Newcastle is flooded by the sea of Bubble Tea

Aruzhan Sagynay tells us her 101 on bubble tea

Jade Aruzhan Sagynay
7th November 2019
image: Rosalind Chang (unsplash)
The variety of drinks existing in Newcastle is ever growing. Students moving into the city every year can no doubt rest assured that they will find at least one to their liking. With popular coffee chains and a huge number of pubs and bars, there is always something to taste and try in this city.

And Bubble Tea is no exception. This particular drink is getting increasingly popular among the residents, and especially students, of Newcastle. It is overtaking the city with its ever growing fan base and it doesn’t want to stop.

When tapioca balls were introduced to the industry, adding them to the flavoured tea became the newest trend

For those people who have been stuck studying in the library for long enough to miss the rise of this sweet drink, here is an overview of what it is. “Bubble Tea” is essentially a tea based drink with flavours and toppings. It has originated in Taiwan in early 1980’s and had children as their targeted customers. After school, kids often wanted a cool refreshing drink and many tea-stand owners competed in selling their products. One such owner infused his teas with fruit flavours which attracted more children. This addition required the tea to be shaken for an even taste and that produced bubbles, which in turn resulted in the name “Bubble Tea”. When tapioca balls were introduced to the industry, adding them to the flavoured tea became the newest trend. Thus, the original name stuck.

In Newcastle, one of the earliest shops to starts selling the drink was Bubble T Break in late 2012. It became an instant success among students prompting the owner to set himself a goal of turning it into a chain. Chatime, has located itself in Eldon Square in January 2017. It was originally established in Taiwan in 2005 and quickly became a world-wide known chain. Over the span of a few years, some great places like Bubble Cha and Joyo Handmade popped up nearby the Newcastle University campus. However, another notable addition to the industry happened in August 2018, when the city centre saw the opening of Manhua Cha’s first ever permanent shop. Previously it has travelled all over UK starting June 2016. The name “Manhua” comes from Chinese and means “impromptu sketches”; Manhua is a comic series produced in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong; the name therefore means “Comic Tea”. Two of the most recent additions to the Newcastle bubble tea scene are Utepia Tea and Mua Cha.

With this many options to choose from, here is my “Author’s Guide to Bubble Tea in Newcastle”:

Personal favourite: Bubble Cha. Close proximity to campus, reasonable prices, welcoming staff.

All-things-bubble-tea: Manhua Cha. For those who prefer to make their own tea at home, you can find all the ingredients you need here.

Take her on a Date: Joyo Handmade. Although there is a long wait, the tea in this cute cosy place has the smoothest texture and most pleasant taste.

My Next Stop: Utepia Tea. A place I am hoping to explore soon due to many recommendations.

Now my only question is: how long do we have to wait for a bubble tea place to open at the SU?

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