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Boba milk tea

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Boba milk tea is a tea drink popular in China and Taiwan, known in English as boba tea, black pearl tea, bubble tea, or tapioca tea. It is said to have originated in Taichung[?], Taiwan.

Boba (波霸) literally means the "dominatrix of balls" in Mandarin and Cantonese, connoting the image of a busty woman. In Taiwan the drink is commonly referred to as "pearl milk tea" (珍珠奶茶 zhenzhu naicha). The "pearls" refers to the black gummy balls made of tapioca which sit in the mixture of sweetened ice tea and milk (and possibly other flavorings). The balls are generally about 1 cm in diameter and are sucked through a wide straw along with the drink, providing something to chew on between sips.

The recipes for boba tea vary and so does the taste. Most boba tea lovers need to shop around for their favorite vendors. Long lines outside stores usually serve as hints.

Instead of eating the chewy balls, some adolescents like to blow them out from the straw to shoot at targets or at each other. The drink is not just a beverage to them, it also provides a messy entertainment after the liquid is consumed.

The fad started out in Taiwan in the 1990s and has now spread internationally, mainly through local Chinese communities.

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