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Bubble tea, the drink that’s all the fashion in France

Posted Oct 21, 2022 6:01 AM

For his third bubble tea of ​​the week, it will likely be a mango smoothie with tapioca balls within the backside and a layer of cream cheese on prime. Seated at Tea Area, within the Xe district of Paris, Naomi Robin sucks up these marbles constituted of cassava flour with a big straw. On the highest, we not see the drawing that she “air dropped” from her iPhone to the machine drawing strains within the cream. “ I selected Dio, the unhealthy man from the anime ‘JoJo’ and Galwen selected Jotaro, the great man explains the 19-year-old scholar, smiling at her buddy.

Like 1000’s of youngsters and younger adults, it’s not in a café that they’ve chosen to satisfy however in one of many manufacturers of pearl drinks which are multiplying in French metropolises. “ There was 5 reference outlets in Paris earlier than the Covid. There are 100 right now », Estimates Marie Maisonnier, a lawyer who lists the completely different institutions on her Instagram account BubbleteainParis.

“Extra bubble teas than bakeries”

The joke within the neighborhood is that there at the moment are extra bubble teas than bakeries, abounds Fabio Rolando, a former laptop scientist who opened Bubbolitas close to Les Halles a decade in the past. On the time, there was just one restaurant in Paris, ‘ZenZoo’, rue Sainte-Anne, which provided bubble teas. There was no importer, you needed to discover your personal contacts in Taiwan. »

It was on this island off the coast of China that this drink was invented within the late Eighties. Two native manufacturers, Chun Shui Tang and Hanlin Tea Room, dispute its paternity. The primary is claimed to have “shaken” a combination of black tea, milk, ice cubes and brown sugar, giving rise to a beverage with plentiful foam on the floor. 5 years later, in 1987, one among its staff had the concept of ​​including tapioca balls to the underside: bubble tea, additionally referred to as boba tea, was born.

avenue meals

It is a drink that matches Taiwan’s avenue meals tradition, fueled by the island’s subtropical local weather. There will not be 4 meals like in France, we peck all day and the bubble tea permits us to eat and hydrate on the identical time. », factors out Rosalie Bun Ung, one of many pioneers of this drink in France. Having grow to be a day by day behavior within the archipelago, bubble tea has conquered China and the international locations of Southeast Asia, the place it has been obtainable in numerous variations, chilly or sizzling. “ In Vietnam, we do not use milk however an astringent inexperienced tea, with lemon or kumquat and tamarind”, explains Vân Nguyen, the proprietor of the Trà Artwork tea room close to the Saint-Martin canal. The Asian diasporas then imported the idea into Anglo-Saxon international locations, notably america, a rustic accustomed to take-out meals. Bubble tea has discovered its place there so nicely that Apple added it to the iPhone emojis in 2020.

In the drink, the tapioca pearls of the original recipe are often replaced by alginate pearls, which are more popular with Westerners.

Within the drink, the tapioca pearls of the unique recipe are sometimes changed by alginate pearls, that are extra common with Westerners.Name me George(s) for Les Echos Week-Finish

The phenomenon was slower in Europe. In France, the drink first gained over youngsters of Asian origin who acquired a style for it whereas on trip within the nation of their mother and father’ start. Aveline, a 25-year-old Parisian of Chinese language origin identified by the pseudonym of Empress Wu on Instagram, thus started to devour it in highschool within the XIIIe borough. “ It was our Asian factor that no person understood however that we have been proud to know. Then with the rise of Ok-Pop and the pattern of Asian avenue meals [bo buns, banh mis, mochis… NDLR]bubble tea has additionally entered the world of Asian followers »she says.

syrup pearls

This drink is the dietary extension of the urge for food of younger French folks for Asian cultural codes, comparable to manga. », Confirms Pierre Raffard, creator of Geopolitics of meals and gastronomy . Within the nation that spends essentially the most time on the desk on the planet, the success of this nomadic drink at a a lot increased price than a espresso (between 4 and eight euros) could be shocking. However Starbucks paved the best way, adopted by the Covid, which “ has anchored the observe of ‘to go’ within the habits “says Anissa Pomies, researcher specializing in consuming behaviors at emlyon.

Nonetheless, success was solely achieved as soon as the Taiwanese producers’ provide was redesigned for the European market, with the creation of alginate pearls (a gelling agent extracted from seaweed) encapsulating syrup to mimic the feeling of a bursting sweet within the mouth. “ They thought that the rubbery texture of the tapioca balls may postpone lots of people and that they have been too difficult to prepare dinner, as a result of they needed to be boiled for about forty minutes. “, regrets Rosalie Bun Ung, who campaigns for a bubble tea extra “ genuine “.

