Monday, March 2, 2009

Bringing in the New Year with a Bit of the Bubbly

Hello TEA Friends!

I know, it isn't exactly the "New Year", but the "bubbly" I'm referring to isn't the effervescent, golden-hued adult beverage, either. No, the drink I rang in the second month of 2009, was the trendy curiosity that I've been anxious to try ever since I heard about it a few year's back - bubble tea!

Bubble tea is an unlikely combination of black tea, fruit juices, milk and "pearls", the little tapioca drops that fall to the bottom of the glass likes rows of miniature cannon balls. It's an interesting, if not necessarily appetizing, look, to be sure.

As you might suspect, this drink is more popular with the "younger set" and by that, I mean college kids. My college sophomore daughter, knowing that I'm always up for a new tea experience, suggested we visit "Bubble Island" in East Lansing a few weeks ago and I couldn't wait to go.

Bubble Island is a growing franchise on college campuses and this particular "tea room" has resided on Grand River, hub of the local campus retail strip, since 2004.

I ordered, I believe, a passion fruit drink, and Rachel having sampled bubble tea before, opted for her drinks "sans" pearls. I think that may be my choice in the future as well. The drink was sweet and tasty, but the gummy bear spheres that slid up my straw when I wasn't paying attention, were chewy, and by my fourth slurp, a bit annoying.

Bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the 1980's and began as a fun treat for the little ones. It made it's way to California where it proliferated like Starbucks, with a bubble tea outlet on every corner. Today, it's found a welcoming home on college campuses and continues to be a popular drink with the same folks who are tutoring us on Facebook.

And in that vein, I sometimes feel for my kids - their culture and fads get invaded by us baby boomers like our entitlement generation has approached so many other things. We invade their music, their movies, their TV shows and, yes, even Facebook, as our territories leaving them little to claim as their own. In this instance, however, I surrender to you this bubble tea. It belongs to those with a "refined sugar palate". I still prefer my tea in a china cup and my pearls around my neck, but, thirty years ago, I would have given this a mood ring-adorned thumbs up!

Yours in TEA and friendship,


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