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Behind the Boba Balls

To really end the year by #treatingmyself, I set a goal to drink boba everyday for the last 10 days of 2018 while I visited home in Southern California. "Daily Boba" as I called it was only possible due to the emotional and financial support of my family and friends. I'm not even kidding. Ranging from $4-6 in the United States, this delicious beverage can really make a dent in your wallet. Plus, the response "you're going to get fat" can really deter the average person from pursuing this delicious dream. I looked that over and dove head first into Daily Boba, hitting up new boba joints around my hometown. As someone who gets inspired by food, my cravings for these chewy balls matched my desire to experiment with art. Thus Boba Art was born.

So, what the heck is boba?

Boba is also known as tapioca pearls, bubble tea, and to my recent knowledge "big breasts" (in Cantonese). Invented in Taiwan in the 80's, this Taiwanese drink became popular in the United States around the 90's. It is usually tea based combined with milk powder (and in some places fresh milk) or fruit with boba at the bottom! Nowadays you can get boba with all varieties of teas, smoothies, coffees, and flavors. The actual boba balls are made from mixing tapioca, a gluten-free starch extracted from the cassava plant, and sugar. My favorite part about eating the boba is that the consistency is similar to a blend of mochi and gummy bears!

A Lil History

My Taiwanese parents (as well as many other news sources) say that boba was founded in a tea house in Taichung, Taiwan, Chun Shui Tang 春水堂. The manager, Liu Han-Chieh played with the idea of serving cold tea with tapioca, fruits, and other ingredients. People loved it, and ever since then bubble tea spread throughout Taiwan and now globally!

"You're going to get fat."

Why was this the response I got 99% of the time I told people about Daily Boba? The drink itself is made with milk and a hefty amount of sugar. On top of that with all the carbohydrates and sugars, the amount of boba per drink usually contains about 300 calories. Of course this depends on the store, but usually nowadays you can adjust your sugar and boba levels. If you search the interwebs there are a lot of articles about the break down of boba and health concerns, but we're not going to get into that. And frankly, I could care less.

Boba is a delicious beverage, a great dessert, and for me, an inspiration to create some art!


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