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Bubble tea takes off

By Keegan Prosser on July 1, 2013 – No Comment

By Celina Kareiva

There’s much speculation about the origin of bubble tea. The cold drink, most often enjoyed with chewy tapioca pearls, was allegedly invented in Taiwanese tea shops in the 1980s. But that’s where consensus ends. Enjoyed hot or cold, it comes packaged in nearly Big Gulp-sized cups with vacuum-sealed covers, a jumbo straw and your choice of pearl.

Since taking off, bubble tea has inspired dozens of flavor varieties.

“I’d describe it as customizing your own type of tea,” says Tony Sisa-at, who works at Cozy Bubble Tea in Redmond.

Sisa-at says their most popular menu item is the original milk tea, but flavor lists can be dizzying, with green bean, taro, even kumquat offered in some tea shops.

“It can be an acquired taste,” admits Sisa-at. “But it’s appealing because you’re drinking something that you don’t expect.”

Whether it’s the flavor variability, or the chewy, sweet boba, this drink craze has taken off, leading to bubble tea joints all across the Eastside. Looking to satiate your craving? Check out the list we’ve put together…

• BELLEVUE •

Boba Express
Crossroads Mall
15600 NE Eighth St.
425-641-1165

T’latte
37 103rd Ave. NE, Ste. B
425-709-6868

Boba T
4056 Factoria Mall SE
425-643-9601

Cafe Ori
14339 NE 20th St.
425-747-8822

• ISSAQUAH •

Cafe Chi
80 SE Bush St.
425-278-1288

The Bubble Shack
4502 Klahanie Drive SE
425-557-5599

• KIRKLAND •

Bubble Me
238 Park Lane
425-298-3430

Cafe Happy
102 Kirkland Ave.
425-822-9696

• REDMOND •

Cozy Bubble Tea
14808 NE 24th St., Ste. A
425-747-4630

Tapioca Express
15230 NE 24th St., Ste. R
425-643-9406