台灣的國民飲料

──珍珠奶茶
:::

2012 / 8月

文‧林欣靜 圖‧莊坤儒


外國人口中的「QQ milk tea」、「pearl milk tea」、「Bubble Tea」、「Boba Tea」,指的都是有「台灣國飲」之稱的珍珠奶茶。珍珠奶茶主要由紅茶、奶精與粉圓所組成,看似不搭軋的數種食物,卻在雪克杯的搖晃中,激盪出香濃Q滑、讓人一喝難忘的特殊口感。珍珠奶茶的發跡歷程,更見證了台灣茶飲市場的創新與創意。


珍珠奶茶的前身是泡沫紅茶,據悉,泡沬紅茶最早應始於1949年台南「天馬茶房」的手搖紅茶,其後天馬茶房將這項技術傳給台南老字號的茶坊「雙全紅茶」,泡沫紅茶也日益普及。

1980年代,珍珠奶茶正式問世,但怎麼來的卻有兩種說法。台中知名茶舖「春水堂」老闆劉漢介堅稱,早自1983年,店內即嘗試製作珍珠奶茶,並研發出這項新飲品。從小愛吃粉圓的研發經理林秀慧與人事經理沈銅娥,分別是珍珠奶茶的發明人與命名人。

台南翰林茶館的老闆涂宗和也不甘示弱地指稱,1987年時,他在台南鴨母寮市場看到白色粉圓,激盪出將粉圓加入奶茶的靈感,因此早期珍珠奶茶的粉圓為白色,後來才改為混入焦糖液的黑色粉圓。

帶動珍奶產業線

為爭第一,春水堂和瀚林茶館甚至對簿公堂,但最後因法院難以判定誰是始祖,兩家茶舖均無法註冊專利權和商標權,珍珠奶茶反而因此紅遍大街小巷。

80年代末期,台南市的草蜢泡沫紅茶店,由香港豔星葉子楣豐滿的胸部得到靈感,將大粒粉圓命名為「波霸」,從此波霸奶茶也成為珍珠奶茶的別稱;為了方便顧客飲用圓Q的粉圓,材料供應商還特別開模,製作了口徑較粗的大吸管。

90年代以降,珍珠奶茶日益風行,躍升為泡沫紅茶店的主力菜單,為了縮短作業時間、因應快速增加的外帶族群,業者陸續推出了自動封口機、雪克杯搖搖機、果糖定量機等多項發明,龐大的珍奶產業鏈正式成形,休閒小站、樂立杯、快可立等大型連鎖茶飲店也迅速崛起。

重視口感的品牌時代

由於新鮮現搖的茶飲,口感與預先調好的差異極大,21世紀後,嘴巴被養刁的台灣消費者,對手搖茶飲的茶香、鮮度及口味變化等要求也日趨嚴格,大量複製的低價茶飲逐漸乏人問津,取而代之的是以品牌經營、走較高單價路線(中杯加珍珠約30元起跳)的特色連鎖茶飲。

目前國內市占率第一、已有上千家分店的「清心福全」,就以單純的茶飲最受好評,如「烏龍綠茶」即為人氣最高的熱賣商品;「50嵐」排名第二,奶茶、奶綠則被評為必點商品;若是想嘗鮮試試「金鑽鳳梨水果茶」等新口感茶飲,則以市占第三「CoCo都可茶飲」勝出⋯⋯。不同品牌各自擁有廣大支持者。

珍珠奶茶現已成為台灣連鎖茶飲的泛稱,業者還推出仙草、愛玉、蒟蒻、椰果、果凍、米苔目等多種配料,光是國內市場的年產值,估計已高達新台幣300億元。如今在業者的耕耘下,珍珠奶茶也從台灣跨足全世界。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Boba: The People’s Drink

Lin Hsin-ching/photos by Chuang Kung-ju/tr. by Scott Williams

Known variously as QQ milk tea, pearl milk tea, bubble tea, and boba, Taiwan’s “national drink” is a sweet, cold tea (usually black) with milk and tapioca “pearls.” It may seem like an odd mix of ingredients, but it works, and the firm, chewy “pearls” give the beverage a unique and unforgettable mouthfeel.


The development of this tasty treat is a testament to the creativity of Taiwan’s tea-beverage industry. Pearl milk tea began life as “bubble tea,” an iced, shaken black tea beverage. It is thought to have been created in 1949 in a Tai­nan teashop called “Tian Ma Tea.” Tian Ma passed on its shaken tea to “Shuang Quan Tea,” a venerable Tai­nan institution, and bubble tea spread from there.

Milk tea with “pearls” made its official debut in the 1980s, but there are two versions of the story. Liu Han­jie, owner of Tai­chung’s renowned Chun Shui Tang teahouse, insists that his shop was experimenting with a bubble tea with milk and “pearls” as early as 1983, and developed the drink. He credits R&D manager Li Xiu­hui, who has loved tapioca pearls since she was a little girl, with inventing the drink, and human resources manager Shen Tong’e with naming it.

Tu ­Zonghe, owner of Tai­nan’s Han­lin Tea, argues no less vehemently that he came up with the idea of adding “pearls” to milk tea after seeing white tapioca pearls in Ya­mu­liao Market in 1987. He says that’s why the pearls used in the pearl milk tea of those days were white. It was only later that people began making the pearls dark by adding a little liquid caramel to the mix.

Firing up the production line

Chun Shui Tang and Han­lin even took their battle over who was first to court. When the court was unable to resolve the issue, neither Liu nor Tu was allowed to register a patent or trademark, freeing the beverage to spread far and wide.

At the end of the 1980s, Tainan’s Cao Meng Bubble Tea rechristened its large pearls “boba” (“big boobs”) in honor of Hong Kong star Amy Yip’s ample cleavage. Pearl milk tea has been known as “boba” ever since.

Boba’s popularity has been growing steadily since the 1990s, making it a staple of bubble-tea shop menus. Seeking to cut the amount of time spent making drinks and better meet the growing demand for carry-out orders, the industry automated many of the steps in the drink-making process by developing devices that measure out fructose, shake drinks, and seal cups. As this production chain took shape, franchise boba shops such as Easy Way, Lollicup, and Quickly began to emerge.

A focus on mouthfeel

The flavor and mouthfeel of freshly made tea beverages can vary widely, and over the last decade increasingly picky Taiwanese consumers have come to expect a lot of their handmade drinks. Nowadays, most people prefer brand names to cheap drinks, and tend to opt for the higher priced offerings from specialty beverage shop chains (NT$30 for a medium-sized milk-tea boba).

Ching Shin, which has more than 1,000 outlets and is currently Taiwan’s largest tea chain by market share, is highly regarded for its “pure” tea beverages. Its “oolong green tea” is its most popular drink. Taiwan’s second-largest chain, 50 Lan, is better known for its milk teas. And if you’re looking for something with a twist, say a “gold diamond pineapple tea,” consider giving Taiwan’s number-three chain, Coco Fresh Tea & Juice, a shot.

These days, “boba” is synonymous with “teashop chain,” and vendors are continuing to innovate, introducing new garnishes ranging from grass jelly, aiyu jelly, konnyaku, and nata de coco to flavored gelatins and silver needle noodles. With annual domestic revenues already in the neighborhood of NT$30 billion, the industry is still growing and is now spreading “boba” around the globe.

X 使用【台灣光華雜誌】APP!
更快速更方便!