New Year, New Tea

By Constance Lam

This time last year, my friends and I were seated on a bedroom floor bemoaning the lack of bubble tea in Durham and reminiscing about the wide array of tea beverages available in our respective home cities, including Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Chennai.

As first year students with too much time and too much tea to drink, the genesis of Durham University’s first was the only natural course of action at the time. A year from now, we have created a space for an ever-growing community of bubble tea fans, and this would not be possible without our collective bubble tea addiction. Since our conception, two new bubble tea shops have opened in Durham.

I would argue that the act of making someone a cup of tea is a love language in its own right. 

Growing up with Chinese parents, tea has been an integral part of my life. Instead of apple juice, I grew up drinking boxes of lemon tea, and at Sunday dimsum our teacups would never remain empty, filled to the brim with either green tea, Pu’er, or tieguanyin. Almost every social interaction I have had revolves around the act of tea-drinking: as there are so many varieties of tea, there is something for everyone.

I love tea because of the joy it brings me and because of how many possibilities, or possibili-teas, they bring. If this pun elicits the desire to spill a scalding cup of tea over my head, I don’t blame you. Tea-rrible puns aside, nothing makes me happier than finding a tea for every mood.

I wanted to share the comfort and happiness that bubble tea gives me to the wider student community at Durham.

Stressed about summatives? Make yourself an Earl Grey, or a caffeine-free cup of fruit tea (my favourites include strawberry-raspberry and mango-strawberry). Feeling bloated and hungover after a night of questionable drinks and greasy pizza? After a steaming cup of green tea, you will emerge the next day as a new person.  I love that tea provides comfort and fulfillment that extends beyond the verbal; I would argue that the act of making someone a cup of tea is a love language in its own right. 

While I love drinking tea by itself, bubble tea is something that holds a very special place in my heart. I wanted to share the comfort and happiness that bubble tea gives me to the wider student community at Durham.

Bubble tea is tea accompanied with sweet, round tapioca pearls, which have a light, chewy consistency. It is highly customisable and versatile: when ordering bubble tea, customers are typically able to choose their tea base, flavourings, the level of sweetness, the level of ice, and toppings. The most iconic flavour of bubble tea is the original milk tea with pearls.

The milky black tea is simultaneously light and sweet: accompanied with the rich astringency of the black tea, and the chewy, flavourful tapioca pearls, this culminates in a harmonious marriage of flavours like no other. Other popular flavours include jasmine milk tea (among my personal favourites), taro milk tea, and matcha milk tea with red beans. Bubble tea originated in Taiwan and its global popularity grows with every cup consumed (or in my case, inhaled within minutes).

Nothing warms my heart more than when someone makes me a cup of tea, unless they buy me bubble tea. If you want to share this joy with others, come find our society on our social media platforms (Facebook or Instagram, @dububbletea.societea). Remember that people have cried over spilt milk, but nobody will cry over spilt tea. 

Image: via Unsplash

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