Are Young Americans Drinking More Boba Tea?
One of the United States’ greatest strengths has always been integrating and welcoming aspects of other cultures into the country. This is evident in the country’s preferred food and beverages, a vibrant mixture of cuisines from all over the world. The latest cultural import that Americans have wholeheartedly adopted is boba tea.
Boba tea is steadily gaining popularity in the United States. A tea drink filled with delicate and chewy tapioca balls, the East Asian beverage is fast becoming a favorite among young Americans. While it is said to originate in the state of California, boba tea is breaking into new markets amid increasing demand.
If we closely study the consumption patterns of young Americans, it can be concluded that boba tea is being consumed more than ever before. Let’s explore how popular boba tea is and if its upward trajectory will fall anytime soon.
The Origin Story of Boba Tea
The popularity of boba tea seems to be relatively recent, and a look into its history would confirm that observation. Its origins can be traced back to Taiwan in the late 80s. Milk tea and tapioca balls were popular on their own as a drink and dessert when someone thought of combining the two, and that’s how boba tea was invented.
Chilled milk tea filled with chewy tapioca balls quickly took the Taiwanese food culture by storm, and soon many boba tea stalls popped up offering different fruit-flavored boba teas. Soon enough, the milk in the tea was also replaced with non-dairy creamer, giving it the rich and creamy taste boba is now known for.
Boba soon became a nightlife staple in Taiwan, and the trend also reached the United States via Taiwanese immigrants in the 90s. Most of the immigrants resided in California. Therefore, the state can claim to be the place where boba really took off in the United States.
Despite being a completely different drink with chewy bits, Americans really took to boba tea, and now it is as commonly available as regular coffee drinks. The rise of boba also coincided with the coffee shop culture and the ubiquity of chains such as Starbucks. The beverage, therefore, entered the American market at the perfect time.
Are Young Americans Drinking More Boba Tea?
Often, a food trend takes a place’s culinary culture by storm, but there is no guarantee that consumers will return for it and make it part of their regular diets. The pearlescent tapioca balls of boba tea have continued to capture the imaginations of Americans, and one can even argue that more boba tea is being consumed than ever before.
With coffee being the primary go-to beverage for Americans, many people wonder if boba tea can generate similar demand. However, coffee’s grip on the American beverage market is slowly loosening with demographic change. A recent survey done by CLSA in 2021 showed that 94% of the surveyed aged between 20 and 29 bought boba tea in the last month.
More exposure to foods from other countries, thanks to the internet, and a willingness to try new foods in the younger generation have largely changed the tastes of Americans. Boba cafes, which Asian Americans once predominantly frequented, are now seeing a more diverse consumer base. This acceptance of boba tea among young Americans means the beverage is yet to experience a new peak in the American food culture.
The boba tea market is projected to reach a global market share of $3.39 billion by 2027. These positive indications show that there is a growing demand for the drink.
Why Are Young Americans Attracted to Boba Tea?
A major attraction for the drink is the customization factor. Consumers can choose between different tea and fruit flavors, and some cafes even provide different spins on tapioca balls. The exploding tapioca balls provide a burst of fruit juice on chewing is the latest addition to the ever-growing type of boba tea. There are also boba teas made with oat milk and artificial sweeteners to appeal to health-conscious consumers.
A major reason for its popularity is young people’s more flexible taste in food and drink. Unlike older audiences, younger people are much more prone to trying new foods from different cultures. This
culinary acceptance led to boba’s second peak of popularity and its introduction outside California. A good comparison to boba would be sushi—an East Asian food adopted wholeheartedly by an American audience and then tweaked to appeal to American sensibilities.
The boba tea from Taiwanese stalls has taken a life of its own in the much different American market, and you can now buy all sorts of artisan boba teas. Outlets providing boba with ethically- sourced tea leaves, plant-based sweeteners, and fresh fruit are signs of the drink taking the American market by storm. With all the opportunities the drink provides for innovation, it is not becoming any less popular any time soon.
Boba continues its upward trajectory in the American street food scene, and bubble tea joints continue to pop up in different cities. The consumption patterns of young Americans indicate that a bubble tea business can be an excellent investment. If you are looking to start a bubble tea business to get in on the profitable drink, you need an excellent supplier to provide quality boba to your customer.
Fanale Drinks provides American-made tapioca balls, syrups, flavoring powders, and tea to several boba tea businesses all over the country. Fanale is your one-stop solution for all your equipment and ingredients if you want to establish a boba business.
We also provide classes to help you make the best boba tea with our products. Visit our website now to find all you need to get started on a business that will provide the freshest and most delicious boba tea to all its customers.
- Nancy Palmer