A SRILANKAN TWIST TO BUBBLE TEA
Many of us know and enjoy drinking bubble tea. The milky cool drink with tapioca starch spheres settled at the bottom provides the perfect haven for a tiring hot summer's day.
In Sri Lanka however, this bubble tea is not truly known. Being asked for bubble tea is not very common in Srilankan households nevertheless there DOES exist such a thing as bubble tea. It is a hilarious rendition and has nothing in common with the bubble tea we know of here in Canada, no, no. It is just a fun way of having your tea!
When you are at a friend's house and you know the mother quite well enough to not get smacked, you request how you would like your tea. You say "I want mine with extra bubbles please!" and a few minutes later your friend gets his/her tea neatly served in a tea cup and you get yours filled to the brim precariously with bubbles!! Now that is what a bubble tea is in Sri Lanka, it's literally bubbles in your tea! Not fizzy, not externally added, not artificial it is just simple tea bubbles.
To silly tea lovers like us, we enjoy making this shamelessly strange request to have a jovial time sipping this tea. We do guarantee that drinking this bubbled tea adds a whole new level of experiencing tea! Once you take a nice noisy sip of the top layer of bubbles, you adventure through to get the tea that just lies there waiting for you at the lower half of the cup! Once you work your way through the bubbles and take a sip of that wonderful tea...you are in bliss. You look over at your friend with a smiling moustache of bubbles and notice your friend's face displays extreme envy and you know perfectly why; his/her tea is way too hot to sip. The scientific advantage of this bubbled tea if you observed, is that although our teas were freshly boiled together, the bubbled tea was drinkable while on the other hand the tongue of your friend is at a great great risk of burning. For bubbled tea you see, the tea has to undergo a certain artistic process to form the bubbles and during this process the boiling hot tea simmers down to that perfect warmth that allows you to enjoy your tea nice and hot, yet keeping your tongue safe and sound from any risk of burns.
How did this mental idea of bubbles in your tea even come to be?? Well to confess, the bubbles were never the focal point of reason at all actually. When visitors came over and tea was traditionally boiled to serve them, the housewives invented a simple and admirable way of simmering down the tea to the perfect temperature for these visitors to enjoy. The bubbles alas were a happy consequence of their cooling process and then unruly mischief makers like us fell in love with the bubbles. Thus began the dawning of bubble tea that we love and have no pride when it comes to admitting our love for it.
Now surely you must be curious how this bubbling process is conducted?!
- Tea is first boiled with all the add-ons such as sugar, spice and milk as the key ingredient to bubbling the tea.
- The boiling hot tea is then poured from pan to tea cup.
- The tea is poured back again in reverse order from tea cup to pan.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3!
During the repeated pouring you must make sure the hot tea is poured through a longer distance. The longer the distance the tea is poured through, the more bubbles appear and the longer they last. So you would keep as much distance as humanly possible between the pan and the cup while it is being poured. The challenge after several experiments and trials, is safeguarding the tea. Countless times in our ordeals have we lost good tea...countless times have we only had a few ounces of tea left in our tea cup...the rest splattered only God knows where. The challenges don't stop there! All of this mind you has to be completed within a limited time frame. This is a cooling process if you recall, so during steps 2 and 3 the tea cools down and if the tea gets too cool and that perfect heat is gone we will lose the intensity and strength of our bubbles. We loose our bubbles!! However if we don't get carried away with all the bubbles appearing right before our eyes and we manage to stop the bubbling at the perfect warmth, the bubbles are strong and very easy to handle. They become sturdy enough for you to be able to transfer the bubbles alone with a spoon.
We are sure you will now share our sentiment of how bubbled tea is an intricate way of tea-life. Along the way in time, the evolution of different tea cooling styles arose. There are those tea-artists who pour the tea so smoothly from utensil to utensil with such long heights that it defies gravity! There are even more who accomplished this without spilling a single drop of tea!
Although our trials usually average around retaining half the amount of tea we started off with, the sincerity and relentless determination in trying to show you how it is done helped us make this video just for you!
Click ahead and have fun!