Decoding the appeal of bubble tea over the world

decode the appeal of bubble tea

Why is bubble tea so popular all over the world? Let’s join FGC in decoding the appeal of this beverage!


Whenever you go out, you might easily come across a bubble tea shop with many young customers. There are numerous variations of bubble tea with many famous brands in the world. Have you ever wondered where bubble tea came from and how it could spread to all the continents? Follow this article to explore more about this trendy drink. 

Origin of bubble tea

Bubble tea, also called milk tea, boba tea, or black pearls tea, is the combination of tea, milk, and signature chewy tapioca pearls. Bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the 1980s and has rapidly spread to Southeast Asian countries, then to the rest of the world. Bubble tea is not only a revolution in the culinary field, but it also becomes a part of Taiwanese culture. It only took a short time for bubble tea to win the hearts of Taiwanese, with 1.5 billion cups sold a year. Due to its popularity in its homeland, bubble tea becomes the iconic of this nation. 

What makes the difference in bubble tea is the chewy spheres. The tapioca pearls bring a different texture and feeling. Bubble tea is favored so much that it became one of the official emojis of 2020. Besides, since 2018, April 30th has been declared as National Bubble Tea Day, marking the position of bubble tea as an international phenomenon. During its development, numerous variations of bubble tea have been created with the addition of fruit and flower flavors, beloved by people of all ages. 

origin of bubble tea
Bubble tea is originated from Taiwan

The booming and spreading of bubble tea over the world

Perhaps in the first place, no one could imagine the booming and spreading of bubble tea. In 2022, the size of the global bubble tea market was recorded at US$ 2.29 billion. The figure is expected to reach US$ 2.46 billion in 2023, rising to US$ 4.08 billion in 2030 with a CAGR of 7.51%. Bubble tea shops are popping up everywhere, so let’s explore the spreading of bubble tea after dominating in Taiwan.

The rest of Asia

The influence of bubble tea quickly spread to neighboring regions, which are Asian nations. Bubble tea has successfully drawn the attention of young people from Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and until now, it is still a well-known drink. In China, there have been about 500,000 stores across the nation, while in South East Asia, the year 2018 witnessed an increase of 200% store numbers.  

America and the West

Bubble tea is said to appear in the US thanks to a group of Taiwanese immigrants in the 1990s. When they came to the US, they brought along their iconic drink. Naturally, boba tea first gained enormous appeal in Asian communities and has gradually become favored beverages in this country. The growth of bubble tea in the US has not been as fast as in Asia, but it still proved its popularity over time.

While Asia accounts for the majority of the bubble tea market, North America is expected to be the second-largest region, with the constant increase in the number of bubble tea shops. Recently, bubble tea has also gradually gained the love from Western nations and continued to prove its position in the world. 

Bubble tea has spread over the world
Bubble tea has spread over the world

Reasons for bubble tea’s burst in popularity

Bubble tea brings unique taste and experience

Undoubtedly, bubble tea’s distinct flavor and production method led to its enormous success. This beverage is the perfect combination of a snack and drink. The pleasant aroma of the tea base paired with the creamy milk and chewy tapioca pearls provide the roundness to the drink. The tapioca softly breaks the boring consistency, creating an interesting experience in your mouth. The tea is sweet, aromatic, and refreshing, which can be enjoyed anytime with your friends or family. 

unique taste of bubble tea
Bubble tea offers a unique taste and experience

The format is constantly evolving

As the bubble tea spread far beyond Taiwan and Asia, its formulas and flavors also had to change to adapt to new markets. Both the flavors and the texture of bubble tea are still evolving. The milk used in boba tea can be cow’s milk, non-dairy milk, or other vegan substitutes. With the rising awareness about health care, customers can adjust and choose the sugar level depending on their purposes.  

In addition to new flavors, the evolution of toppings is also remarkable. The classic topping has always been the black pearls, usually cooked with brown sugar. After that, more types of pearls are created, such as white pearls, green pearls, and roasted rice pearls. It is also typically to add pudding and jellies with various shapes, flavors, and colors. To enhance a thicker consistency, bubble tea can be topped by cheese foam on top. 

Companies are constantly renewing their products, making them stand out from thousands of types of bubble tea in the market. Due to the fast-paced lives, new ready-to-drink and instant bubble tea have been launched. They are tasty, convenient, and easier to buy with many flavors. With such innovation and evolution, the popularity of bubble tea will continue to boost. 

Bubble tea formulas are constantly evolving
Bubble tea formulas are constantly evolving

Young people are the main consumers

Young people, especially gen Z, is the factor that is driving the popularity of bubble tea. They are more open, global-minded,  and quite sensitive to trends. Following the rise of coffee shop chains, there was a huge demand for a convenient, distinctive, and flavorful drink, which contributed to the success of bubble tea. Boba tea not only serves the need of taste or demand to drink, but it is also ideal to enjoy with friends and family, affecting how people spend time together.  

Bubble tea can win the love of younger people because it is affordable. As a segment of the fast-food movement, boba tea is normally not so expensive, suitable for students or officers. Combined with the booming of social media, they can easily share photos, experiences, and feelings about bubble tea. Besides, the influence of celebrities who share their moments with boba tea also contribute to increasing its reputation. 


Bubble tea has created an identity, become a cultural symbol, and gained an increasing number of fans over years. Starting from Taiwan, bubble tea has spread to Asia, the US, and the Western countries. The unique taste, constantly evolving in flavors and toppings, and the major targeted customers – gen Z – are the factors contributing to its popularity, 


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