Origins of Boba Tea – Who Invented It?

Boba tea, also known as bubble tea, is a tea drink that typically contains tapioca balls or pearls. Although the origin of boba tea cannot be determined, it is believed to have originated in Taiwan in the 1980s.

 What are the Origins of Boba Tea?

 Boba tea, also known as pearl milk tea, or bubble tea, is a Chinese tea-based drink. Boba Tea is invented in the 1980s in Taiwan.

A translucent tapioca ball is known as Fen Yuan ( 粉圓) has been served in ice sugar syrup as a refreshing beverage to mitigate the harsh Taiwanese summer heat. As far back as the 1950s, this tapioca ball has been around before Boba become a core ingredient. 

Who invented Boba Tea?

Chun Shui Tang and Hanlin Teahouse both claim to be the inventors of bubble tea in Taiwan. In the article, we will find out more on their claims on the origins of Boba Tea.

Chun Shui Tang claims to invent Boba Tea

Chun Shui Tang – Origin of Pearl Milk Tea (Boba Tea)

In 1983, Mr. Liu Han Chieh, opened the “Yangxian Tea Shop” on Siwei Street, Taichung. This beverage shop was the predecessor of Chun Shui Tang. In 1987, Chun Shui Tang branch manager Lin Hsiuhui added the chewy tapioca balls to the milk and accidentally developed the early forms of Boba Tea or Pearl Milk Tea. Fruit, syrup, sweet potatoes, and tapioca balls were among the ingredients that were introduced at that time.

Hanlin Teahouse claims to invent Boba Tea.

Tu Zonghe, the founder of the Hanlin Teahouse in Tainan City, also said that Boba originated from Hanlin Teahouse. It is said that he was inspired by seeing white powder balls in the Ya Mu Liao market in 1986. In an experiment, white tapioca balls is added it to milk tea, and finally succeeded in blending the two ingredients. The boiled tapioca balls were “white and clear” similar to pearls, so it is named “pearl milk tea”.

Lawsuit to determine the inventor

After 10 years of squabbling, the 2 Boba shops owners decided to go to court to determine who had the right to claim the inventor of Boba Tea.

The court finally determined that as it has been some time and not easy to verify, Boba tea should be considered a new type of beverage that any person and any boba tea shop can make. This cannot be a patented product.

Both parties have expressed that it is no longer that important to determine who invented the Boba Tea beverage. 

Final Thoughts

Since Boba Tea is invented in the 1980s, many shops have continuously innovated the Boba Tea taste and variety. Boba Tea popularity has since spread to countries all over the world.

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