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  • Boba.

  • It's taken the world by storm.

  • It's exciting.

  • Cheers.

  • Two men on a mission to make better boba, which is milk tea with tapioca pearls.

  • But what exactly is boba, and what's with all the hype?

  • [How boba came to be]

  • Invented in the 80s, boba is a popular beverage that originates from Taiwan.

  • Still, the West is just beginning to understand it.

  • The New York Times famously called it the blobs in your tea and promptly issued an apology after all the backlash.

  • Both of these tea shops in Taiwan claim they were the first to invent boba in the '80s.

  • As the story goes, someone working at the shop decided to put tapioca pearls into tea on a whim, and liked it.

  • [Side note: The addition of brown sugar in later recipes is what made them look like this.]

  • But tapioca isn't indigenous to Asia.

  • It's a starch derived from the cassava root, a tuber native to South America.

  • It came to Asia in the 19th century via Portuguese traders.

  • And it thrived in Taiwan because Taiwan has a similar subtropical climate to parts of South America.

  • Modern boba pearls are made by combining tapioca starch with brown sugar water.

  • They're then submerged in a mix of tea and non-dairy milk creamer.

  • But where did the word "boba" come from?

  • It's actually slang in Chinese for "big boobs," and came to be associated with the drink in 1988, when a southern Taiwanese tea shop named their tapioca drinks after Hong Kong sex symbol Amy Yip.

  • Her nickname?

  • Boba.

  • Today, the drink is all over Asia, and has quite a following in the States, mostly in California and New York, where there are significant Taiwanese-American populations.

  • There's a regional divide in what the different coasts call the beverage.

  • But vernacular aside, those starchy, gooey pearls have become an important symbol of Asian-American culture.

  • We call it boba, you might call it bubble tea.♪

  • Fill up a stamp card, might get a couple free.♪

  • It's Chinese culture to stay with a cup of tea.♪

  • We updated...♪

  • Google search trends over the last five years shows a huge increase in searches for the drink across the United States.

  • And the global market is expected to balloon to 3 billion USD by 2023.

  • And three decades since its invention, it doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.

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