Recipes have additionally developed to incorporate increasingly components and attainable mixtures… with playing cards of as much as 60 choices. “ Bubble tea is the expression of the patron’s need for individualization, which has already made the success of poké, Decide Pierre Raffard. It’s the extension of a Americanization of consuming behaviors already seen within the nuclearization of the household meal. »

Toffee sponge

Indicators, which regularly take over wholesale outlets leaving the middle of Paris, should be artistic to be able to always renew themselves. The pattern right now is for dalgona bubble, a type of “toffee sponge” popularized by the Taiwanese chain Xing Fu Tang, and “slushes” like granitas. Including rolled oats, cornflakes or nata de coco jelly can also be common. Some shops push the originality as far as to supply an avocado yogurt lined with inexperienced tea jelly, whipped cream and walnuts, or a kefir, lychee and… activated charcoal smoothie!

Laïzé Marais boutique in Paris, founded by two Taiwanese.  More than 100 stalls offer bubble teas in Paris today;  they were only five before the Covid.

Laïzé Marais boutique in Paris, based by two Taiwanese. Greater than 100 stalls provide bubble teas in Paris right now; they have been solely 5 earlier than the Covid.John Periner

It is not a drink however a dessert acknowledges Empress Wu, who proudly claims to at all times select the mixture “ the weirdest “. A approach to make the thrill on Instagram. As a result of a big a part of the attraction of bubble tea is predicated on its aesthetics… This has been nicely understood by Taiwanese chains comparable to The Alley (greater than 300 shops worldwide), which have been rising their openings in France for the previous two years. “ They provideflower partitions or neon lights to permit their shoppers to take the very best pictures »says Empress Wu. Independents like Laïzé, based by two Taiwanese within the Marais, advocate a return to a much less candy and easier bubble tea.

Bubble Fever Academy

In any case, the success of this drink is attracting increasingly candidates: within the logistics space of ​​Saint-Thibault-des-Vignes, one hour east of Paris, Moïse, a former ramp agent at Roissy, locations gently a layer of condensed milk then vanilla powder in a plastic cup.

For the previous two years, Rosalie Bun Ung has provided coaching to these wishing to open their very own store, usually French immigrants who see it as a chance to get into quick meals with out an excessive amount of capital. This daughter of Cambodian refugees, who additionally organizes bubble tea stands at occasions such because the Japan Expo and gives kits to people and professionals, welcomed 30 college students to her “Bubble Fever Academy” in 2021, 4 occasions greater than the ‘final 12 months. “At first it was restoration professionals, now we’ve got a watchmaker, a memento store proprietor, a mechanic… she enumerates.

Rosalie Bun Ung, co-founder of Bubble Fever, the origin of the distribution of this drink in France, opened the Bubble Fever Academy, a training center for all those who wish to open their shop.

Rosalie Bun Ung, co-founder of Bubble Fever, the origin of the distribution of this drink in France, opened the Bubble Fever Academy, a coaching heart for all those that want to open their store.DR

A frantic growth which is able to run out of steam, affirms Bernard Boutboul, the president of the consulting agency in restoration Gira. “Bubble teas will comply with the trail of kebabs, that are experiencing a excessive turnover. The common ticket may be very low and there will not be sufficient volumes as a result of they don’t provide mealsr. »

European manufacturing?

The opposite problem is the availability chain, with merchandise coming virtually completely from Taiwan. “ We needed to diversify our suppliers when the Covid precipitated issues with container transport to Poland, with longer length and better prices. With the specter of a battle between China and Taiwan, it was a really smart determination”, says Jakub Woźniczka, head of Loopy Bubble. The most important Polish bubble tea franchise, additionally a wholesaler for its rivals, has launched a small manufacturing of alginate balls and syrups in two factories.

In France, two younger entrepreneurs launched Nostea, an organization manufacturing syrup balls, close to Montpellier. In Finistère, Amande Valladier, whose firm Phileas Lounge imports components from Taiwan for resale, wish to benefit from the area’s know-how in seaweed to do the identical. However the highway stays lengthy: My handicap is that bankers have by no means heard of bubble tea… besides by probability once they have youngsters! »

The big distribution can also be getting concerned

For the reason that starting of the 12 months, the Belgian meals wholesaler Meals Companions has been supplying bubble teas combining inexperienced tea, fruit-flavoured syrups and alginate pearls to Hyper U, Carrefour, Cora and Auchan. Bought between 4 and 5 euros, the drink represents 50% of the expansion of the recent fruit juice division of the northern distributor, which has provided six varieties in its 330 factors of sale since Might. With 3 million euros of turnover within the varied banners, the provide ended up on the prime of the Nielsen rating of the very best launches of recent and self-service client merchandise after three months of presence in shops, forward of the brand new Silver beer from Heineken and the Duo darkish and white chocolate biscuit from Kinder.

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