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Jun 10, 2002 09:39 AM

Pearl (Bubble) Tea at the Burlington Mall

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Much to my surprise, a little pearl tea cart has opened in the Burlington Mall, on the first floor down toward Sears. The people who run it say it is the first out-of-state branch of some enterprise that emanates from NYC, and, of course, they say their tea is the best. Since I have not managed to get myself in to Chinatown (or Wisteria) and have my two cans of pearl tea untouched in the fridge, I have no point of comparison, so I will leave that to you hounds. I will say that my favorite flavor this far is coffee--sounds odd but it is like a sweetened cafe au lait with the (addictive) pearls. My runner up thus far would be the lemon. My daughter seems to have latched onto the coconut. I have tried the strawberry (good, but weak), litchi (tiring), and passionfruit (too weak to be outstanding. My daughter tried the peach, which she seemed to like, but I couldn't share it since I had a cold. The workers seem to all prefer the (unlisted) taro, which they say tastes like cookies and cream (!).

Anyway, on one hand, I don't look forward to having to wait in long lines to get this stuff (which is addictive, in spite of my comments); on the other, I would like to see them get enough business so they stick around for a while.

Hmmmm. Maybe I have to wait until 10:30 (when they open, alas--and note that I expect that might be later on Sunday) to go to Kimball Farm, so I can get some pearl tea first.


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  1. Can you explain what this is - is it hot tea?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Maureen

      Maureen wants to know about pearl/bubble tea....

      Hmmmm. This is a cold beverage, which has a green or black tea base and usually some fruit or other flavor added to it. (These flavors start out in powdered form....) It is available as milk tea or without the milk. Sometimes the ice is obvious, and sometimes it is not. The addictive thing about it is the little pea-sized tapioca pearls (they ARE tapioca, aren't they?) that you suck up with a huge straw as you are drinking. They have a really appealing texture--very soft on the outside but offering the perfect amount of resistance on the inside.

      Of course, we went back again today. My daughter had the coconut milk tea (again), and I had the lemon fruit tea (again, but at least *I* am trying to assess the other flavors). This time, the flavor was stronger, but it was decidedly fake--and left a sort-of unpleasant aftertaste. Unfortunately, by the time I had sucked up all those pearls, I had also imbibed most of the suboptimal tea as well. I think my daughter and I will have to go to Chinatown to try it there. And maybe I can drag her into Wisteria, now that she is addicted to the pearls. I wonder how hard it is to get those pearls perfect oneself? Also, if they sit in the liquid for a lengthy period of time, do they get softer?

      I will confess that the first or second time I got this (at the mall) I went home, dumped out the tea, and poured some peach Tazo over the pearls, and that tasted much better. I think next time I will try the jasmine tea version.