Bubble tea is a relatively new type of tea that many, many people all across the world are enjoying and raving over. However, as with anything that is new and different, there are people who have their problems with bubble tea.
One of the biggest problems that people have with bubble tea is that it tends to be a fair bit more expensive than all other types of tea, and a lot of people aren’t entirely sure why. For the most part, bubble tea doesn’t have anything particularly special or exclusive in it, so why should the price be as high as it is?
To understand where the price of bubble tea comes from, you also need to have a good understanding of how bubble tea is made, what is in bubble tea, and what makes it special. From there, you can begin to get a good sense of what goes into the price and whether or not it might be better for you to try and recreate it at home, rather than paying the prices that many cafes are charging.
What Exactly Is Bubble Tea?
Bubble tea, which is also known as boba tea, is a type of drink that originated in Taiwan during the 1980s and it hasn’t stopped gaining popularity from there, becoming a worldwide sensation between the 1990s and into the 2000s.
Bubble tea consists of a tea base, which may make use of milk or fruit, depending on the flavor of tea you purchase, and then is poured over dark bubbles that give this tea its famous name: bubble tea.
Those dark bubbles, which are the boba in boba tea, are made up of tapioca starch, brown sugar syrup, water, guar gum, and then formed into small bubble shapes to add to teas. The bubbles themselves are originally flavorless and chewy, adding to the texture of the tea and giving it its unique feature that sets it apart from all different kinds of teas.
To accommodate these tapioca pearls, bubble tea is often served in a clear or translucent container so that people can see the little orbs as they drink the tea, and it is served with a straw that is large enough to accompany these orbs. The balls can be different sizes, but they are usually large enough that they do require a special straw to go with them.
Bubble tea can be served in just about any flavor that tea can be served in, given that the tea itself isn’t any different than normal tea and that the only major feature setting bubble tea apart from other drinks is the tapioca orbs.
Commonly, bubble tea is served with milk tea or a fruit-flavored drink, although more unique shops may offer special flavors that can even go so far as to be savory drinks.
With that being said, bubble tea is not that complicated of a drink. In its most basic form, it is a type of tea (of your choice), served in a translucent or clear container and with a straw that is large enough to accommodate the tapioca pearls that sit at the bottom of the drink, giving it its famous name.
There shouldn’t be anything in the drink to make it as expensive as it is, right?
What Makes the Price of Bubble Tea?
Bubble tea, in it of itself, should not be that expensive. For the most part, the materials to create a serving of tea come up to less than a dollar, although this isn’t entirely honest as there is some more to pay.
For instance, there aren’t that many places that make the special tapioca orbs, which often means that they need to be ordered both in bulk and to be imported unless you know of a reliable manufacturer to make them.
Much of the cost of bubble tea accommodates this aspect of it, given that the rest of the tea is simply tea or another drink offered by the place you are purchasing it from.
Another cost to consider is that the nice translucent cups the tea comes in and the larger straws are slightly more expensive than the inexpensive, common coffee cups that people can bulk order from suppliers.
Again, they shouldn’t be so expensive to make the prices of bubble tea that people see and complain about, but this also factors into the reason why bubble tea is not the same price as other teas.
The final reason is that bubble tea is, undoubtedly, famous and trendy. Just about any food or drink that has become a trend or famous the way that bubble tea has is going to have a marked-up price so that companies and businesses can make more money from the tea than they otherwise would be able to.
After all, if there are people purchasing the tea at a 350% markup, then the businesses have no reason to stop selling the tea at that price and making a profit off it. There may come a time in the future when bubble tea is common enough that the price goes down and reflects the true price of materials, but as it stands, bubble tea is absolutely a trend and as such, it has the prices of a trendy drink.
You could likely make bubble tea at home, as it doesn’t require any special equipment, but it may not be directly less expensive. The cost to purchase the tapioca bubbles at once can easily dissuade someone from purchasing them to keep at home to make one’s own bubble tea with.
The question then becomes a matter of how much your bubble tea is worth to you, and whether or not you are willing to spend more at once as a one-time cost to make your own bubble tea, or if you don’t mind paying the price for bubble tea if it means that you don’t have to try and find someone to supply the tapioca balls from.
Bubble tea is famous, and there is no denying that, and because of this, bubble tea will have an artificially inflated price that fits something that has reached the level of fame that bubble tea has, leading to those expensive prices that make you groan when you want to purchase a cup of bubble tea.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.