Bubble tea, also known as pearl milk tea or boba milk tea, is a Taiwanese tea-based drink invented in tea shops in Taichung, Taiwan, during the 1980s. The term “bubble” is an Anglicized imitative form derived from the Chinese bōbà (波霸) meaning “large breasts,” slang for the large, chewy tapioca balls commonly added to the drink. These are (粉圓, fěnyuán), also called “pearls” (珍珠, zhēnzhū). Most bubble tea recipes contain a tea base mixed with fruit or milk. Ice-blended versions are usually mixed with fruit or syrup, resulting in a slushy consistency.
There are many variants of the drinks, and many kinds of types are used and ingredients added. The most popular bubble drinks are bubble milk tea with tapioca and bubble milk green tea with tapioca.