Bubble tea has finally made it’s way to Williamstown. Starting this semester, Goodrich Coffee Bar and Blue Mango have added bubble tea to their menus. While Goodrich hosts bubble tea nights on Tuesdays from 8-10pm, Blue Mango has launched bubble tea as a permanent option on their menu.
Bubble tea is a sweet, refreshing drink with a tea base. The syrupy base is then mixed with milk and often topped with chewy tapioca balls. Most first-time bubble tea drinkers are surprised by the texture of the chewy balls sunk at the bottom of the cup and find that using the wide straw to retrieve the tapioca balls is part of the experience.
Interestingly, bubble tea was invented on a whim by Lin Hsiu Hui in 1988 at the Chun Shui Tang Teahouse in Taiwan. One day at a meeting, Hui poured a sweetened tapioca ball pudding into his lukewarm tea and thought it was tasty, the drink was also well received at the meeting. The company put the product on the market, and saw it quickly grow in popularity throughout the 90s in East and Southeast Asia. Afterwards, the product had reached the US and Canada and is currently found in the hands of customers as often as any other style of tea.
The student who is credited for bringing bubble tea nights to Goodrich is Jane Dai ‘17. Jane shares, “there hasn't been a place on/near campus with bubble tea in the history of Williams (or at least to my knowledge), so I wanted to be able to give students something that they really wanted and could maybe make a rough weeknight slightly better. It's been super fun to be able to brew really good tea for our milk teas, as well as experiment with different flavor profiles and toppings. I never expected that bubble tea would be offered elsewhere, so I'm glad there's Blue Mango on non-Tuesday nights if people want boba.”
Pictures provided by Jane Dai.
Jane’s efforts have been appreciated by the Williams community. Tons of students flock to Goodrich for bubble tea nights. You can expect to wait in a line of excited students for roughly ten minutes before getting the special treat. Flavors and toppings include matcha, taro, thai, pomegranate green tea, popping lychee boba, grass jelly, jasmine green milk tea, and honeydew milk tea. The wide range of options make for an entertaining experience as well as a great study break.
Thai and Japanese restaurant Blue Mango recently released their own selection of bubble tea. Blue Mango employee, Wathoo Siwa, says her idea to begin offering bubble tea on the menu was not motivated by Goodrich’s bubble tea nights, rather, it was brought to the manager, her father, after she was a bubble tea barista in Columbus, Ohio.
Wathoo says they started selling around twenty to forty bubble tea drinks a day, but now that word has gotten out they have increased their sales by a lot.
Blue Mango offers five flavors: Taro, Matcha, Coffee, Mango, and Thai. Their most popular flavor is Taro, however Wathoo says her favorites are Thai and Matcha. Although their only topping is tapioca balls, they boil them for forty-five minutes every morning and consequently have a softer consistency than most other tapioca balls. Wathoo hopes to expand the number of toppings they offer if bubble tea sales continue to do so well.
Pictures provided by Wathoo Siwa.
Currently, there is no rivalry between the two establishments–although both Goodrich and Blue Mango are aware of the other’s product. Clearly there are some differences. While Goodrich excels in offering many options for tea flavors and toppings, Blue Mango makes a more flavorful syrup. Let it be noted that Goodrich bubble tea does our wallets a favor by selling bubble tea for only $3(and an additional $.50 for every topping), but it’s also worth paying $5 for Blue Mango’s bubble tea if you want to treat yourself Wednesday–Monday.