Bubblelicious Tea - Back in Taiwan!

Why hello there Boba-lovers! Ah, Autumn is upon us once again, the leaves turning golden brown falling from the trees, the air around you becoming noticeably cooler – Autumn is undoubtedly beautiful in the UK. But what if we don’t want Summer to be over just yet? We go on holiday! Ok, so it’s a working holiday but a change of scenery is just what we need to get inspired! And where better than the home sweet home of our favourite beverage?

Yup, the Bubblelicious Tea-m are back in Taiwan again, working endlessly to bring you the best of what truly traditional bubble tea has to offer! 

Before our flight out to Taiwan we stopped off in Cheung Chau, HK, for a day trip to the beach to get some inspiration. Of all the islands here in Hong Kong, Cheung Chau is one of our favourites – especially because of the small eats here!

Casava Crisp Twirls!     

There’s Cassava crisps – an alternative to potato crisps, equally as yummy and you get to choose your own flavourings – extra spicy for us! Did you know that tapioca is also made from the Cassava root as well?

The giant fishballs are a really popular island snack and you will find many stalls selling these – they are a must try if you are here. Also making their way into our ever expanding waistlines were these lovely homemade mochis filled with black sesame – so, so good!

      

We also saw Snow-Ice, Homemade fruity popsicles and DEEP FRIED ICE CREAM! Sounds bizarre but tastes divine! After watching the sunset whilst gorging on fresh seafood caught by the locals we prepare ourselves for phase 2 – TAIWAN!

3am starts are no fun! But there is much work to be done and we find ourselves landing in Taipei early in the morning ready to meet with a local tea supplier. The agent we are meeting with is enthusiastic and knowledgeable and we chat all the way from the airport to the factory. We first have a tour of the factory and our guide takes us through all the different rooms where the tea is processed - from where they are roasted to where they are packaged into the final product. The staff inside are very helpful and with the help of our guide answer all of the questions we have.

Having being in the business for a while we know about tea but being able to see how the humble tea leaf goes from fresh leaf to the dried leaves we brew was a revelation in itself – not an easy process!

After the tour and a spot of lunch we have the tasting session. We tried our existing tea leaves against different batches to see which one was best then there were new products and also some toppings – we pretty much tried everything!

      

After the tasting session with bellies fit to burst from sampling, our trusty guide takes us to the top bubble tea hotspots so we can check out what’s new.

Although bubble tea has been around since 1983 in Taiwan, there are no signs of it slowing down. There are more new tea houses than we remember – each sell bubble tea and have their own unique selling point and top product. We visited Happy Lemon, King Tea, Comebuy and Chun Shui Tang – we were impressed by all!

      

One drink to rule them all!

King Tea is a franchise that upon their opening became so popular that 100 stores were opened within a year – the secret to their success? ONE drink. What do they have in this drink that makes it so popular?

3 ingredients. ‘Say what?’ Yup, you heard right. Just 3 ingredients! And the taste – it sure left its mark on our palate, one of the team became addicted and had to stop at every King Tea we went past to get a fix!

Happy Lemon is another popular tea house – very popular with the ladies we hear because of the uber cute design and logo. It just goes to show that how you market your product is also very important. The drinks here were also excellent – we tried the tea with salted cheese foam. Now before you start pulling a face thinking ‘Euurgh! That sounds disgusting! That would never sell!’ – think again! Salty sweet drinks are really popular in Asia – don’t knock it before you try it, you might be pleasantly surprised!

The teas we tried at Comebuy and the ever popular Chun Shui Tang were simple black and oolong teas – earthy and refreshing. After the marathon tasting session we arrived at the hotel high on caffeine ready for the next few days of tea-filled madness.

Brand spanking new products!

We set off to Taichung early the next morning to meet another one of our suppliers. Taichung may not be Taipei with all its beautiful skylines and glamour but it has its own charm. Being back here gives us a feeling of familiarity and easiness – Taichung is definitely more chilled out!

Arriving at the suppliers we start sniffing around things we haven’t seen before, there’s a chorus of ‘ooh’s and ‘ahh’s when we see something we haven’t seen before – ‘What’s this?’ ‘Wow! What’s this?’ Luckily the team here are also very helpful and informative and suggest things we might be interested in. Among our favourite finds?

  

Tea Brewing Machine: Intrigued by anything that will help all our bubble tea clients back home we loved this tea brewing machine! What does it do? Uh, what it says on the tin – brews tea! This machine is hooked up to your water supply and mains and will brew your tea for you – you can input different settings for different teas (timing, temperature etc) and at the push of a button your tea will be ready in less than 10 minutes! This machine makes 8lts of tea each time – no more sitting around with a thermometer and a stopwatch! Truly a must-have for those tea connoisseurs - these will be available in the next few months with Bubblelicious Tea so enquire now.

Mini Jelly Tubs: We fell in love with these mini tubs of jelly! Perfect for showcasing what jellies you have available!

Fructose Pail Stand: Fructose weighs in at 25kg – this life (back) saver will make your life easier. The swinging motion makes it easier to pour out the fructose without making a mess or breaking up a sweat. Sweet! This will be available in December for you.

After our meeting we go out for lunch at one of our favourite tea-houses – Chun Shui Tang. The branch we went to in Taipei was their take out tea bar, the one we went to today is a proper tea house.

      

    

Although we have visited this tea house on many occasions previously (it is rumoured that the very first bubble tea was created here), we are always impressed. Everything is just how you would like a teahouse to be – the tea, the food, the setting – is this perfection? The standards always exceed our expectations and we leave holding our stomachs.

After an evenings work at the hotel we hit the Feng Chia night market to relax, shop and eat – can’t come all the way to Taiwan and not go to the night market! The atmosphere, sights and smells are exactly as we remembered – its almost as if we never left!

     

We tried something from this vendor having heard about him – he’s the Banana King! This guy has been on TV for coming up with this quirky idea. The banana is chilled so it’s a little like a creamy ice lolly, it is then dipped in chocolate and coated in either nuts or hundreds and thousands. The result? A delicious cool snack!

On a different day we visit another one of our suppliers – we talk like old friends and catch up on all the latest bubble tea news and what's happening worldwide. From this supplier we have a new product idea in the pipelines – we won’t give too much away yet but we’ll keep y’all posted!

        

   

After chatting in the office we move our meeting to a restaurant where we discuss bubble tea over lunch. The restaurant we go to specializes in chicken – not just chicken but chicken roasted in these giant pot like ovens over a longan wood fire. It’s the little details like this which make the food here so tasty – people will think how to improve the taste. Like tapioca – those of you who use our longan syrup in their tapioca will know what an improvement it makes on the taste. We will be bringing in another variation on the sugar syrup for you guys called ‘Black Diamond Syrup’ – look out for this on our shelves next month!

The trip is a blur of tea, tapioca, work, meetings and so much more!

Although we are sad to leave Taiwan we can’t wait to get back to the UK and start working to bring new products back for you guys! Oh, and perhaps work off some of those inches around our tummies that weren’t there before! So it’s goodbye for now dear Formosa, but we shall be back again soon!

 

 


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Bubblelicious Tea

Established in July 2010, the Bubblelicious Tea team have built our reputation up in the UK and Europe as having superb quality products with a customer service reputation to match. Now with more clients springing up internationally, we strive to ensure we always keep one step ahead of the trend. Our research and product sourcing has already taken us all around the world from the USA and Canada to Hong Kong and Japan that you can read about in our personalised blog - come and join us on our bubble tea adventure!

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