Atlantic Ave., Lynbrook): This lovable spot has a few tables and a robust bubble tea procedure that offers a rainbow of fruit and (non-dairy) milk teas. Extra facts: 516-758-7500, thebowl88.com

The Early Fowl Cafe (1934a Hempstead Tpke., East Meadow): Modern and soulful, owner Jin Park’s bubble tea shop provides a culinary ethos to the genre. Extra info: 516-743-8978.

Gong Cha (Roosevelt Industry Mall, Garden Metropolis): A person of the most significant bubble-tea chains in the world, the consume here run to Wintermelon Milk Tea and Lemon Ai-Yu White Pearl, as perfectly as slushes and lattes.. (Other areas in Lake Grove, Mineloa and Jericho). More data: gongchausa.com

Matcha Tea In Heaven (52 N. Nation Rd., Smithtown): This spare, stylish cafe specializes in ceremonial-grade matcha, which is not only served incredibly hot but in an array of earthy iced matcha boba in flavors these as matcha lemonade and calamansi. More information: 631-980-8333.