Tea Talk and popping bubbles
Bubble tea, also known as boba tea, once referred only to tea with dark, chewy tapioca balls in it. It’s delicious, and how the trend got started. But tapioca balls are tricky little buggers. They have a very short shelf life once cooked … like 4 to 5 hours. They get softer the longer they sit in liquid. So, if your bubble tea purveyor doesn’t have high turnover, end of the day customers are going to get a mouthful of mush. (My personal policy became, “never buy a bubble tea with tapioca pearls from a place that doesn’t have a steady stream of customers coming out with them.”)
So, a range of alternatives joined tapoica pearls as the fun, chewy insert to your tea. Flavored jellies have been around almost as long as pearls, but I have never really been a fan. I was introduced to, and delighted by, chunks of aloe vera in Australia. (You can get one closer by at Rising Tide.) But the newest innovation pops!
Popping bubbles, pop pearls, popping boba — what are they? Imagine a tiny, edible water balloon. Now fill that water balloon with sweet goo, dump about 30 of them in a flavored tea, and you’ve got your bubble tea with popping bubbles. They’re available all over Chinatown, including the newly opened, exclusively drink-focused Tea Talk.
(Pictured: passion fruit green tea with tapioca pearls, mango yogurt tea with popping bubbles)
They offer popping bubbles and the full range of traditionally expected drinks. I am pleased to report that their traditional tapioca boba were done really well, nicely chewy without the dreaded hard center. If you’ve been mourning the loss of Zen Tea House and the Bubble House for your bubble tea outings, Tea Talk is here to fill the hole in your heart.
205 N 10th St (between Race and Vine)
Philadelphia, PA 19107
- secretsalt posted this