In the 1980s, bubble tea came to its current fruition in Taiwan, but its creation began in the 1940s. A mixologist named Chang Fan Shu had been working at an izakaya in Japan during the second world war. In 1949, he opened his own tea shop and began selling iced tea shaken in a cocktail shaker. This process of handshaken tea is called “shou yao” and is still essential to making proper bubble tea.
However, it wasn’t until the mid-80s when Taiwanese entrepreneur, Tu Tsong He, jumped on the tea shop trend that was taking over the island after his hot pot restaurant failed to take off. Tu began experimenting with tea and the tapioca pearls he’d snacked on as a child in order to create something that set him aside from other tea shops. Thus, inventing what we know today as Pearl Milk Tea. His first tea shop, Hanin, opened in 1986 and became the first store to sell the drink that is still so popular today worldwide.
Many others have claimed that they are the originators of bubble tea, but after a long time of debate, it is safe to say that regardless of its first creator, anybody can make and sell bubble tea!