Is bubble tea becoming the new Starbucks coffee in India?

Dristi Sharma
Dristi SharmaDec 19, 2023 | 08:00

Is bubble tea becoming the new Starbucks coffee in India?

The eternal battle between tea and coffee lovers continues in India, but there's a new beverage gaining immense attention, making its way into the Indian market – none other than bubble tea.

The viral drink 

Carrying a coffee cup while managing daily errands has been a trend in India influenced by the West. Shows like Gilmore Girls and Friends significantly contributed to the hype around coffee, but for some, bubble or boba tea has become their preferred choice.


While we're unsure about which series spurred this trend, social media undeniably played a role in popularising the drink in India.

Let's delve into some figures. Instagram alone hosts over 3 million posts tagged with #Bubbletea, while #Bobatea boasts around 1.3 million posts, showcasing the drink's popularity on the platform.

Why is it so popular?

The rise of bubble or boba tea in popularity has intrigued people worldwide to give this beverage a try.

Influencers, shifting their focus from coffee to Bubble tea, have sparked curiosity and led to a surge in trials, although it doesn't suit everyone's taste.

Another factor contributing to its fame is accessibility. Unlike Starbucks or specialty coffee, Bubble tea doesn't require equipment like a frother or coffee maker.

All it needs is your chosen drink base combined with Bobas (soaked tapioca balls), and your customized drink is ready. This simplicity has led to the emergence of numerous street shops selling Boba tea in metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi.

Besides street vendors, several chains have also begun selling bubble tea.


Bubble tea gained attention during the pandemic due to its accessible and novel nature.

A quick history of bubble tea

  • Originating in Taiwan during the 1980s, bubble tea emerged by adding tapioca pearls to sweet, cold tea.

  • The "bubbles" refer to chewy tapioca pearls (boba), included in various flavored teas and creamy milk teas.

  • Its unique textures, diverse flavors, and customizable options propelled its global fame.

  • By the 2000s, bubble tea became a staple in many countries, evolving into a beloved beverage culture.

  • With the advent of Covid and increased social media usage, Bubble tea is making a resurgence.

Which drink is your favorite: Tea, Coffee, or bubble tea?

Last updated: December 19, 2023 | 08:00
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